The DLF Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise owners are sharply divided over the $5-million cap imposed by the cricket board for buying players.
Before the players’ auction in February this year for the first edition of the 20-20 over tournament, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had informed the eight team owners that the maximum amount each team could spend on players was $5 million.
However, with the teams having the right to trade players from the upcoming season, a few franchise owners want the bar to be increased, or scrapped.
While franchise owners like Vijay Mallya’s UB Group (which is the owner of Royal Challengers Bangalore) are demanding a relaxation in the cap, the GMR Group, which owns the Delhi Daredevils, and Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders say they want the restriction to stay.
“We would like to retire players who haven’t played or performed (in the inaugural edition). If any player needs to be substituted then we have to buy out their contacts since the cricketers are contacted for three years. To manage this within the limit of $5 million is not an easy task,” said Vijay Rekhi, president of UB Group.
However, Yogesh Shetty, CEO of GMR Sports, the franchise owner of the Delhi team, differs on the issue. “When rules have been defined at the very beginning, why should there be any changes now?” he asked.
“The logic of having a cap was to make sure that there are a players’ balance in each team,” he added.
Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders spokesperson echoes the sentiment, stating that the franchise’s owner had decided on the team’s strategy keeping the cap in mind and “revising the restriction now doesn’t seem fair.”
The Sharad Pawar-led board, however, has still not taken any decision on revising the rule. When contacted, Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of DLF IPL said, “We have not decided the new policy yet. In the current policy, the cap exists.”
The eight franchise owners had to select players from a pool of over 80 cricketers from India, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
BCCI had also laid down that of the 16 players in each team, a franchise owner can have maximum of four international players, eight Indian players and four budding talent.