Since the inception of Indian Premier League, the financial earnings of the cricketers involved have undergone a massive change.
Earlier, barring the players who were contracted with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the rest used to earn a paltry amount of money every season. However, things changed dramatically with the introduction of the IPL in 2008.
Based on the form and the consistency of players, their values started to increase year by year. Apart from money, a decent showing in the IPL attracted tremendous attention, and ensured that selection to the Indian team was right around the corner.
Gone are the days when the players had to put in hard efforts season after season in the domestic circuit. The number of IPL players coming through to the national team at the end of every season is a testament to that.
Recently, Sunrisers Hyderabad released their long-serving and highest run-getter, Shikhar Dhawan, ahead of the 2019 IPL auction. Here is the official statement released by SRH on Dhawan’s release –
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of our long standing players, Shikhar Dhawan will be moving to another franchise in 2019. The Sunrisers were delighted to pick Shikhar up in the auction after using one of its RTM (right to match) cards earlier in the year. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that the player has been unsettled ever since with the amount he was bought for in the auction, which we cannot rectify due to IPL rules.”
For the first time in the history of IPL, a franchise has openly released such a statement about releasing a player. Despite possessing an ‘A+’ contact with BCCI, Dhawan’s reason for parting ways with SRH is bizarre.
Earlier this year, Adil Rashid of England had turned down a red-ball contract with his county side Yorkshire to focus on his white-ball skills. Soon after that, Alex Hales opted to sign a white-ball only contract with his county Nottinghamshire. In New Zealand, Mithcell McClenaghan rejected a national team cricket contract so that he could play just in T20 leagues. And West Indies cricketers need no introduction in this regard.
Moreover, even Virat Kohli was retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for a massive sum of INR 17 crore - which is INR 2 crore more than the amount set by BCCI for player retention ahead of the 2018 mega-auction.
Just like the above instances, there is a chance that Dhawan’s move to DD can start a new trend in the upcoming years. If an international player has moved to a new franchise for financial reasons, then the day is not far away when the domestic Indian (both young upcoming and seasoned players) cricketers follow the same path.
Although money is a huge factor in any sport or occupation, it should not become the primary and ultimate factor. It is time for the BCCI to monitor such cases closely and find a way to dilute the money factor. Otherwise, the Indian cricket team could well become like the current West Indies cricket team in the upcoming years.