In 1983, India won the World Cup of the 50 over game for the first time. It came as a surprise to many but, after not more than three decades, cricket is again ready to be revolutionized. In 2008, the Indian cricket team and cricketers, individually as well, have been flooded with money and the credit goes to IPL. The Indian Premier League, consisting of a pool of 78 of the world’s top players, is about to start preparing for a multimillion dollar tournament which will be played on a Twenty20 format. This, as we all know, has captured the imagination of almost every fan around the world. Hence, IPL is not only about Indian cricketers but about any cricketer who is more or less playing for money. Money is the force that is making the value of a player go higher and higher.
Dhoni was the most sought after player for the League which begins on April 18. Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds attracted the next highest price, $1.35 million from Hyderabad, which is more than five times his reserve price. Mumbai bid strongly for Dhoni and Symonds but without success. Hence it spent heavily to secure Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya for $975,000 per year, while also landing with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. Indian pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and R.P.Singh were also bid for aggressively and Sharma fetched $950,000 from Calcutta. Irfan Pathan attracted a bid of $925,000 from Mohali while South Africa’s Jacques Kallis was sold for $900,000 to Bangalore. Team Mohali’s owners were ecstatic about the successful bid of $900,000 for Australia fast bowler Brett Lee. Ironically, Ponting will be paid approximately $250,000 per year less than his Calcutta teammate David Hussey, who is only is definitely not so important. There are a few fears about friction in the Jaipur team, where retired Australian Shane Warne will join South Africa captain Graeme Smith. The past had witnessed the pair having engaged in some strong verbal exchanges both on and off the field. Australia’s retiring wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist (Hyderabad) and Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (Chennai) were among the six marquee players, of which Dhoni was the only one to finish in the top ten. The others marquee players were Warne, Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayewardene (Mohali) and Shoaib Akhtar (Calcutta). The IPL reserved four “icon” players from the auction who were guaranteed 15 percent more than the highest-paid player at their franchise. They were Saurav Ganguly(Calcutta), Yuvraj Singh (Mohali), Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai) and Rahul Dravid (Bangalore). Virender Sehwag was added to the “icon” list on a request from the Delhi squad after the bidding. Even after the 15 percent premium, Tendulkar would fetch $1,121,250 per season, which is still short of Dhoni’s salary.
IPL chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi expressed surprise that the Indian players could get such a good price. “I’m surprised, but at the same time I can say it’s good for the Indian players”, he said. But the big problem, I feel, is that IPL will only give rise to more money in the glamour game of cricket and this would mean more money to a sport that already have a lot. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Indian Cricket team will flourish together and able to overcome its flaws, becoming the best national team.
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