Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Indian Premier League (IPL): The Globalised Event in Cricket

It has been a dream start for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)-backed DLF-Indian Premier League (IPL) second edition, which is said to be the future of cricket. Having come into as a knee-jerk reaction to the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and galvanised into action as a result of the sudden victory India achieved in the inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in September 2007, the IPL has set to alter drastically the way the game is played, governed and viewed across the globe. With a total of $13.59 million in their pocket, the eight IPL franchisees have the option of buying 17 players from a pool of 50. In the auction, 18 players from Australia, seven from England, five from Sri Lanka, three from New Zealand, seven from South Africa, six from West Indies and four from Bangladesh were up for grabs. Pakistan’s decision to not allow players to play in this year’s IPL was a counter to the Indian decision to cancel the scheduled Pakistan tour in January 2009.
Chennai Super Kings have a spending limit of up to $two million for two slots, the Deccan Chargers $1.9 million for two, the Knight Riders $1.21 for one, the Kings' XI Punjab $1.45 million for two, Mumbai Indians $1.76 million for three players, Rajasthan Royals $1.875 million for two and Bangalore Royal Challengers $1.945 for two slots. Unlike the first edition of the IPL, franchisees were more focused about their needs this time.
Costliest Players
English cricketers Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff became the costliest players in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League as they won record contracts at the pre-season auction in Panaji (Goa) on February 6, 2009. While Pietersen was snared by Vijay Mallya’s Bangalore Royal Challengers for $1.55 million, Flintoff was snapped up by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the same amount. Super Kings’ captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had been the most expensive player in the inaugural IPL with a $1.5 million bid. The Englishmen, in auction for the first time, had a good outing at the Taj Aguada with the two former captains turning out to be the top draw for 21 days of the competition from April 10,2009.
However, Flintoff and Pietersen will receive much less because of their 12 per cent commitment to their agents and a possible 10 per cent disbursement to their respective counties. Moreover they will be paid by the number of matches they play for their team. It took just over two hours of zealous bidding to fill the 17 slots available in the eight teams. Young South African bat J.P. Duminy was picked up by Mumbai Indians for $9,50,000, over three times his base price.
Defending champion Rajasthan Royals added Aussie paceman Shaun Tait to its arsenal, coughing up $375,000 in the bargain. Tait became only the second of 18 Australians in the fray to receive a winning bid, the other being Tasmanian batsman George Bailey. Royals also collected Middlesex all-rounder Tyron Henderson for a surprisingly generous $650,000.
England’s Ravi Bopara managed to treble his base price too, joining his blood brothers in King’s XI Punjab for $450,000. Former England ODI captain Paul Collingwood and compatriot Owais Shah joined the ranks of Delhi Daredevils, capping a fruitful outing for the Britons. West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan and Aussies Brad Haddin and Stuart Clark found no takers. Chamara Kapugedara and Samit Patel had to return unhitched as well.
The punch of the auction at the second edition of IPL, though, was provided by 25-year-old Bangladeshi fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, who was in the eye of a bidding storm triggered by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Punjab. Mortaza was finally grabbed by Knight Riders for a logic-defying $600,000 that was 12 times the player’s $50,000 base price.Though Luke Wright and Samit Patil remained unsold, the franchises who have replacement rights can still rope them in because they are part of the initial list of 115 players made available for the auction.
Mumbai Indians picked up South African Jean-Paul Duminy ($950,000) while Rajasthan Royals took Duminy’s compatriot Tyron Henderson for $650,000. Apart from Duminy, Mumbai Indians also picked New Zealand’s seam bowler Kyle Mills and Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful.
King XI’s Calculated Move
By being in constant touch with coach Tom Moody, Kings XI owners Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia outwitted KKR’s John Buchanan by making the latter loosen the purse strings for Mortaza and got a bargain in West Indian fast bowler Jerome Taylor for $150,000, who was unsold at the first round of bidding. KKR was entitled to buy one player and it came into the last round with $1.21 million intact. Knowing this fact, Mohali increased the bids and finally forced a desperate KKR to pick Mortaza.
The IPL is already the most globalised event in world cricket and is predicted to match the Enlish Premier League in viewership and revenues. As far as Test cricket is concerned, it continues to an attractive prepositions in countries like Australia, but the Twenty20 format has become the real money-spinner.

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