Last year, Shaun Marsh surprised everyone at his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut by scoring the highest number of runs in the league stage of the tournament.
Today, the 25-year-old Australian has fans all over India. Such success — in a country that has the largest fan base and the richest tournaments — could mean a lot for young talents like Marsh. VB Chandrasekhar, chief selector for the Chennai Super Kings, says, “The IPL is an ideal platform for the not-so-established foreign players to make it big.”
So this year, it’s not just the Flintoffs and Pietersens who are attracting the greenbucks. Teams are also choosing players starting out in their careers. They usually come at a lower price, are available for the entire season, and are often handy with the bat and the ball. They can also be hired to serve specific roles in a team where other roles have already been given out to star players.
But why pay 12 times the base price for a player, as was the case with Mashrafe Mortaza from Bangladesh?
Joy Bhattacharjya, CEO of the Kolkata Knight Riders, explains, “It opens us to a whole new fan base outside the country. ” After all, it’s business — for the team management as well as the player.