Officially, Ravindra Jadeja gets paid more than Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag and a lot of other talented players.
But how many of us actually believe this to be true?
How many of us believe that Jadeja can actually get paid more than the bigwigs of Indian cricket? How many of us also believe that to balance out this situation, the franchisees are resorting to things that they would rather not talk about in the open?
Almost all of us know that this is a rhetorical question.
The India TV sting – even though it produces no hard evidence in the form of money-changing hands or no-balls being bowled on demand – has done one thing: it has us discussing the dark under-belly of the Indian Premier League.
While spot-fixing is rather impossible to track — it could be happening even now and there would be no way to stop it – because it mainly involves one player doing what he wants. There no way to figure out whether it just happened or was planned.
However, the BCCI does need to stop this business of perks.
The perks don’t mean just gifts such as cars, bungalows, laptops, which a Pune player has allegedly received according to the sting operation. But it could include a lot more.
For instance, in January this year, the investigators from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) launched a probe into the kinds of perks that the super rich football stars of the Premiership were receiving.
The sort of perks that attracted the Revenue’s attention were first-class flights, holidays, company cars, use of club credit cards, health care and private security. It doesn’t sound like much on its own but it adds up.
Like Chelsea skipper John Terry, who in 2007, was given a two-week trip aboard a £72million yacht belonging to club owner Roman Abramovich. Now, how do you measure the value of that perk?
So the HMRC sent out a questionnaire including 181 detailed queries to 24 clubs asking for details of luxury gifts.
The document demanded details including:
- Whether players’ wives and girlfriends ended up on the club’s payroll.
- How match tickets are handed out to players and their families and the extent of the use of stadium corporate hospitality.
- Accounting procedures for testimonial matches, which can rake in up to £2 million for an individual player?
- If clubs pay foreign stars differently from British players.
Even details such as, ‘Are any payments made into trusts or sub-trusts, whether in the UK or abroad, for which employees or family members are, or are potentially, the beneficiaries?’ were asked for.
And this is what the BCCI and the IPL need to do right away. They need to ensure that all the payments being made in the League are declared. They need to make sure that people stop looking at the IPL as a way for the super rich owners to use black money to make their teams stronger. They need to make sure this is a league that is respected because it does the right thing and not only because it figures out new ways to make money.
The taxman needs to make his presence felt immediately as well.
If the IPL bosses tell us they don’t know that it’s happening then it’s hard to believe them. Simply because most players know about this, then how can the IPL not know? They won’t come on record because it means they are depriving themselves of a chance to make some good money.
There was a proposal in 2008 that the salary cap be removed allowing the top players to get whopping contracts worth $14-15 million. And that could be a starting point because then players could readily demand what they feel their talent is worth.
As things stand, there is such a huge grey area that questions are bound to be asked. The only question we are asking though is this: Does the BCCI have the right answer?