Even as Chennai Super Kings fans rejoice the chances of their franchise retaining their favourite son Mahendra Singh Dhoni going into the gala auction ahead of the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League, the Governing Council’s proposal to allow franchises to retain 1 Indian player and 2 foreign players hasn’t gone down too well with some of the franchises. The proposal has in fact divided the franchises. While some feel it a step in the right direction, others feel that it destroys the whole purpose of calling it the ‘mega auction’ where all the players would return to the pool for a fresh auction.
Speaking to CricketNext, an official of one of the bottom-placed teams in the last edition of the IPL said that the idea of retention would kill the whole idea of a fresh start wherein all the players would go into the pool.
“We are not too convinced with the idea because retention kills the chances of the big names being available for auction. Also, the whole idea of auction came from the transfer window in football. And if you look at them, every player is free to move to whichever club they feel like according to their preference and the financial offers. If retention is applicable even in the mega auction, then what sort of a fresh auction is it? We will surely bring this matter up with others owners and the GC during the workshop. As of now, we would like to believe that the old decision stands and all players will be available at the auction,” he said.
But an official of one of the IPL-winning teams begged to differ and brought up the fact that the league is as much about cricket as it is about fan loyalty. Bringing up the examples of the big names, the official said that it would be slightly harsh if the franchises were suddenly asked to create fresh icons for their respective fans.
“An integral part of the IPL is creating fan base and loyalty among fans in the different cities. To now suddenly think that after all these years, you would suddenly have a Gautam Gambhir turning up for a different franchise and not Kolkata Knight Riders, or a Virat Kohli not leading Royal Challengers Bangalore out onto the park is a bit awkward for the fans. To be fair, Gambhir means KKR just like Kohli means RCB or say Rohit Sharma means Mumbai Indians. While the number of retentions can surely be worked out, a couple would actually help keep the fan base intact,” the official told CricketNext.
The GC in its meeting on Tuesday proposed allowing franchises to retain at least 3 players going into the 11th edition of the league. “We are going to propose minimum 3 retentions – 1 Indian and 2 foreigners. The players, who played for Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions in the last two years can be retained by Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. We will place it in front of owners during workshop next month," an IPL GC member said after the meeting.
It will be interesting to see who has the last laugh as the more successful teams over the last 10 editions of the league would surely want to keep the nucleus of their sides as intact as possible, while the lower ranked teams would undoubtedly want a complete overhaul as they start afresh in the 11th edition.