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Updated: January 22, 2010 12:49 IST

'Franchisees have the right to pick the players they want'

S. Dinakar
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BCCI secretary, N. Srinivasan. Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu BCCI secretary, N. Srinivasan. Photo: R. Ragu

The Board of Control for Cricket in India Secretary N. Srinivasan shared his views on various subjects in an interview to The Hindu here on Thursday.

Mr. Srinivasan, who is also the owner of Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said that the differing needs of the franchisees and availability of the players played a large role in whom the teams bid for during the IPL auction in Mumbai on Tuesday. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: There has been much disappointment and anger in Pakistan after not a single Pakistani cricketer was picked during the player auction in Mumbai ahead of IPL Season-III. What are your views?

A: Firstly, we have to recognise there were only 11 available slots, including the vacancies arising out of injuries, and as many as 66 foreign players to pick from. There were 55 cricketers who must have been disappointed with the auction. The differing needs of the franchisees and availability of the players played a large role in whom the teams bid for.

Q: Pakistan is the winner of the ICC World Twenty20. Many of the Pakistani cricketers have proven records in this format.

A: I do not think one should look at the nationality of the cricketers at all here. The franchisees are paying good money for the team as well as the players. They have the right to pick the players they want. After all, it is their money. If you look at the auction, some very good cricketers such as Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brad Haddin and Graeme Swann did not find any takers. Their ability is not in question here. It is just that the franchisees entered the auction with specific needs.

Q: So everything boils down to the franchisees.

A: How can you say if you do not buy a player from a particular country it is an insult to that nation?

How much a team is prepared to spend on and on whom it is prepared to spend that kind of money, is the sole prerogative of franchisees. The BCCI has no role. And the choice of the individual team owners should not be mixed up with Government policy.

Q: There is a belief that the franchisees feared that the Pakistani players, if picked at the auction, might not get visas to India. The fact that 11 of them made it to the auction indicates some franchisees must have shown interest in them.

A: I have already told you about the factors that guided the bidding process. It is possible that some franchisees could have displayed interest in the Pakistani players and then changed their minds according to their needs.

Q: The ICC appears keen on the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties between India and Pakistan.

A: There have been long periods in the past when there were no bilateral cricketing ties between India and Pakistan. We have to accept this fact.

Q: Moving on to the topic of pitches in the country, do you believe enough is being done to prepare sporting surfaces?

A: The Board has put in a lot of effort on preparing wickets that gives everybody a chance. There have been some successes and some disappointments. I think the wicket for the Ranji Trophy final in Mysore was a marvellous one. It had pace and bounce and the batsmen could play strokes too. While playing to home advantage is an accepted norm in cricket, we should have lively tracks for domestic cricket where budding cricketers can be groomed.

Q: The fiasco that led to the abandonment of the India – Sri Lanka ODI in New Delhi has not been good advertisement for pitch preparation in the country.

A: The BCCI has sent its views to the ICC on the subject. I would not like to comment further at this stage.

Q: Plenty of heat has been generated over the Umpire Decision Review System? What is your personal view on this subject?

A: I am yet to be convinced about the referral system. I have doubts about the accuracy of the predicted path when it comes to height, bounce and extent of movement.

Q: Indian team’s bowling consultant Eric Simons has been appointed on a short-term basis. Is the BCCI taking the feedback from the cricketers into account?

A: Mike Young too was appointed initially for a series as the fielding coach. But the feedback about him was positive and the BCCI has decided to engage his services for a longer period. Simons will be with the team for a series. Then, his inputs will be assessed.

Q: The BCCI has come down heavily bowlers with illegal actions in domestic cricket this season.

A: The menace of chucking should be corrected in the early stages. We have empowered the umpires and we are delighted with the results.

Q: India’s rise as the No. 1 side in Tests has been historic. Will the BCCI ensure Test cricket figures prominently in India’s scheme of things?

A: India’s climb in Tests has been extremely fulfilling. The players have delivered and the selection has been fair and consistent. India intends to play more Tests. You will see this in time to come.

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I am just wondering after all it is a game of cricket and so much of political outrage from Pakistan for their players being ignored. As a common man I am surprised that for something similar to 26/11 attack no active measures from the country which is going on moaning and groaning to everyone. Cricket has been a strong medium of communication between the two countries but things have changed and we may need to see meaningful acts from our neighbours before they can come and bowl in Mumbai.

from:  Chearun
Posted on: Jan 23, 2010 at 23:56 IST


What is missing in all this noise is the fact that IPL is a business franchise which happens to play Cricket. In business the owners best interest is in maximizing revenues at lowest risk. Given that there is a clear risk in that Pakistan players might not be able to deliver, in case there is an incident, what they are getting paid for, what is wrong in mitigating risk by going to a lower quality but more guaranteed resource? This is business 101 and fortunately India being a democratic country makes taking of such a decision a possibility for the Business (IPL). This might novel concept for people of Pakistan."Choice"

from:  Jack Adams
Posted on: Jan 23, 2010 at 00:14 IST

Right you said Mr Srinivasan. Everybody thinks the Pakistan players have been punished for 26/11. But what you said is right that this is up to owner not the government.

from:  Pramoth.K
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 10:53 IST

Mr. Srinivasan's comment shows how even after this public relations fiasco, the IPL owners are unwilling to share the truth. Chennai Superkings for example were sorely in need of a strike bowler. They bet on Bond and Kemar Roach, one who has had an injury hit career, and the other barely a couple of seasons old, and then went on to decline some of the best 20-20 fast bowlers, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanveer, Rana Naveed and Mohammed Ameer. For a franchise that spent 1.55M$ on 3 terrible games from Flintoff, it seems incredible that they would not take a chance on any of the Pakistani players given the pittance they were going for. It is clear that there was collusion, and while many may dislike Pakistan's policies against India, not many will appreciate this tactic where the players were taken for a ride. While it is true that the franchises can do what they want, they are going to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs for sure by treating a talented bunch of cricketers with utmost disrespect. I was a fan before, I am one no more, and I am sure there are plenty of others like me.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 10:32 IST
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