One place not hit by any kind of meltdown or slowdown, seems to be Delhi cricket. At least five clubs affiliated to the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) have been sold over the last few weeks, reportedly for between Rs 35-40 lakh.
Come next season, Raghubir Willowers, Citizen Cricket Club, JM Golden, Inborn Cricketers and the high-profile Kishanganj Colts will all have new owners.
What is more interesting here is that all the clubs were owned and controlled by members from the opposition bloc of the powerful Sports Committee, which controls Delhi's cricketing affairs.
The reason for selling, according to three of the previous owners contacted by the Hindustan Times, was the "continued bias against players from these clubs by the DDCA".
"My players have always been overlooked by the DDCA. No matter how good they are, somehow, they never seem to make the cut," said one seller. He said his differences with the DDCA's current power centre "cost many a good player a chance to play for Delhi", so he decided to sell.
What is still more interesting is that in three cases at least, the new owner has a close relative who has not made it to a state team and now stands a better chance of doing so.
Why? "If a new owner pledges allegiance to the Sports Committee, his wards have a very good chance of playing for Delhi," said a seller.
A stint in the state team, more often than not, also helps in admission to a good college under the sports quota, and hopefully, a job. Said Sunil Dev, the Sports Secretary of the DDCA: “We are aware of this (selling of clubs). We are not forcing anyone to sell and I am sure they have their reasons."
The Hindustan Times has spoken to a large number of people. While no one is willing to come on record, both because of tax reasons and because they are worried about the implications of being quoted on a sensitive matter, it is well known in Delhi circles that one man bought a club after his son was regularly overlooked by Delhi’s u-16 selectors. He's been promised a spot next season if the club's new ownership pledges public support (read, a vote).