Kings XI skipper Adam Gilchrist thinks the IPL is becoming a league of 'haves' and 'have-nots'. His appeal to find a level playing field for all teams, monetarily, could be brushed aside by cynics as a case of sour grapes - the Kings XI could not find the money to buy players at the auctions due to their impending court case.
Or one could also argue that the IPL or any league isn't supposed to be equal. Aren't Manchester United and Real Madrid the best teams in their leagues because they have the deepest pockets, and hence the best players? So, what's the fuss about a level-playing field?
Both the Deccan Chargers and Kings XI refused to spend their full purse at the auctions and hence the bigger (read richer) teams walked away with the best talent. But just because some teams chose not to spend their money, doesn't mean the Mumbai Indians and Super Kings can be called bullies. By far, the IPL governing council has done its bit to encourage fairness by allowing an equal purse to all the teams.
The auctions could've run amok with the rich getting richer and poor walking away poorer had that not been the case. In fact, the equal purse policy has meant that the smartest team and not necessarily the richest team becomes the strongest team.
There was another incident of a certain franchise hording talent by signing over 60 cricketers, but the governing council stepped in to put a cap on the maximum number of players a team could sign. If there's so much emphasis on bringing parity at every level, why isn't the same principle followed in trading window?
Financial impartiality is imperative for IPL's success because the tournament still needs nurturing. Fan loyalty takes decades to build and allowing a few teams to become the Manchester United and Real Madrid will be detrimental. Hence, it would be wise to have a financial cap during the transfer window too or else this could be the last season for Dale Steyn, Shaun Marsh and other performers for their relatively weaker teams.
The writer is contracted to RR