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‘Indian Premier League auction humiliating for cricketers, is unprofessional’

New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA) officials feel the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction is an unprofessional process to play with athletes’ livelihoods.

cricket Updated: Jan 31, 2018 19:28 IST
HT Correspondent
New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA) officials have termed the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction ‘humiliating’ for players.
New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA) officials have termed the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction ‘humiliating’ for players.(BCCI )

Despite the hype surrounding the last week’s Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 auction, not everyone from cricket fraternity is pleased with the nature of the event. Cricket officials from New Zealand have come out in public, demanding an end to the IPL auction, which they consider is degrading and humiliating for players. Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi was the first to criticise the league, terming it a platform for ‘money laundering’.

(Read | Top 10 takeaways from the IPL auction 2018)

Heath Mills, chief executive of the New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA), said that the auction is an unprofessional way to play with athletes’ livelihoods while talking to New Zealand Herald on Tuesday.

The NZCPA chief executive also endorsed a tweet from former Wellington Cricket chief executive Peter Clinton, who had termed the IPL auction an undignified, cruel and unnecessary employment practice.

(Read | IPL Auction 2018: Aligarh rejoices Rinku Singh’s big break with Kolkata Knight Riders)

The IPL, which started in 2008, has emerged as the most lucrative career option for cricketers from across the world, but Hills found the current practice of auction deeply humiliating to players. He said the league should instead allow teams to choose players the way other top professional leagues in the world do.

“I think the whole system is archaic and deeply humiliating for the players, who are paraded like cattle for the world to see. There’s lot of good things about the Indian Premier League and it’s been great for cricket but I’d like to see it mirror the rest of professional sport in the way they engage athletes. The auction system is wrong — it’s not professional, far from it,” Mills told the Herald.

(Read | IPL Auction 2018: Rajasthan Royals buy Kumar Mangalam Birla’s son Aryaman for Rs 30 lakhs)

The NZCPA official slammed the league for not treating players as per modern standards. “The players enter the auction not knowing where they’re are going, who their team-mates are going be, who’s managing them, who the owners are — no other sports league in the world engages players on that basis. We’ve seen some players play for five or six teams over the 10 years the league has been going.”

“Coaches cannot build an affinity with players; they can’t build a long-term culture. The whole thing is very poor and players associations around the world would like to see it change,” he said.

(Read | IPL auction 2018 - Never expected such amount: Jaydev Unadkat after Rajasthan Royals deal)

As many as 24 Kiwi players were in the IPL auction with seven of them - Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Colin Munro, Tim Southee and Mitchell Santner- earning a contract at the end of it.

IPL’s stand

Even before NZCPA officials’ outburst, questions have been raised over the use of auction to select players in the world’s most cash-rich cricket league. In fact, at the end of the mega auction in Bengaluru, the IPL gave a hint that the auction may give way to a draft system from next year.

“Going forward, the thinking is that we will reduce, maybe not have mega auctions, but consider having a draft system for new players to come in, which acts as feeder system to teams,” Amin was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo at the end of the two-day IPL auction last weekend.

“Hence, the IPL Governing Council is thinking on the lines of how to cut down on the big auction and have the continuity with teams,” he added.

The eight-team tournament begins April 7.