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IPL auction: how much is too much?

At one end of the spectrum, people are contemplating whether the $500,000 mark will be breached for an individual player and at the other, it's hard to see just how such numbers are justifiable, reports Anand Vasu.
By Anand Vasu & HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2008 04:15 PM IST

THE QUESTION Richard Madley will ask at the grand IPL auction in Mumbai on Wednesday is: What price will you pay for Ricky Ponting? The question each of the eight franchisees, hoping to hire the best talent for their teams, is just how little can they pay and get away with it.

In setting the floor price for spending on a team at $3.3 million, and capping it at $5 million, the IPL has tried to ensure that teams are evenly matched and the big spenders don't walk away with all the goodies.

At one end of the spectrum, people are contemplating whether the $500,000 mark will be breached for an individual player and at the other, it's hard to see just how such numbers are justifiable.

In auction situations, traditionally, an object's value is determined by how badly someone wants it, rather than what it is intrinsically worth. For example, if Vijay Mallya (Bangalore) and Mukesh Ambani (Mumbai) both decide that they simply must have Shane Warne, there's no saying what his price tag could be.

But, and there is already chatter that representatives of different teams are in informal talks about certain players to ensure that the auction doesn't overheat, if companies decide to come together, and stick to what they say, there is no reason why anyone should spend more than the floor price of $3.3 million.

However, nothing about the IPL has been based on cold financial logic so far. Bidders shelled out well in excess of what was expected when they bought teams, and the television rise sold for almost double the base price. It's hard to see why the player auctions won't go the same way, but equally, it's tough to see why players should receive such a premium.

Currently, the highest grade retainership in the Indian cricket team is worth Rs 60 lakh. Per Test, a player gets 3.2 lakh and each ODI earns him 2.2 lakh. Assume Sachin Tendulkar plays 30 ODIs and 10 Tests in a year. This translates to a pay of 158 lakh (including the retainer but excluding bonuses, prize money etc) for 80 days of work. In essence, this means Tendulkar's pay per playing day is Rs. 1.975 lakh.

The numbers floating around for the IPL start at some $400,000 for a maximum of 16 playing days. That works out to Rs 10 lakh per game, or an almost 500% increase from what he is paid to play for India.

Even taking into account this is a free-market scenario, the numbers don't add up. What's more, the players stand to benefit big time in terms of personal endorsements given the viewership and advertising heat the IPL is generating.

For the players, it seems like a certain jackpot at the auctions, for the franchisees, though, it will be another day when they reach for their cheque books, and buy themselves a slice of the feel-good factor and brand association that the IPL will provide, but can scarcely be justified in a balance sheet.

Kotla to make changes

HT Correspondent

New Delhi, February 18

THE KOTLA will have to spruce up its glamour quotient as it gets ready to host the Delhi leg of the IPL. On Sunday, a two-member team from the IPL visited the Kotla and suggested a few changes be made to the venue.

"They want us to have a full-fledged medical room where a doctor will always be on call," said a DDCA source.

"That is one of the many pre-requisites the IPL has for all the venues. An electronic scoreboard, more air conditioners and televisions were the other requirements," the source added.

Shipperd to coach Delhi

New Delhi: THE Delhi team has roped in Victoria's coach Greg Shipperd and his assistant David Saker for the competition, reports Venkat Ananth.

Shipperd confirmed his involvement with the Delhi team to HT on Monday. "Yes. We are having discussions with the franchise and things are going nicely. Shipperd, however, was tight-lipped about his contract details.

David Saker, assistant to Shipperd since 2004 has also been included in the support staff of the IPL unit. Saker was a former fast-bowler who represented Victoria and Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield.

Women's IPL not now

New Delhi: Will women's cricket have an IPL of its own? For now, it looks highly unlikely, reports Deepika Sharma. During the women's Challenger Trophy in Mumbai last week, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sharad Pawar had said, "We are planning matches on the basis of IPL (for women)".

However, the BCCI Chief Administrative Officer, Ratnakar Shetty on Monday said there were no such plans, at least in the near future. "We have just started looking after the women's game. We are at an early stage where our first task is to develop and promote the game," said Shetty.

All Indian players sign up

Mumbai: Setting aside any perceived reservations, all the Indian cricketers who are contracted to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have signed up for the IPL set to commence on April 18 at Bangalore.

"All the 33 Indian cricketers have signed up. From the list of names of cricketers from all countries released so far only a handful, less than ten, are yet to sign on the dotted line," IPL sources said on Monday.

"Barring a few Australians, all have signed up and the list of names includes captain Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds," they added.

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