By Humra Laeeq
The Indian Premier League (IPL)—the world’s most cash-rich cricket tournament—has been receiving biting criticism this year. In a matter of days, the tournament has been called ‘humiliating’ and ‘unclean’. Behind the glamorous façade of colours, costumes and fans, is the IPL truly deserving of such opprobrium?
The auction that ‘humiliates’
Heath Mills, chief executive of the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, has levied accusations against the tournament regarding the annual auctions that occur to buy players for the teams. The event puts players up for auction, who are then bought by franchises on the basis of a pure cash battle. Mills mentioned how the auction system is ‘archaic’ and serves to “humiliate the players ‘who are paraded like cattle”. Neither do they have autonomy of membership, nor are they assured any permanence within the tournament. A high number of players are left unsold, which implicitly denies them of any worth.
Mills is not wrong in her analysis of the team-player-franchise dynamics. Auctions are meant to display objects to be bought, bid for, and judged by market value. To reduce players to marketable commodities is a gross degradation of human dignity. Players are, in a sense, mishandled by franchise owners annually, nor knowing where they are or who manages them. Moreover, the constant juggling between multiple teams weakens the sporting spirit, that often depends upon longterm team dynamics. Players are motivated not to see their team win because the loyalty is too short-lived. In the end, it becomes a stage for individual play and singular talent. But in this case, why are players still part of IPL?
The IPL is more about earning than winning
Amidst such a culture where players constantly change loyalties, there is little motivation to see one’s team win. After all, the monetary reward is gained simply by participation. The Bombay High Court also weighed on Tuesday, claiming that the tournament is losing the spirit of the game. This was done in lieu of the violations of foreign exchange rule that occurred in the 2009 tournament. The issue was brought forward in a petition led by former IPL chairman Lalit Modi. The petition demanded the cross examination of witnesses in the FEMA case. Justice Dharmadhikari said that players only “wish to earn five to ten crores and not play for the country”.
Under such circumstances, authorities are working towards making changes. The auction system might soon be given up for a draft system, which will allow new player to be added and old players to be retained. The idea will be to do away with mega auctions. The division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari will soon pass orders on the issue. Until then, the Indian sporting world is caught in a web of corruption and hypocrisy. Perhaps, the glamourised picture of the IPL, does not reflect reality, will soon change.
Featured Image Source: Flickr
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius