WTF PS to ‘Apres Auction

After following some of the conversations in the comments field attached to the earlier post, I found myself a bit confused about the exact sequence of the rule changes that created this present capped versus uncapped scenario; much of this happened during the period last year when I wasn’t actively blogging, nor even following minutely the developments in the cricket space. For clarity, went looking — and found this excellent, comprehensive piece by Sharda Ugra.

Bullet-pointing/clipping the highlights, as they relate to what I was discussing in the previous post (and do note that Sharda wrote this piece before the auction, so the ongoing confusion was something that had been foreseen, it was not a post-facto afterthought):

# In September 2010, it was decided that domestic players who had played 75% of their teams’ matches in IPL 3 would be part of the auction, along with their senior colleagues and overseas players. In November, however, the IPL governing council received a list of suggestions from Mumbai Indians, which included the contentious issue of retaining uncapped players and not putting them in the auction. It was confirmed by an IPL governing council member that, after some deliberation, the league had finally altered the original conditions set for uncapped players and, following a council meeting, formally changed the rule in December. The new rule removed uncapped players from the auction and allowed franchises to sign players of their choice through a three-way agreement involving player, franchise and the IPL. In late December, franchises were instructed to not approach the uncapped players until notified to do so by the Board.

In other words, a fairly decent rule/system existed before Mumbai Indians decided to rewrite the rules to suit itself. The Governing Council (guess their composition, and how many “influential” members are from Bombay?) rubber stamped one franchise’s requirements, though the others — barring, surprise, surprise, CSK — were totally opposed to this.

#The squad rules state that franchises can sign a minimum of 20 Indians and no more than 10 foreign players. That’s 200 Indian players who need to be on board. The auction list features only 48 Indians while seven others have been retained by their franchises, leaving 145 players who have to be signed up by the franchises from the list of uncapped players.

That is to say, once the rules were conveniently changed, the arithmetic simply didn’t add up (again — onion traders, anyone?).

#In their mails seeking a change in the rules about uncapped India players, the franchises had offered the IPL several solutions: to either put the uncapped players into the auction (with the excess amount outside their salary slab being given to the BCCI) or to have franchises make a bid for them and draw lots to decide who gets the most sought-after player or restrict the players to their catchment areas. All options were turned down.

This answers some opinion makers who have been saying no alternative solutions were proposed. They were. They were turned down by the Governing Council. In passing — what was everyone accusing Lalit Modi of doing? Running the IPL as his own fiefdom, with the GC as rubber stamp? So we have gotten rid of that bloke and replaced it with this perfect system — where N Srinivasan runs the IPL like his own fiefdom, with Chirayu Amin as figurehead and the GC as rubber stamp? Nice. But don’t blame the GC — as Sunny Gavaskar famously said the last time the Council was found to be asleep at the switch, ‘we are only experts in cricketing matters, we don’t understand money’ (except the Rs 1 crore payoff for being a rubber stump, he meant).

#The decision to keep the cricketers who had not represented India out of the auction was, Manohar said, logistical given the large numbers involved. “We can’t put all the uncapped players in the auction because that would mean having more than 1000 players in the auction”. The most sought after players Manohar said, “can be approached by everyone.”

Manohar, whose term as BCCI chief ends in September 2011 after which N Srinivasan – the owner of the Chennai franchise – will take over, said the unbalanced supply-demand equation among the uncapped players was not an issue. “There would be seven to eight capped players in every team, and the balance remaining is 10-11 players. So that is how it would work. According to me, nobody would pay huge amounts to uncapped players. Which capped player would be paid a large sum? Everyone is a capped player … Saurabh Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, they are also capped players. Even Abhishek Nayar has become a capped player.”

What astonishes me about this quote is, it was made in open forum, with presumably the cream of our cricketing press corps in attendance. Did anyone point out to the BCCI president (He is that, at least in name) how flawed his math was?

For starters, he says there will be 7-8 capped players in each team — that is to say, procurable in open auction. How? Taking the lower end figure, 7 per team into 10 teams is 70. The auction, as previously pointed out, had only 48. So where did he get the idea that 48 players divided by 10 equals 7 or 8? Secondly, who said you needed 1000 players in the auction? Which hat did that figure come from? 10 teams. 20 Indian players. Equals 200.

How the fuck did this guy pass the math paper in his school?

As for the guff about “nobody will pay huge amounts to uncapped players” — really? Try putting a  Manish Pandey on open auction right now and see what he gets.

#The IPL chief executive, Sundar Raman, told ESPNcricinfo that the argument that it was only the wealthier clubs who would be able to promise more and that too outside the system was, “not valid.” Raman said, “All uncapped players have been out of the auction even in the past. They get a fixed fee of Rs 30, 20 or 10 lakhs and the contract process is managed by BCCI.”

If the contract process is being “managed by the BCCI”, why then all these unsavory stories about arm twisting, threatening, et al? Oh, I forgot — that is actually what happens when the BCCI “manages” something, innit?

PS: See you back here Monday.

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13 thoughts on “WTF PS to ‘Apres Auction

  1. Pingback: Too rich even for MI? « Smoke Signals

  2. Pingback: The Cat in the Hats — the sequel « Smoke Signals

  3. I am sure this has been said somewhere else, but I still do not understand why there is a salary cap on uncapped players! Why can one team not choose to pay high or even highest to uncapped players? What kind of system is this? Some are auctioned with a minimum price, others have a restricted high price! Getting an Indian cap might raise value. But, why is not getting a cap going to “limit” the value of a person?

    Maybe, I want to pay higher to Manish Pandey than to Gautam Gambhir – my choice. I might find uncapped players to have more time to devote to my team.. or that Pandey has lower chance of being injured (since he does not play as much as Gambhir) or whatever crooked logic that I, the owner of the money, might want to use. If I want to burn my money, it is my choice!

  4. When I read your posts, I start looking for the “like” button. Thank you so much for your columns all the way from the old Rediff days.

    • Appreciate the appreciation, mate. No, seriously. Each time I take a break from this and wonder if it is worth resuming at all, or if it is better to save my energies for the work I do, kind words from folks who have been with me for a decade and a half now help me make up my mind, make it worth taking the time, and the additional effort. Much gratitude.

  5. So first there was no problem, then someone (MI) created a solution for a non-existent problem, then the masters (IPL) created a problem for which this solution was clearly inadequate. Nice!

  6. The uncapped players saga seems to be another effort by MI to circumvent the 9million cap.

    If we consider the huge prices paid to those in the auction then the franchisees would have needed the limit to be raised to $15m if remaining 150 uncapped players had been in auction and fair price been paid to them.

  7. Sir: They could put 350 (I don’t know the exact number now) to auction – that included domestic players from SL, AUS, SA. Why couldn’t they include 200 more? Anyway, let all this naansense not spoil a good weekend. Enjoy your gin and tonic and let them play the games to make more money for their children to fight over when they are long gone 🙂

  8. I guess Srini’s maths was based on the fact that they expected only 8 teams in the league. I think board banned them some time in October. IPL has moved from a flamboyant fiefdom to a more back room manipulative fiefdom.

    • 8×7 = 56. 8 x 8 = 64. And so on. Besides, in December you already knew there were going to be 10 teams; the courts had ruled, and the BCCI had decided not to challenge the ruling. So Srini can’t get away with that excuse either.

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