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Why Great Cricketers may not make Great Administrators

by Mahek

A lot has been said about team owners in the IPL meddling in their team’s cricketing strategies. The argument used is these owners don’t know what it’s like to play top-level cricket and hence stick to the business side of things. The argument does hold a lot of weight. After all, getting your employees to fulfill their sales or collection targets is a lot different from getting your batsmen to average 40 at a strike rate of 150. Why then, do people think cricketers have what it takes to comment on what should happen with free agency? Sure they’re allowed to have their opinion as they have to play alongside and against their peers. But there are a lot of other factors at play.

Take the recent article on cricinfo in which Sachin Tendulkar talks about franchises being able to retain 4 Indian and 4 overseas players. Unfortunately, he hasn’t taken the time to get into how feasible this is.

Firstly, there will be two more franchises who will have to start from scratch next season. They are based in relatively smaller markets and have paid almost thrice as much as the team based in the biggest market. Hence, they are already at a disadvantage to start with. Taking away 4 overseas players from each of the 8 existing franchises may not be as devastating – there will still be 6 international level overseas players freed up. It might be a slight disadvantage but not nearly as big a handicap as that of not having access to 32 Indian players, and Tendulkar has made a distinction between Indian and domestic players. What this means is the two expansion franchises will be scraping the bottom of the cricketing barrel in the October auction, and even there they will be competing with the eight existing franchises.

Secondly, Tendulkar hasn’t gone into how the eight players should be retained. Intuitively, a player who knows his franchise wants to retain him knows he is sought after in the market. Why then would he choose to stay with his current team instead of testing the market? His current franchise anyway has the option of outbidding the competition and retaining his services. Even if a player decided not to put himself into the auction, how will it impact his salary? There is a salary cap of $7 million and it will be difficult for owners to retain 4 Indian Internationals and 4 overseas players without getting awfully close to the salary cap. This might lead to owners finding alternate means of compensating the players. For example, India Cements might offer Suresh Raina a contract of $350,000 and appoint him the Brand Ambassador for their cement company, for which they would pay him, say, $500,000. Ashok Malik has highlighted this problem on cricinfo. He has used the example of Whyte and Mackay appointing Kevin Pietersen their Brand Ambassador. Whyte and Mackay is a whisky brand owned by the UB Group which also owns Kevin Pietersen’s IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Lastly, some players may also be unhappy with their current employer and want to switch teams even if their current employer is offering them the highest salary. They may want to either test the market or simply sign up with another team if they’re able to negotiate a contract with that team. For example, what happens if Virat Kohli is able to successfully negotiate a contract with the Delhi Daredevils? It makes no sense to retain a player who doesn’t want to play for you. William Gallas once threatened to score own goals if Chelsea didn’t sell him to Arsenal. In such a situation, does the player then have the right to sign with the new team or is he obligated to go into the auction pool?

There are a lot of issues that need to be resolved with the coming auction and with the problems the league faces at the moment they may not be resolved for quite a while. It is well and good for Sachin Tendulkar to voice his opinion, but with all due respect to him, he should leave this to cricketers and administrators who can look at this issue objectively and from all angles.


straight point said...

all this while we blamed him that he never gives his opinion on cricketing matters... now that he has started giving some... we castigate him to the point of 'baal ki khaal nikaalna'...

we may or may not agree with what srt says... but to make an example out of him to prove that great cricketers can not make great administrators is stretching it too far...

Aditya said...

They may want to either test the market or simply sign up with another team if they’re able to negotiate a contract with that team. For example, what happens if Virat Kohli is able to successfully negotiate a contract with the Delhi Daredevils?

The basic assumption made by you here is wrong!!
A player can't go to a team if he wants to. Either a team retains him
or is into the auction! as simple as that, players can't choose clubs here like football!

And coming to retaining the players. I have previously told in my blog about the same:
In my opinion it would be ideal for every team to retain 3 foreign players and 5 Indian players out of which only 2 should have represented India in the last 2 years to be fair for the new franchises and give them a chance to build teams of a similar level they should also be given a higher purse during the bidding process.
Hopefully they can look into this!

And bigger companies doing that is reality as we have seen that in the case of Ravindra Jadeja and Mumbai Indians ( which would serve as a better example) as he was offered something in the tune of 2 crores from MI ( aka his employer Reliance Industries Limited )

The Corporate trophy is another very important thing which might affect players lured into teams, rather than Just brand ambassadors! they can offer them jobs just like RIL did it to Yusuf Pathan !

Mahek said...


I already acknowledged that players have a right to voice their opinion. However, that opinion might be quite narrow. I used Tendulkar's example because he's the first one to say something definitive on this subject.


If you read on from there you must have come across this:

In such a situation, does the player then have the right to sign with the new team or is he obligated to go into the auction pool?

There is no rule as yet on whether players can sign with a different team instead of going into the auction. It's the kind of oversight that has resulted in so many grey areas in player contracts.

My concern is not about how many players should be retained. It is about how to retain these players. Hence the point about working around the salary cap by signing up players as brand ambassadors or giving them jobs in sister companies, which Ashok Malik highlighted in his article.

Aditya said...

It was Mr. Malik's speculation.

But whenever Mr.Modi or any of the men who matter have said they have never spoken of being able to get players from other teams, they always mention either they be retained or they be in auction pool!

it was Mr.malik's ignorance rather than anything else

for proof read on here


anyhow any player from India with international experience has to go into an auction! ( that is the rule in IPL), maybe they will tweak it to every player who has played an IPL match to get to 500 players!

Mahek said...

Ashok Malik didn't raise the point of players signing up with a different franchise instead of going into the auction. It was a question raised by me.

I read the two articles and nowhere does it say that players cannot sign with another team. It says players will go into the auction alright, but what if a franchise says there was no mention of players missing the auction altogether and signing up with another team after the auction is over?

If it seems I'm being overly particular about this it's only because I know the owners will try their best to prevent the players they seek out of the auction.

Aditya said...

This implies the star batsmen including Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid will appear in the auction list as well, subject to one clause – should their present employees prefer not to own them anymore.

IMO, its clear the remain with franchise or go into the Auction!

Anyhow speaking on a logical note, it has never happened that the Players are allowed to choose a franchise, and BCCI would like to create the maximum hype possible for an auction! and also the franchise does not have power to do so! We are talking of international cricketers who will first have to go through the process with the IPL!

What you are saying is just like the Ravindra Jadeja episode, where he wanted to go to another team, but it isn't possible under the rules to do so! and after his ban players will not try the same and I am sure BCCI will lay the rules!

It hasn't happened till now and I am sure it wont happen as well! As IPL believes in artificially equalizing all teams, signing out of the Auction would be against the basic principle of the IPL ! Else we will see teams like MI and RCB run away with the best talent!

Mahek said...

I might be wrong but I think it has happened. Dwayne Smith was with Mumbai in 2008 and signed up with Deccan in the second season without going into the auction. If not, I stand corrected.

Aditya said...

Dwayne Bravo and Dwayne Smith were signed on a 1 year contract by MI and not bought in the Auction in 2008, Just like Doug Bollinger who was brought out of the Auction as he was unsold in the 2010 Auction!

MI resigned Dwayne Bravo for season 2 and did not renew Dwayne Smith's Contract hence he was put in the Auction Pool and Deccan Chargers picked him up there at $100k

Only Players who aren't contracted with the national boards can be signed out of the Auction as evident from the signings in the Wikipedia article!

Hope it clears the air about signing out of the Auctions!