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Made in India for foreigners?

So, Mohammad Kaif got unceremoniously booted out of IPL-II even before it took off. He didn't fit into Shane Warne's plans. Kadambari Murali Wade comments on the Foreign-Indian player ratio that smacks of hypocrisy.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2009 19:02 IST
Kadambari Murali Wade

So, Mohammad Kaif got unceremoniously booted out of IPL-II even before it took off. He didn't fit into Shane Warne's plans.

Neither did Dinesh Salunkhe, known as the star of a cricket reality show called Cricket Star that most of us didn't catch, but also someone the Aussie captain of the Royals dubbed a "superstar of the near future" a bare year ago. Warne's concept of "near future" is obviously stretchable.

From one point of view, the sending back of seven-odd Rajasthan Royals players and whoever else is justified. The Indian Premier League is a business proposition, the team owners want it professionally run, expenses are high and they're sending back people who they consider excess baggage.

But you know us cynical hacks, we need to ask some questions, so here is one: Is it all as professional and cut and dried as it seems?

For instance, why did Warne have Hampshire buddy Dimitri Mascarenhas hanging around for ages last year when he was only going to play him in one match? Or bring retired Aussie pal Darren Lehmann out of the cold? Lehmann played two games and made 18 in toto. There are more examples.

Or forget the Royals. Take teams that are trimming their squads to 19-20 players, keeping their nine or 10 overseas pros in South Africa and sending back a bunch of Indian youngsters.

As a playing XI can have only four 'foreign' players, six overseas pros will be warming the bench at any given time.

On the other hand, seven of the 10 Indians left will be playing a game every alternate day or so, given the hectic scheduling of the IPL games. So are there different yardsticks for Indians and foreigners playing in the Indian Premier League?

Again, these questions are being asked simply because we've heard "ad nauseum", from the IPL itself, from the team owners and from everyone else connected to cricket's mega carnival, about how good the IPL will be for the development of cricket in India.

If someone's telling us it's a business proposition and that's about it, that's just peachy. Your money, your team, you do as you want, even if it's not particularly sensitively done. (Remember Laxman and Dravid's ousters as skippers?) That's professional sport.

But factor in the 'my heart beats for India' (or its variants) ratio and then the whole thing smacks of hypocrisy.

The Indians selected were picked on the assumption that they were good enough to feature in T20 games, unless someone was being unprofessional and a player was picked up as a favour.

So doesn't it make sense to keep on some of the Indian kids and send some of the foreigners back to hang around at home till needed? Or do things like have an Indian assistant coach as back up to someone like John Buchanan, or assistant trainer to Adrian le Roux, so he can learn from the best in the business?

Oh well, it all takes off tomorrow. Let the games begin.