There was a recent report in Australian media about Cricket Australia planning to keep its top players away from the cash-rich Indian Premier League. Their task has just got difficult. (IPL 2017 full coverage)
Australia’s vice-captain David Warner was already among the top picks in the IPL. By taking his team, Rising Pune Supergiant, into the final of the tournament, the valuation of Australia’s captain Steve Smith has also sky-rocketed.
Given the kind of money on offer in the IPL for the marquee players, doling out a compensation package to simply prevent Smith & Co from playing IPL is a plan which will be difficult to execute, feels the Indian cricket board.
There have been similar attempts by other cricket boards to stop their players from participating in the IPL, but all in vain. The South African and the England cricket boards have called their players back after the league phase but it has not affected the buzz around the IPL playoffs.
Rising Pune Supergiant have gone on to make light of Ben Stokes’ absence with a rousing performance against Mumbai Indians and enter the final.
As always, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is unfazed by the latest attempt being made in Australia.
“The main point is can they pay commensurate to the status of the players? And how will they do the valuation for a David Warner and Steve Smith?” questioned a BCCI insider.
“How do they decide on which players to offer extra money and if they have bigger contracts for five players what about the other contracted players? How will they take it?” he asked.
The IPL has no shortage of options. Each team is allowed a maximum of four foreign players in the XI and he doesn’t have to be a top international player. Someone like Chris Lynn has become a huge hit and will sell.
The top draws are the Virat Kohlis, Rohit Sharmas and MS Dhonis. Despite being removed from captaincy, Dhoni remains the face of the Rising Pune Supergiant among the fans. There’s no better proof of the Indian players’ appeal than the applause Dhoni got at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium when he stumped local crowd favourite AB de Villiers.
There is no tournament which has been plagued by so many controversies, yet the product remains robust. The attendance has only grown this season. “By the 40th game, we had surpassed last season’s overall stadium attendance figures,” said a BCCI insider, sharing the official data as 1,17,3603 against 975067 last season.
What has added to the numbers is the better response at the Hyderabad (Sunrisers Hyderabad’s home) and Mohali (Kings XI Punjab) venues. “These were two venues where the response wasn’t great. This season, even for a 4pm game it has been packed at Hyderabad. The good start at Indore seemed to have injected interest in Mohali and the crowds thronged for KXIP’s home games,” he said.