The second round of the Indian Premier League auctions — minus the razzmatazz and glamour of the grand event in Mumbai on February 20 — is just round the corner but it seems that the GMR Delhi Daredevils may have a problem on their hands with their existing players. And it's a local headache.
Although the eleven players they picked up at the auction are well settled, at least two of the five domestic cricketers they've signed up are not entirely happy.
Rajat Bhatia, Mithun Manhas, Vijaykumar Yomahesh, Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Tehlan signed on the dotted line when they were offered a Memorandum of Understanding by the Delhi franchisee.
Of these, two players — who did not want to be named for obvious reasons — confided that they had problems with playing for Delhi.
While they were not specific in the nature of their complaints, the players hinted that they were looking for better offers from other franchisees and also feared that they may not get enough chances in the playing eleven with the Daredevils boasting a star-studded squad. Another area of concern is that they have not yet seen the long-form contracts and are worried about restrictive clauses that might be in them.
For probably the first time in Indian cricket, players are going to have to sign detailed contracts tailored specifically to individuals that clearly spell out what they can and cannot do, and how their actions will affect their prospects. For example there could be restrictions on late-night parties or the consumption of alcohol on the eve of a match.
"Yes, I have signed a piece of paper but at the moment I can't say for sure that I will be playing for the Daredevils," a player told the Hindustan Times. When contacted, a highly placed Daredevils official said he was not aware of any player wanting to back out of the MoU signed.
The IPL governing council, however, is aware of the dangerous precedent it would set if it allowed a player to renege on a contract signed with a team and move elsewhere.
It ruled firmly on the case of Praveen Kumar, who was signed up by the Bangalore Royal Challengers even before the auction for a price well above his base price, and later wanted to move to the Daredevils because he was being offered more money. In the end he had to honour the contract he had signed with the Bangalore franchisee.
For the moment it appears as though the Delhi players will have to go the same way as this problem seems to be an isolated case. HT spoke to senior officials in the Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai franchisees and none of them had similar problems with their players.