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IPL is far from being a carnival

The board of the Deccan Holdings decided to put Hyderabad IPL team up for sale, hoping to fetch $200 m, having bought the team for $107 million, writes Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2008 23:18 IST
Anand Vasu

The noises coming from the Indian Premier League's workshop in Bangkok, where 130 people from various groups of stakeholders met over the last three days, are so positive that they resemble one of those self-help cults. Franchise owners praised the organisers, the organisers thanked everyone for taking part enthusiastically and laying the foundation to “take the game to the next level”.

If you only listened to what the PR machinery rolled out, you would be forgiven for thinking the IPL was one big love fest.

But the true picture is not quite as rosy. Just as soon as the IPL’s PR machinery could trot out the measures they had taken to ensure franchises did not lose money, came a piece of news that has made analysts sit up and take notice. In Hyderabad, the board of the Deccan Holdings decided to put its IPL team up for sale, hoping to fetch $200 million, having bought the team for $107 million. This comes at the back of strong rumours of at least one other franchise looking to sell either the team or at least a significant stake.

What is an equally worrying sign is that chief executives of four of the eight franchisees have either been sacked or "moved elsewhere" before a ball is bowled in the second edition. Charu Sharma (Bangalore) was the first to go, sacked midway through the first edition. Yogesh Shetty who headed the Delhi team will no longer be with them, and Fraser Castellino, boss of the winning Jaipur team is reportedly also moving on to concentrate on other areas of the business. J Krishnan, who headed the Hyderabad team, has already given way to Tim Wright.

When it comes to coaching staff, there are similar issues. Kepler Wessels, who coached Chennai to the final, has not heard from his team owners since. If sources are to be believed, he won't be getting a call soon.

Martin Crowe, the man in charge of formulating cricket policy and strategy for Bangalore, has been "let go" and Ray Jennings, the former coach of South Africa, installed in his place. Crowe had nothing to say about the development, leaving it to his team owners to answer.

In Hyderabad, Adam Gilchrist has supplanted V.V.S. Laxman as captain and Darren Lehmann has come on board in a mentoring role with Robin Singh, the coach, being given the cold shoulder.

While changes in coaching staff are not entirely surprising, especially in teams that did not do well, several other questions remain unanswered. Repeated attempts to reach IPL officials failed, leaving one major question unanswered. If things going swimmingly well translated to a 50% turnover at the top, what does the future hold, given the current financial climate in India and abroad?