The Indian Premier League franchisees are feeling the heat of the economic slowdown. Wary of the implications of the economic turmoil, they are looking towards the BCCI to lend them a helping hand.
"The BCCI is aware of the problems we are facing; it should come forward and help us out of trouble," said Ness Wadia, a co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab team. That franchisees are actually feeling the pinch and want the BCCI to bail them out is evident by the fact that they have formed an association to give themselves a common platform to air their grievances. "The body will interact with the BCCI on behalf of all franchisees on issue concerning them. The board must understand that these are difficult times and we need to work out ways to see that all franchisees survive. If we don't do well, the BCCI too wouldn't benefit," he said.
The Franchisee Association, he said, will hold a meeting after February 6 to discuss how to proceed. "There are many financial and cricketing issues that need to be addressed," said Ness.
Other than financial issues, the franchisees are also concerned about the availability and fitness of the leading players. "We are excited about the tournament, but we are also worried about the pressure the hectic schedule will put on players," he said.
The Indian players, who will return from New Zealand on April 7, will have just three days to freshen up and get into the T20 mode. "We believe that that there should be an eight-week window for the IPL so that all players are fit and raring to go," he said, adding that it would also give them some time to prepare the teams in right earnest.
He said they had tough time preparing the team with top international players joining their respective just two days before the tournament got underway. Wadia agreed that it would be tough to match the success of the first season, but then it won't be bad either.
Revealing their plans for the auction, he said Andrew Flintoff was on their wish list. "We are keen on England all rounder and some other players. However, we won't buy anyone just for the sake of buying; he will need to be of some value to the team," he said. The franchisee, which had a 26-member squad in the inaugural season, is looking to cut it down to 16 or 18 to members.