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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Can you identify these persons ??

Perhaps the man on the left is more easily identified.  He spends most of his professional life scouring antique shops for £20 curios to sell at auction and plays as a humble wicketkeeper in the seventh division of the Wiltshire County League.

It is Richard Madley who conducted IPL 2010 auction in a sealed room in the Trident Hotel in Mumbai. This was touted to be biggest sports auction in the world – cannot imagine how much he would have charged the IPL for this ?

There were 13 slots to fill in and the players will be contracted only for one year. Some of the big names included Kieron Pollard of Trinidad& Tobago, Shahid Afridi,Mohd Amer, Darren Ganga, Shakib Al Hassan – surprisingly Afridi, Brad Haddin and Swann have the highest base price of $ 250000.

Upon start, there were no bidders for Afridi who was the biggest buy for Deccan Chargers but failed to perform. For Kieron Pollard there was four way tie and Mumbai Indians clinched him. Haddin went in hammer but he alongwith Greame Swann remained unsold. Wayne Parnell went with a base price of $ 200000. Bond attracted quite a few but was bought buy KKR. Mohd Kaif remained unsold as also were Sohail Tanvir, Tim Bresnan, Justin Kemp, Darren Ganga, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chamara Silva, Doug Bollinger, Kamran Akmal, Imran Nazir, Philip Hughes, Wavel Hinds, Lendl Simmons, Upul Tharanga and Jonathan Trott.

At 1.54 pm, the extravagant auction concluded with IPL Chairman Lalit Modi bringing down the curtain. U 19 Player Harsh Patel was bought by Mumbai Indians, Harmeet Singh by Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers bought Capt Ashok Menaria – who all had fixed price of Rs.10 lakh each.

This was the man on the right

Meantime, the Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra who won the Olympic gold in 10 M Air Rifle event in 2008 Beijing Olympics complained of being victimised claiming exemption from the selection trials.

Elsewhere the players of the National game where suffering ignominy wanting fair money for their toil. Field hockey is the national game of India. In 1928, the team won its first Olympic gold medal and until 1956, the Indian men's team remained unbeaten in the Olympics, winning six gold medals in a row. In total, the Indian hockey team has won eight Olympics gold medals — the highest among all national teams. It was sad news that this great game got mired in the politics and neglect leading to the decision to boycott the ongoing camp in Pune by the National players – the reason – non payment of match fees by Hockey India (HI). Unbelievable but true, this happening in a country where cricketer of any fame can think of lakhs of rupees. For very many years hockey has been a poor cousin; commercialisation ensured that money flowed into the coffers of all cricket associations and IPL has totally changed them all. It is all about money – though it is not exactly the cricketers who are gaining, they too are getting their share.

Perhaps the main lacunae is marketing as the Board is not as powerful as BCCI and it is not marketed on television.    HI and sponsors Sahara India Pariwar were involved in a row and that has been settled only two months back. But there complaints that the players were not paid any sponsorship money. Good sense prevailed and the sponsors Sahara India promised that money will be disbursed within a week to the players and all of them returned to the camp averting a national disaster in sports.

It  is  unfortunate that the basic needs of the players were not taken care of and they alleged poor quality of food, accommodation, graded system and insurance cover. Now let us hope for better care and improved performance from the players in the World Cup to be hosted next month.

With regards – S Sampathkumar.

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