IPL Pay Packets May Get Thinner and the IPL Leaner and Meaner

Linus FernandesAnalyst IIOctober 20, 2010

Kevin Pietersen: The costliest IPL gladiator with Freddie Flintoff
Kevin Pietersen: The costliest IPL gladiator with Freddie FlintoffTom Shaw/Getty Images

Pay packets in IPL4 will be much leaner than in the past three editions.

The simple reason is that supply now exceeds demand.

With the reduction in the number of IPL teams to eight and Kochi showing no signs of having their house in order for the 6 pm deadline on  Wednesday, 20 October 2010, IPL4 will be a much leaner, much meaner tournament.

IPL Team Structure

Each IPL team is restricted to 30 players maximum , out of which only 10 players can be outsiders with the additional restriction that the playing eleven can have at the most four foreign players on the field.

The list of players available for the January 2011 auction numbers 400.

The BCCI has also decided to seek clearance from the various countries' cricket boards before putting up a foreign player for auction. This is to ensure that the foreign mercenaries are available for the duration of the tourney and not for just a small window.

Each cricket board will receive ten percent of the auction amount as an incentive to ensure that IPL4 is not shorn of its foreign stars when it really matters.

This, of course, leaves the alien players at the mercy of their respective cricket boards; players such as Chris Gayle,Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard do not have signed contracts with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

This may also leave Andrew Symonds in the lurch.

$9 Million Cap and Its Effects

The BCCI has stipulated a cap on spending for each franchisee to $9 million.

Some teams would like to retain their high-profile stars such as the Mumbai IndiansSachin Tendulkar, CSK’s Dhoni and Delhi DaredevilsVirender Sehwag.

The cost of retaining stars is quite high—S1.8 million for the first, S1.3 million for the second, S900,000 for the third and S500,000 for the fourth.

That comes to a whopping $4.5 million if a team chooses to retain the maximum allowed from its current selection. And leaves the franchisee with just $4.5 million to play around with and recruit the remaining 26 members.

It is unlikely that the Ranji trophy players—especially the ones who have not made a mark in the past three tournaments or played for India in recent years—will enjoy the munificence of the franchise owners.

The competition for places in the 7/8 teams will get stiffer and fewer chances will come the way of the domestic players.

What will be the fate of the senior players, the ones who have retired from all other forms of the game, and rely on the two months of the IPL to buttress their incomes?

Will the franchisees carry them for the next few seasons or will they be eased out like Shaun Pollock of the Mumbai Indians and Glen McGrath of the Delhi Daredevils?

With a guarantee that the players will be available for the length of the tournament, the number of foreign recruits may also reduce significantly.

Sahara Pune Warriors, the latest entrant, will have the luxury of playing around with their full quota of $9 million and thus bag the best of the stars under the hammer.

The franchisees can rest assured that they will be getting more bang for their buck, this time around.

The Kolkata KnightRiders were the most affected by the unavailability of many of their key players in the past three seasons.

Despite the many controversies in the run-up to IPL4, the BCCI may end up running a tight ship and the players will enjoy a less strenuous schedule.

The good may yet outweigh the bad.

Quote of the day:
Seek simplicity, and distrust it. – Alfred North Whitehead