The latest Indian Premier League (IPL) auction has caught the fancy of everyone who likes the chi-ching sound of a cash register with the thwack of leather hitting wood in the background. But it has also got the attention of some folks hiding behind the skirts of economics. The latest sub-field of research in psycho-econometric theory: the Joginder-Sourav Anomaly (JSA).
The JSA refers to all-rounder Joginder Sharma being snapped up for R68 lakh by the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) while Sourav Ganguly gets picked by absolutely no one. Does this mean that Joginder is a better player than the semi-retired Sourav Ganguly. Nope. It simply means that CSK is probably more willing to take a chance on Joginder than risk the old warhorse failing. The case of Gautam Gambhir is actually logical. He’s in the national team and is thus invested with ‘low risk’; he’s young and well-suited to the histrionic nature of the Twenty20 format. It’s not capability alone that marks one’s value, but also one’s brand equity — the same way Nikhil Chakravorty, even after being the more talented sitar-player of the two, was less famous (‘valuable’) than Ravi Shankar. So Gambhir’s getting R11.04 crore, some R3 crore more than Sachin Tendulkar’s price tag, is because of factors not strictly within the realm of cricket.
Also, in the shortest format of the game, the difference between a ‘good’ and an ‘okay’ player is minimal. The chances of Daniel Christian (R4.14 crore) getting a wicket off the last delivery to win a match is roughly the same as those of Bret Lee (R1.84 crore). But the chances of Lee being unavailable for an IPL match for Kolkata Knight Riders to play a match for Australia are higher. Thus, the logic of ‘better’ players getting less money — in addition to the ‘strange’ JSA cropping up.