Some IPL franchises are unwelcoming of the idea of retaining three players in the team in the next IPL and feel that it destroys the whole purpose of calling it the ‘mega auction’. But an official differed with the views and said that the league is as much about cricket as it is about fan loyalty.
In the IPL governing council meeting in Delhi, the proposal of retaining up to three players each before the player auction in the 2018 pre-season came up and the governing council will meet again next week to deliberate on the issue before making a final decision on November 14 at a workshop with all eight franchises. Amidst the uncertainty, a BCCI official has suggested that the three players could be a combination of two Indians and one overseas player, or two overseas players and one Indian.
The proposal has not gone down well with some of the franchises. While some feel it a step considering the fan royalty towards the teams, others feel that it defeats 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, “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 the 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."
But an official of one of the IPL-winning teams differed with the views and stated 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 a fan base and loyalty among fans in the different cities. To now suddenly think that after all these years, you would 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.