IPL's foreign affair leaves Indian players in cold
The Indian Premier League may have brought money and fame for many, but the glitzy Twenty20 tournament is proving a bitter pill for many home-grown players.
Organisers insist the IPL is a domestic Indian tournament with teams allowed to field only four foreign players per match, but local cricketers are already feeling the pinch in the event's second season.
All eight teams are coached by foreigners and only four sides are captained by Indian players.
The fascination with international stars does not end there. Among those cricketers bought at IPL auctions, seven of the top 10 earners were foreigners.
"This whole talk of IPL being a domestic Indian tournament is a joke," former India captain Ajit Wadekar told AFP.
"It is Indian money, our country's money on which foreigners are thriving. But they do not think twice before sacking an Indian."
India star Mohammad Kaif, 28, was shown the door by Rajasthan Royals two days before the IPL's second season started in South Africa because skipper Shane Warne said "he did not fit into the scheme of things".
The removal of Kaif, who has played 13 Tests and 125 one-day internationals, left many fuming.
"It has exposed the complete ruthlessness of the owners," said Sharda Ugra, sports editor of the respected India Today magazine.
"Eventually for them it's business first. Unfortunately the Indians seem to be losing out, even the great players."
India's most successful Test captain Sourav Ganguly was replaced at the helm of Kolkata Knight Riders by New Zealander Brendon McCullum, a move masterminded by their cricket head, former Australian coach John Buchanan.
Rahul Dravid was dumped as captain of Bangalore Royal Challengers after Kevin Pietersen came on board this year while Venkatsai Laxman was sacked as skipper of Deccan Chargers in favour of Adam Gilchrist.
When Pietersen leaves the IPL in early-May due to England commitments, South African Jacques Kallis will take over as captain for the rest of the season.
Wadekar said he wished Indian coaches were taken on by the rich owners.
"Some of the foreign coaches have not even played Test cricket, that's why they don't know how to respect talent at the international level. No wonder, players like Ganguly are being ill-treated."
Ugra fears it may not be long before the restriction on four foreign players per match is removed.
"There was already an attempt to amend the rules and have six foreigners in a playing eleven before the auction this year, but luckily it was shot down," she said.