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Satire Saturday | IPL-bound Indian players pondering taking loans following BCCI’s over rate rule-change

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BCCI's rule change has divided opinions

SportsCafe

Satire Saturday | IPL-bound Indian players pondering taking loans following BCCI’s over rate rule-change

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Anirudh Suresh

04/03/2021

SportsCafe understands that local players set to partake in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) are in talks with several banks, regarding taking potential loans, following the BCCI’s revision of over-rate punishments. Players could now be fined up to a staggering INR 12 lakhs.

Banks across India could see a surge in the number of citizens taking expensive loans as Indian players set to feature in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) are mulling the extreme option of taking loans in order to pay fines imposed by the BCCI for over-rate offences. Following a plethora of games rather unacceptably stretching beyond midnight in the 2020 edition, the BCCI, earlier this week, in consultation with broadcaster Star Sports, came up with newly-revised, stringent over-rate protocols to be followed by teams. The board made it mandatory for bowling teams to deliver their 20 overs within the stipulated 90 minutes (including strategic time-outs) for the 2021 edition and announced extremely harsh punishments for teams and players failing to meet the target. 

The penalties for over-rate offences in IPL 2021, the BCCI announced, will be as follows:

First offence: - INR 12 lakh fine for the captain 

Second offence - INR 24 lakh fine for the captain;  INR 6 lakh or 25% match fee fine (whichever is lesser) for each member of the team excluding the captain

Third and each subsequent offence - INR 30 lakh fine and one-match ban for the captain;  INR 12 lakh or 50% match fee fine (whichever is lesser) for each member of the team excluding the captain

Note: If the skipper leaves captaincy to avoid the third offence and the subsequent one-match ban, he will continue to receive aforementioned sanctions unless BCCI has in writing about the confirmed change in captaincy.

Now, in the wake of these extreme measures taken by the Indian board and organizers of the IPL, SportsCafe understands that a good chunk of Indian cricketers are considering the idea of taking loans from banks to pay the fine imposed by the board. A manager of a prominent bank revealed earlier that, before going into quarantine, a total of 16 Indian players from three different franchises spent half a day at the major branch of his bank in Mumbai in order to not just enquire about the loan options available at their disposal,  but to have all documents and paperwork ready in order to be able to exercise the option as soon as the need arrives.

“Yes, we are in talks with at least a dozen players with regards to providing loans for them either during or after the IPL,” the bank manager said.

But why would Indian domestic cricketers, of all people - the most royally looked-after breed in world cricket, according to the board’s own admission - be in the look-out for loans? SportsCafe caught up with one of the many cricketers eyeing the loan option and he, an IPL regular now for four seasons, claimed that, apart from the pandemic-shortened domestic season halfing their annual earning, the BCCI’s failure to pay the players the Gross Revenue Share (GRS) has put several cricketers in an extreme spot of bother. This, according to him, would mean that, for those without a handsome IPL contract, the only feasible way of paying fines for over-rate offences would be taking loans from banks.

“We are no Kyle Jamieson or Glenn Maxwell. We earn the bare minimum from the competition. How is it fair to ask us and expect us to pay up to 12 lakh for an over-rate offence?,” the player questioned.

“It would at least have been possible had the board paid us the GRS they owe us, but four years on, here we are. The only option, hence, is to take a loan and pay the penalty. Otherwise we would be finding ourselves in a situation where we won’t be getting paid for playing in the IPL; rather, it would be us who would be paying the board to partake in the tournament. Silly, isn’t it?.”

The player further questioned the absurdity of punishing innocent players for over-rate offences. According to him, a timer must be maintained for each over and only those bowlers who fail to meet the target, along with the captain, must be fined. 

“I’m a batsman who fields generally at deep mid-wicket. How and why am I supposed to pay 50% of my match fee as penalty for an offence committed by the bowlers and the captain, bhai? Forget me, what about those bowlers who send in their overs quickly? Why punish them, even? Set a time-limit for each over, maintain a timer and punish only those bowlers who fail to meet the target. 

“And the captain, of course. How many times have we seen captains waste 15-20 mins every innings to indulge in unproductive, nonsensical chatter with members from the leadership group only to make no field changes? We get it. Matches going to midnight are not healthy and over-rates need to be regulated. But don’t steal money from the innocent in order to send a message. Worst case, at least only fine those players who have a contract worth more than a crore. Leave us, the innocent ones, alone.”

Why BCCI have taken this drastic measure is understandable. Star do take a hit in viewership post the 11-11.30 PM slot and a 20-over game stretching for four hours defeats the purpose of the format. Recently, three of the five T20Is between India and England saw teams be fined for slow over-rate and one of those games stretched close to 4 hours and 15 minutes. 

The captains on that occasion were Eoin Morgan and Virat Kohli, and for the same reason, several KKR players are dreading the RCB fixture and vice-versa. A KKR player told us that he is hoping for both the RCB fixtures to get washed out, so that he could exit the IPL 2021 season with his wallet still unscathed. 

“Gosh, if Genie gave me a wish, I would use it on getting both the KKR vs RCB fixtures abandoned. Both Kohli and Morgan, as we witnessed in the recently-concluded T20I series, are unbearably slow, so, under these new rules, playing in a match captained by those two blokes is akin to a deathwish. You might as well allocate 6 or 8 or 10 lakhs or whatever beforehand, for there’s no way these two will achieve the stipulated target,” the KKR player said.

But, interestingly, not all players and franchises are against this new ruling. We caught up with officials from both CSK and SRH and both the parties are delighted with the change. The reason? Never in a thousand years would you guess it.

“This is absolutely brilliant. Firstly, we are playing a majority of our matches in Chennai and Delhi where we will be utilizing spinners, so there is no chance that we will fall behind. Secondly,  this new ruling is a boon for our youngsters. The likes of Abdul Samad, Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma were struggling to stay awake during late-games as most of those matches stretched beyond their bed-time, but now, this season, we should be able to get the best out of those chaps,” an SRH official said.

CSK’s story, meanwhile, is same, but different.

“Last season we faced the same problem as SRH, albeit with a different age group. A vast majority of our players are family men used to going to bed by 10.30 PM, so they found it incredibly taxing to just stay awake for the late-night games, let alone perform efficiently. There was a match against SRH early in the season where Ambati and Kedar, in fact, dozed off in the dug-out. We believe that we will have a better chance of making it to the playoffs should games finish before 10.30 PM,” the CSK official said. 

One person who is well aware that a vast majority of fans go to bed early is Adam Zampa, but while the Australian is against the new rule-change, he has a radical idea to solve the problem. A Coffee connoisseur, Zampa believes that the BCCI should allow him to launch his own Coffee brand and supply it to homes across the country in order to help fans stay awake by pumping them up with an adequate dose of caffeine.  

“I would love it. As things stand, I definitely see myself getting involved in Coffee-business post retirement, but it would be truly amazing to experiment with the same whilst I’m still playing. I’m sure even if I don’t have the funds, Stoini will be able to help me out,” Zampa said.

Stoinis is a smart human being, so we can rest assured that he would take the right call, but smarter than him is his skipper Shreyas Iyer. Fined INR 12 lakh last season for maintaining a slow over-rate versus SRH, the DC skipper revealed that he chose not to return for the second half of IPL 2021 in order to conserve money.

“Of course. My shoulder is bad but I could have pushed myself to return for the second half. But after seeing the revised rule for over-rates, I told myself that I would be foolish to voluntarily burn cash. I mean, come on. Are you seriously telling me that delaying one match by 5 mins is bound to be more expensive than undergoing shoulder surgery?,” Iyer asked. 

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