Thursday, February 10, 2011


Trading cricketers as commodities in a public domain is slavish!

I was never an ardent admirer of Sourav Ganguly as a cricketer but I definitely admired his attitude with which he led the Indian cricket team to a series of victory! It was the leader in him, who could pull back a team! The way he used his leadership skills to promote players like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Irfan and the likes – who otherwise would've got lost in oblivion, showcased his great determination and grit! Th is also meant that he had to rub the wrong way against the establishment for which he earned so much of dislikeness and discredit. What he did for the Indian team cannot be taken away but whatever happened to him during the 2010 IPL auction, should have been the last thing to happen to any player of his stature! It might sound weird, but aft er his omission from IPL, I probably admire him even more...

Now, the fact is that IPL is business of sports! And when it comes to business decision, the decision to oust Ganguly was probably correct – that's what his franchise felt and did! But then, his omission should have been a little more graceful. Many cricketing experts today are justifying the stance of omitting Sourav with myriad reasonings, but none would have liked a similar treatment on themselves. It is too humiliating to say the least, and he definitely did not deserve it this way. Not just this, I personally feel that the entire process of auctioning in public is outrightly humiliating for any player! One might argue that the entire thing should be taken in the right side of sporting spirit but I personally feel that we have stretched this spirit too far! The entire bidding looked like those ancient days, when Romans felt, that they ruled the world and sports was an extension of a feudal pleasure sans respect for any sportsmen. It was an exhibition of feudalism at its obscene worst! And more outrageous was the fact that this was done by young heirs of wealthy families who, apart from their inheritence, have no other credentials!

Without digressing from the core issue, I agree, that IPL is business. It is more of a monopsony market with limited buyers (franchise) and large number of sellers (cricketers). In such a market, every decision, including the prices (fee) are determined by the buyers! But here we are not talking about just another commodity. We are dealing with human beings, and a majority of those represented their nations at the highest levels. In such a scenario, when bidding happens – the price becomes indicative of 'a' player's significance. At the same time the same price also indicates their non-significance, in the eyes of the buyer! And mind you, in this case it's not just in the eyes of the franchise, but the entire world got to know how each player was rated in the IPL bazaar! The concept of an auction is fine till it is a close door affair. But if and when it is made public, the cricketers should also be given an equal opportunity for quoting a price, which he feels he deserves, just like the buyer! If such an opportunity is given then we might not see what Manish Pandey did (its a different thing that I feel that what he did was absolutely correct) and more than that by doing so, we allow the basic self esteem of the player to remain intact.

Instead, what did IPL do? Blatantly demean and humiliate players in public! It is not about the price, but the basic aspect of being sold at a price in public in itself is belittling! I always liked Sourav as a captain, but I like him more today, as he took every bit of his humiliating exit with lot of grace, at least till now! I doubt if any of the franchisees could have done that had they been in his place!


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