Venky Mysore: IPL player retention policy to stay

The Kolkata Knight Riders CEO stresses on the need for continuity for all franchises in the Indian Premier League.

Venky Mysore... “This retention strategy happened since the very first edition, so now if you abandon it, nobody will allow that.”   -  Bhagya Prakash K.

As the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) moves closer to its last leg, there seems to be a big debate over the abolition of the player retention policy in the next season.

While fans and the cricketers appear to be divided in their opinions, Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore makes it clear that there is no truth to such claims. “No, I don’t think it’s being done away with. That is not the case at all. It will be a huge deviation if the BCCI says no to retention policy at this stage particularly,” Mysore told Sportstar during a free-wheeling chat on Saturday evening.

Only last week, a leading English daily newspaper had quoted Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta claiming that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has informed the franchises about the ‘no retention’ policy next year. Zinta had also claimed that there would be open-auction next season.

Mysore, however, rubbishes all such talk. “That has been misstated somewhere. There was one article that came out about this. But that is not true,” he said, adding: “Every franchise needs a sense of continuity and to do that it needs a connect to the city which it’s embraced in.”

The KKR CEO believes that if such a policy is implemented, then it would be tough for the franchises to maintain the balance. “The way you achieve continuity is by maintaining a core group, which you believe is core to the team. That translates into a retention strategy. This retention strategy happened since the very first edition, so now if you abandon it, nobody will allow that,” he confirmed.

Despite not possessing a local player, KKR has been able to create its own brand in Kolkata, keeping Gautam Gambhir as the skipper. Mysore says that would be affected if the retention policy is done away with it. “It (the retention policy) is definitely there. But in which form it is there, that should be discussed. There’s no logic to saying that it won’t be there. It has to be there,” he said.

In its inaugural edition in 2008, the IPL governing council had made it a point to allow the franchises to retain a few players. That’s what, Mysore feels, adds more gloss and stability to the league. “It makes no sense in abolishing that now. In the early stages if it was not there, that was fine. But the BCCI only introduced it in the early stages, and now you can’t just dismiss it,” he said. “In the very first cycle, when you were not supposed to have done such a policy, you introduced it, and now, taking it away would be foolhardy. It would mess up the league,” Mysore added.

The KKR CEO also indicated that in case the BCCI decides to implement the new rule, the franchises would go all out against it. “We will debate over it and be ready with our arguments if need be,” he stated.

The policy of retaining players over the season has not only given stability to the teams, but has also improved their business value. And, looks like the franchises would not relent if at all there’s a different missive from the Board.

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