They cost a tidy packet and though you can have 10 of them in your squad, on any given day only four can be fielded. No wonder, quite a few foreign players have been mere passengers in IPL III so far.
Take Chennai Super Kings’ Makhaya Ntini. The South Africa pacer has been available for selection from the team’s third match, against the Delhi Daredevils. The Super Kings have played six matches since, but not selected Ntini even once.
Ntini, who did not get a game in last year’s IPL in South Africa either, will hope he is not headed the Glenn McGrath way. The Australian legend travelled with the Daredevils last year without being fielded before fading into IPL oblivion.
With Doug Bollinger making an immediate impact and Albie Morkel stamping his all-round credentials, Ntini’s chances look bleak. Unlike Ntini, Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis did get four games for the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2009 and has been with the team from before the start of this season. However, he is yet to play a match.
Ntini and Mendis are not the only ones (see box). And the list does not include those who have got a game or two or have just arrived.
Since most of these players are not getting picked despite being available for selection, means the franchises must pay them their full fees, which is a drain on the teams’ finances.
Three of the eight teams have tried to reduce the wastage by not filling their quota of 10 foreign players. They are the Rajasthan Royals (8), Deccan Chargers (8) and Mumbai Indians (9).
The Royals even sent Damien Martyn home after one failure and replaced Graeme Smith with youngster Aaron Finch, who would not have cost a great deal.
Probably, more franchises will go that way to cut costs.