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Josh, that was a surprise!

Updated on: 26 December,2023 07:05 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sunil Gavaskar |

The one bowler who would be really effective in the T20 format, Australia’s Hazlewood, went unsold while his skipper Pat Cummins and fellow pacer Mitchell Starc went for record purses

Josh, that was a surprise!

Australia’s Josh Hazlewood in Sydney last year. Pic/Getty Images

Sunil GavaskarThe mini auction for the IPL produced no surprises for as expected after the ICC World Cup that finished exactly a month before the auction, players from the winning team—Australia—were going to be in big demand. Mind you, the World Cup was a 50 overs-a-side event, while the IPL is a 20 overs a team tournament.

The surprise, if any, was that the one bowler who would be really effective in the T20 format, Josh Hazlewood, went unsold while the skipper Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc went for record purses. If both these bowlers make an impact in even four out of the 14 league games that they will play and perhaps 16 matches if their teams reach the finals, then it will be ‘paisa vasool’ for the franchises. 

Big buys often disappoint
Experience though shows us that big money purchases have hardly ever delivered and apart from David Warner and Shane Watson, the Aussies have done precious little to take their teams to the titles. Shane Warne, of course, led Rajasthan to the first ever IPL Trophy and also helped groom some Indian youngsters, most notably Ravindra Jadeja.

Also Read: IND vs SA Tests: Will it be rewarding?

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc

The dynamics of the auction can be life changing for many and good luck to those who end up getting zillions but seeing the World Cup hero Rachin Ravindra going for 1.8 crores while an unknown uncapped player being bought by the same franchise for eight crores plus, once again emphasises that there has to be a limit as to what an uncapped player goes for.

Also Read: 'You will get an answer for sure in due course': Rohit on his T20I future

Rough for Ranji players 
When you find those slogging it out in the Ranji Trophy in front of meagre crowds and after playing around 28 days in the group stage which is twice the number of days in an IPL season and ending up with barely 20 lakhs then it’s surely time to see the unfair treatment given to the other domestic players. If a cap of one crore which is around five times what a Ranji Trophy player gets is kept for an uncapped player then the domestic Ranji player won’t feel like the poor cousin of Indian cricket. He won’t be questioning why he is playing first class cricket. 

Moreover, a limit on uncapped players salary will leave more money for the franchises to spend on capped players. There was a salary limit of 20 lakhs for uncapped players and under-19 players had a cap of 10 lakhs in the early years of the IPL. This was simply to ensure that they made themselves available for Ranji Trophy games as well as to see that their heads were not turned by big money. If one remembers correctly, even Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja were picked in the draft (not auction) which took place after India won the Under-19 World Cup. The draft salary was 10 lakhs. So, there is a precedent to have a limit for uncapped players.  

The BCCI also has ensured that if in the interim a player plays for his country, then he will get 50 lakhs and if he plays between five and nine games he will get an additional amount. So, Rajat Patidar, who was bought for 20 lakhs, will now get 50 lakhs after he made his debut for India at the third one-dayer in Paarl. This is exactly how it should be for uncapped players. 

Don’t kill their ambition
Don’t spoil them with crores and kill their ambition with it. Let them understand that only if they work hard and perform and play for their country they will get the crores that Starc and Cummins have got. That’s what Kohli, Jadeja, Gill, to name three current India players, have done. They started off with only lakhs but worked hard and delivered after which they are now earning well-deserved crores.

Next year is the mega auction and hopefully then, the new rules can be framed to ensure this disparity is a thing of the past. It’s not unfair at all for if you ask any uncapped player if he will be happy with a one crore limit, he will jump at it for all he is wanting is the opportunity to be able to play and show his skills.  

Talent meets opportunity is the motto of the IPL. For many uncapped players it is luck gets you opportunity and for some others it is talent minus luck gets you nothing.

Professional Management Group

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