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Gayle-force exposes flaw

One doubts if there is a bigger catch in the Indian Premier League than Chris Gayle? After all, he is the most destructive batsman in Twenty20 cricket. Had he been sold in the auction, it's a good bet that he would have broken all records. Sanjjeev K Samyal writes.

india Updated: May 17, 2012 23:46 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal

One doubts if there is a bigger catch in the Indian Premier League than Chris Gayle? After all, he is the most destructive batsman in Twenty20 cricket. Had he been sold in the auction, it's a good bet that he would have broken all records.

Surprisingly, he is not the highest earner in the league. Kolkata Knight Riders' Gautam Gambhir commands $2.4 million while the Royal Challengers Bangalore managed to retain Gayle for just $560,000.

What's even more difficult to fathom is that the player, who single-handedly took his team to the 2011 IPL final, is priced less than the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa, who command $2.1 million each, and Delhi Daredevils' Irfan Pathan ($1.9 million). That too when Gayle had offers pouring in from almost every team.

Baffling
But that's how the IPL system works. Having had the West Indian as a replacement in IPL IV, RCB had the first right of refusal for him, but only a total purse of $2 million. If the franchise had to buy a few players in the auction, they had to keep Gayle's price as low as possible. Getting him for $560,000 allowed them to achieve that.

The example highlights the fact that no one is surprised by Mohnish Mishra's claims during a sting operation that he was being paid an amount much higher than the official figures. Even though he later declared his statement as frivolous, no one is under any doubt that the practice is rampant in the IPL.

Mishra & Co were soft targets of the TV channel's sting, players who hardly count in the big world of IPL. While these domestic players are suspended, the bigger fish are swimming freely in the IPL ocean.

For a combined total of $4.5 million, Chennai Super Kings retained MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and Albie Morkel while the Mumbai Indians kept Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard. If it's true, isn't it a steal?

Imagine how much the two franchises would have had to shell out in auction for the likes of Dhoni and Tendulkar.

No clarity
There's no clarity over how much the retained players are paid. It's this opacity that's the root of all evil in the player payments. The current IPL structure of player payments is clearly not working.

It obviously breeds corruption. It's time to check out the English Premier League model where it's a straight deal between the player and the club or the NBA model based on draft picks.