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Prudent franchises reaping dividends

cricket Updated: May 09, 2008 01:21 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

If money could fix results, the teams's standing at the half-way mark of the IPL should have been the opposite of what it is. The supposed heavyweights ‘Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, bought for whopping $111.9 million, $111.6 million and $107 million respectively’ should have been in the top half instead of languishing among the bottom four.

By that logic, the relatively lightweights, Mohali ($76 million) and Delhi ($84 million), and Jaipur ($67 million), should have been fighting for survival.

But that’s not how it is. The least expensive teams are perched at the top and it’s the heavyweights that are vying with each other in the fight to avoid being at rock bottom. See the graph.

The situation they are in has a lot do with how their potential match-winners, on whom the franchise spent big money, have fared so far.

Being thrifty pays

The Jaipur story is the most interesting. They refrained from spending huge amounts on any individual, so much so that at one stage they were facing the prospect of incurring a penalty for not spending the required $5 million on buying players.

They spent the maximum on Mohammed Kaif ($675000) and snared up a champion like Shane Warne for just $450,000. In what would arguably be the best buy of the league, they bought Shane Watson for mere $125,000 and Pakistan left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir for just $100,000.

Mohali, too, seemed to have got it right. They shelled out the maximum amount to book Irfan Pathan and Brett Lee after their icon player and skipper Yuvraj Singh. Though Lee left after playing four matches, Pathan is giving them value for money, leading the wicket takers's chart.

Delhi are another team who seem to have spent their money well. Virender Sehwag, the icon, and Gautam Gambhir, their most expensive players, are among the top run getters and have been giving them a flying start. But their best buy would be Glenn McGrath (he was picked up from the reserve pool after no one bid for him). McGrath has proved his weight with his superb showings.

Money for nothing?

When it comes to money not well spent, Mumbai top the list what with Sachin Tendulkar, their icon player, not taking the field so far owing to injury; Sanath Jayasuriya not living up to expectations and Harbhajan Singh making a disgraceful exit.

As for Kolkata, their big buy Chris Gayle hasn't played owing to injury and Brandon McCullum left too early to make a lasting impression. As for their biggest buy, Ishant Sharma ($ 9,50,000), the sum was perhaps too big for the youngster to justify.

Bangalore too are struggling. Jacques Kallis, their biggest buy ($900,000) after icon Rahul Dravid, has been disappointing and Dravid too has proved to be ineffective.

The Hyderabad mystery

Amid all this, Hyderabad present a strange picture. They spent a packet on Andrew Symonds, Gilchrist, RP Singh and Rohit Sharma and all of them have performed well. Yet, they are struggling at the bottom, something quite inexplicable.