Written by Raju Mehta, Ranji player
With India having won the second Test comprehensively, all cricket lovers’ focus shifted to the IPL auction. The interest generated was huge, even though it was a mini-auction as the big one will be held next year when one more team will be added, and all the players -except the ones who are retained -will be back in the auction pool.
All eyes were on the usual suspects like Glen Maxwell and Chris Morris to see how much money would they be bid for, even though they have not set the IPL on fire as yet. Interest was also on the domestic players who would have had high hopes based on their performances in the recently concluded Mushtaq Ali tournament.
Still, it came as a major shock to see Maxwell go for Rs14.25 crores and Morris for a whopping Rs16.5 cr! And ironically, one of the most effective fast bowlers, especially in India, Umesh Yadav going for his base price of Rs1 cr. It was beyond any comprehension to see Kyle Jamieson getting Rs15 cr, even though he still has to play sufficiently in this format. This led to one question: why only one player from the West Indies, Fabian Allen got picked for his base price of Rs75 lakhs? One has to remember the number of impact players that the West Indies have produced and have actually won the World T-20 twice. Is it because most of the franchisees have Australians or New Zealanders as part of their think tank? This again is ironic as the franchise that has won the IPL twice in a row has an Asian in Jayawardene as their coach, and both, Australia and New Zealand have still to win the World T-20!
Of the domestic players, K. Gowtham had a windfall going for Rs9.25cr. Maybe the BCCI needs to step in and have a salary cap on uncapped foreign players. Even if the bidding war exceeds this amount, the BCCI can keep the balance amount. Food for thought, indeed.
Now, all eyes are trained on the pink ball Test that will begin at the world’s largest new stadium in Ahmedabad. Speculation on how the wicket will play and the effect of dew on the pink ball is rife. The ball did spin during the Mushtaq Ali tournament even when there were many due that the bowlers had to contend with. The pink ball is a wonderful spectacle for the spectators as it is more visible, and it will be interesting to see how much the ball will swing. Also, the new stadium lights are on the roof and not on light towers, and there is no shadow as a result. How this will affect the players, particularly when the ball is skied?.
That the ball will spin is a given, and it adds to the intrigue as players have to adapt to different surfaces, different weather conditions, and a different ball. It all goes to make the game of glorious uncertainties even more fascinating and Test cricket more watchable. The hue and cry about the wicket in Chennai for the second Test -particularly by the foreign media- have died down. As India ended up scoring nearly 600 runs in the Test and out batted and out bowled the English team. Nobody complains when a Test finishes in 2 and 3 days at times in England and Australia. Thus the English team will need to learn to deal with it. One cannot wait for the Test to begin.
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