The IPL auction ahead of season four was a splurge show by the franchisee owners.
It was overhaul time for the franchisees and they lived up to the expectations churning out a few millionaires in matters of minutes.
Indian opener Gautam Ghambir opened the auction by being the highest paid player on day one, KKR bagged the Delhi Dare Devils last season captain for USD2.4 million, and followed this one by signing Baroda big hitter Yusuf Pathan for USD 2.1 million.
There were others too, however what was interesting was the fact that stalwarts of the gentlemen’s game were overshadowed by the minnows of the slam bam format. It was a pity to see Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman being auctioned cheaply for USD 5,00,000 and 4,00,000 respectively where as there were no takers for Sourav Ganguly who was reserved at USD 4,00,000.
This is where I feel that stalwarts of the game should have gracefully left the marketing marquee of IPL after having braved three seasons and left on a respectable note. This isn’t a place for these text-book players.
What surprises me are few things, players like Robin Uthappa and Irfan Pathan bagged USD 2.1 million and 1.9million respectively, both of these are not even in the probable 30 players for WC squad.
Also the international stars were in no comparison with the prices youngsters with barely few international games managed. All of three ODI’s and 23 first class games under his belt left hander Saurabh Tiwary took home USD 1.6million, whereas England’s T20 captain Paul Collingwood could manage USD 250,000.
This is what a season of good performance can do in a game where legends spent lifetime to achieve a single feat. And two of such legends Sourav Ganguly and Brian Lara could not find any takers.
One can understand Lara, for he hasn’t played any cricket for last three years but Ganguly’s omission was surprising.
What concerns me is how fans will react to a new home team? I remember while covering IPL-3, the SMS stadium, Jaipur would erupt with roars every time Yusuf Pathan would come to bat. Now how will the Rajasthan Royals fans react when Yusuf will play against Royals on his once home turf?
I doubt if the experiment to follow football leagues will go down well with Indian fans who have an emotional connect with their teams and players.
Also how much will IPL-4 manage to capture the audience imagination remains to be seen as the tournament begins just a week after World Cup 2011.
Organisers should have given a thought that excess of everything is bad and might apply to nation’s unofficial religion as well.
While that is long way to go, what remains to be seen is that will Gambhir manage to hold the distinction on Day-2 of auction or we see a new millionaire toppling him in mere 24 hours.