Franchisees ready with their wishlists

There is no business like show business. After all, the IPL is bigger than the normal show, it's something the stars of the show business have paid through their noses to get into rather than the other way around. With the stars are some of the leading business honchos, whose occurrence goes to show that there are cash to be made as well and not just spent. The mood was buoyant too at the wellappointed Royal Gardenia, the official hotel for the two - day Players Auction that kicks off on Saturday ahead of the fourth edition of the IPL. If Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra walked in hand in hand, a few others seemed to be walking hand in glove, perhaps, just perhaps, having arrived at a joint strategy.

The flamboyant Vijay Mallya, straight out of a holiday in Maldives, made a dramatic last-minute entry as usual , posing for pictures with Ness Wadia just before joining the briefing by the BCCI for the franchisees, all 10 of whom were very much present . All were well represented by a set of overseas coaches, with Robin Singh of Mumbai Indians being the exception. To a man, the excitement was palpable. Come 11.00 am on Saturday morning, as much as $75.9 million ($14.1 million of the total purse of $90 million for the 10 teams has gone in the retaining of 12 players) will be traded, give or take a million or five for the uncapped players who are not part of the auction.

With serious money comes serious thought and that seems to be the common thread this time around, with all the franchisees, including to an extent the two new ones, swearing they are improved prepared. "There may have been a lot of uncertainty around the auction, the number of teams, so on and so forth, but that hasn't hampered our training in any way," said a team official, who like most others spoke on condition of secrecy. "We now know how the whole concept works, the last three years have given us the knowledge," was the chorus. Only one man begged to differ slightly. "Yes, now we are more experienced but let's admit one thing, sometimes too much knowledge can be a hindrance. We went in blind the first time and didn't do too badly," he said.

Amidst all the brouhaha ahead of the big days, one aspect stood out. No official wanted to reveal the wish list, lest it push up the price up of their wanted players. At the same time some tried to push a name or two they were least involved in, just so that someone falls for the trap, the price is raised and the particular team's kitty reduced. "Don't take us for fools," said a former cricketer, associated with a franchise, the IPL being a boon for much-retired cricketers too. One other thing was made clear.This time around, the most deliberate factor, even more than the talent of the worried player, is his availability. "Believe me the spreadsheets have been more about who will be available for how long than the money. That perhaps is the biggest lesson we have learnt," said the player.


Post a Comment