Although Mohnish Mishra, one of the players suspended following the TV sting, has since claimed he made ‘frivolous statements’ that he was paid black money by Pune Warriors for ‘personal gain’, he should be hauled up if he is found to have made misleading remarks. Similarly, despite their denial, if the Warriors are found to have paid the MP batsman over and above the allowed amount, the Indian Board should also take action against it.
However, the TV sting has exposed the flawed policy of the Board, implemented before the 2011 season, for payments to domestic cricketers. It was ridiculous that instead of being rewarded for performances, the players were forced to sign contracts for much less than what they got the previous season.
For the first three years, the IPL asked the franchises to pay uncapped domestic cricketers at least Rs 20 lakh ($50,000). Come IPL IV and the BCCI suddenly realised these players had to value the India cap the most. And the BCCI decided to cap their IPL earnings! Based on their experience in domestic cricket, they were forced to accept reduced maximum payments of Rs 10 lakh, Rs 20 lakh and Rs 30 lakh.
Now, if an Ambati Rayudu or Ajinkya Rahane had done exceedingly well the previous year and was being paid close to eight figures for IPL III, wasn’t it an insult to his talent and performance to be forced to accept a huge pay cut? Naturally, it led to underhand dealings between players and owners. While most got away scot-free — by signing a tripartite agreement (it also involved a BCCI representative) for the maximum permitted limit and getting perks like houses, fancy cars and even cash —Manish Pandey was caught after the RCB complained to the IPL bosses that the Karnataka batsman was trying to renege on the deal with them. “It was ridiculous. On one hand, we were saying we were making cricket professional. At the same time, it was us who were promoting unfair trade practices by introducing such a weird rule,” an IPL governing council member says. “This is not the way to groom youngsters.”
Then IPL chairman Chirayu Amin became a laughing stock on the day of the players’ auction in January 2011 when he admitted that despite announcing salary caps, it was difficult to monitor its implementation.