SANDIPAN BANERJEE | 18 DECEMBER, 2018
The Weird Schedule of IPL XII Player's Auction
In Jaipur today
The player's auction for the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), is one of the most awaited annual off the field events for the cricket fraternity. It is through this auction, cricketers around to world go under the hammer in the quest of featuring in the cash-rich T20 extravaganza. Especially for the uncapped Indian domestic players, this event provides them the much-required limelight as well as a platform of recognising their potentials. However, this time thanks to the unusual scheduling of the 12th edition of the auction, which is set to take place in Jaipur on December 18, things are looking a bit messy, both for the franchises as well as for the domestic cricketers.
Interestingly, this will be the second IPL auction in a calendar year as earlier in January we had the mega two-day edition in Bengaluru. Usually this event takes place in January-February, following the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 tournament. The uncapped youngsters treat that competition as an audition for the auction and try to grab the attention of the scouts through their on-field performances.
In the past, we have seen players like Krunal Pandya, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan and others getting IPL contracts on the basis of their performances in Syed Mushtaq Ali. Unfortunately, this time the franchises have little idea of most of the rookie Indian players, who will be up for grabs. A recent TOI report quoted an unnamed BCCI official as saying that a mid-December has made life difficult for the franchise scouts, who are now unable to spot talent as per their requirements.
"The BCCI] technical committee and the fixtures committee scheduled the tournament [Syed Mushtaq Ali] keeping the IPL auctions in mind. However, it’s strange how the IPL auction could be slotted two months ahead of the domestic T20 tournament since there is no Governing Council functioning and no office-bearers was kept in the loop,” the BCCI official said. ”It would have been ideal for the players from these states if the Mushtaq Ali tournament was played earlier. They could have showcased their prowess in the shortest format.”
Perhaps due to this confusion, for the 70 available spots across the eight franchises only 346 names have been shortlisted out of a list of 1003 players, who had initially registered to be a part of the auction. It is very harsh for rest 657 cricketers who missed out on an opportunity this year. And a majority of them are uncapped Indian cricketers, belonging from the new states which are featuring in domestic cricket for the first time in this ongoing season.
Interestingly, in the upcoming edition of IPL, most of the franchises will depend on the Indian talent since a lot of marquee overseas players will be unavailable due to their perpetration for the World Cup, which is scheduled right after the league. So, if we had the auction in its usual time, perhaps we would have seen a lot of unknown Indian players getting the opportunity to play in this premier T20 league. But now, most of the teams will play it safe by grabbing the known faces.
Furthermore, picking up players in the middle of the season is quite risky since there are more than three months left for the tournament and chances of an unforeseen injury are quite high.
Considering the World Cup, the IPL XII will commence quite early next year, right from the last week of March. Whereas, the Syed Mushtaq Ali will be played from February 21 to March 14. Under this scenario, if we had the player's auction in between these two tournaments, if would have been ideal for all the stakeholders.