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New salary cap underscores importance of country, state

india Updated: Sep 07, 2010 01:29 IST
Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra
Hindustan Times
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The fourth edition of the IPL is expected to be 'fatter' with a larger purse for every team to buy players and 'bigger' with the introduction of two new teams and 14 more matches. Ironically, though, despite having more money to be distributed, players might end up earning a lot less than what they did, especially non-internationals.

For the first time a salary cap has been introduced for the uncapped players (cricketers who haven’t played for India). Now, their IPL salary would be decided by their seniority in the domestic circuit and not by their performance. There were quite a few domestic players, especially ones who came back to the BCCI fold from the ICL raking in twice or even thrice as much as the new salary cap.

These guys came in with a big reputation of being T20 specialists and hence demanded and got megabucks. Even domestic cricketers who performed consistently in the IPL got a considerable hike after every season, which was again at least double the amount of what they stand to earn now. No wonder that till the new rules came out yesterday, they were negotiating a similar deal for the fourth season.

The dynamics have changed completely now and instead of passing judgment on its merit, I’d put forth the arguments for you to decide. Ideally, a person must get what he deserves for his services and that should be decided mutually by the employer (IPL franchisee) and the employee (player). His cricketing status with regards to whether he is good enough to play for India should not hamper his earnings in a domestic league. Also, why should the year of his first-class debut matter while taking a call on his capabilities as a player? Is it even mandatory to be a good first-class cricketer to be a good T20 cricketer? And more importantly, how would you explain the same player, despite doing ever so well, earning X amount for one season and 1/3rd of it the next season, while the earning of everyone around him goes up every year. Last but not the least, since he isn’t playing for India and perhaps won’t in the future too, he isn’t earning as much and now it will only come down further.

Perhaps, the idea behind the new rule was to ensure that the importance of playing and doing well in first-class cricket is not wasted on the younger lot. This ruling will ensure that players don’t chuck their first-class careers or dreams of playing for the country to make moolah in the cash rich IPL. Till now, astronomical sums exchanged hands and were promised to even domestic cricketers. This new salary cap tells you in no uncertain terms that you have to don national colours to earn top dollar and that there is no alternate. Besides, IPL 4 may now escape the wrath of the cynics, unlike its precursors which were blamed for indulging young cricketers in steep sums.

Also, all the contracts going through the BCCI mean that there'd be a standard players' contract and different franchisees won't have different rules. A lot of teams have been guilty of riding on players' ignorance of the laws and paid a lot less than they'd agreed on.

IPL lacked a rule book, and hence an overhaul was imperative to ensure a smooth run. The redrafting may have settled some contentious issues and answered some basic questions, yet it in the process, it may have popped up some more questions of serious concern.