While the India TV sting has raised questions about match fixing and spot fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) it also raises questions about the salary cap on the teams, when it comes to spending on players, particularly domestic ones, and if the allegations of match fixing in the now defunct Indian Cricket League were well founded.
The news channel’s reporters, who posed as player managers and agents looking to recruit for IPL franchisees, met with the cricketers some of whom claimed the IPL teams were paying them more than the specified salary cap.
“Rs 1.2 crore was paid to me by Pune in black,” Mohnish Mishra said. And when asked if it was a known fact, the batsman said,”Yes, everybody knows. If the organisers didn’t know, then this wouldn’t be happening.”
But why not just pay the player directly? Because the IPL has a fixed spending cap of $9 million for each of the team owners for each season.
And the scheme particularly is not favourable for domestic cricketers who have never played for the Indian team since the amount that can be paid for them has already been capped. Since the teams cannot pay more than the Rs 30 lakh salary limit IPL governing body has fixed, they could be paying players through endorsements or in cash as claimed by Mishra to hold on to good local talent.
It isn’t like it’s an unknown fact. A DNA report points out how Chris Gayle of the Royal Challengers Bangalore is officially being paid just $6,50,000 which is less than what even someone like Ravindra Jadeja is getting paid, but then he receives a total of $5 million thanks to endorsements and other deals.
The Indian Express in a report today points out that three of the four cricketers snared in the sting by India TV are former players of the Indian Cricket League and even the same team. TP Sudhindra, Mohnish Mishra and Shalabh Srivastava were all members of the Delhi Giants team in the now non-existent cricket league and were taken into domestic cricket and the IPL as part of the amenesty scheme offered by the BCCI.
That the players happen to be from the Indian Cricket League is only another taint on the cricketing league. New Zealand all rounder Chris Cairns accused two of his teammates of spot fixing and when accused of the same, sued and won a case of libel against former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.
Two of the players, Sudhindra and Srivastava, are alleged to have expressed willingness to indulge in spot fixing of matches and bowl no-balls in exchange for money. Sudhindra, who had a good 2011-12 season in the Ranji trophy and ended up its highest wicket taker, also took money to bowl a no-ball in an Indore cricket league game. While greed seems an obvious reason for the alleged spot-fixing, is it perhaps time the BCCI examines the measures it has taken to prevent match fixing?
And given this sting operation is it now time to do away with the salary cap given it doesn’t look like it’s being followed? Should players be paid as per their talent and teams be made to make a full disclosure of the payments they are making to players? While individual instances of greed may be difficult to completely wipe out, some much needed transparency can be brought to the cricketing league and will prevent it from being tainted by them.