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BCCI will address pay disparity caused by IPL mini auctions: Dhumal

IPL chairman said BCCI would talk to the franchises and see how to tame runaway bids such as KKR’s ₹24.75 crore for Starc in the mini auction

Mitchell Starc being purchased for an eye-popping ₹24.75 crore in the last IPL auction is unlikely to be bettered any time soon, once the Indian cricket board alters its rules for future mini auctions.

IPL chairman Arun Dhumal spoke on the pay disparity.(Getty Images)

“We have taken note of the pay disparity it creates. We will definitely conduct a review and come out with a new policy to address the issue,” IPL chairman Arun Dhumal said in an interview ahead of the 17th edition of the league starting on Friday. “A few ideas have come in. We will discuss with the franchises as well before deciding further.”

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After Starc and Pat Cummins ( ₹20.5 crore) hit a jackpot in the last auction, there is greater acknowledgement within IPL about overseas players, particularly fast bowlers, picking mini auctions over mega auctions to boost their price, exploiting the demand-supply imbalance.

What’s clear is that IPL is not thinking of replacing the auctions altogether with player drafts. It’s more likely that a ceiling on the individual price tag may be set.

Next year will see a churn in teams following the mega auction. Despite some voices expressing reservation, BCCI has no plans to put a full stop to the drama and theatre that mega auctions create.

“When new franchises come in, how would they form their team?” Dhumal asked. “In an engaging competition like IPL, people must keep their thinking cap on. We offer the option of retaining 3 to 4 players to the teams.”

As things stand, the cap of a maximum four retentions per team stays. “If you go beyond four, it will not feel like a mega auction. There would be sameness in the squads.”


The resounding success that IPL is, future growth is contingent on broadcast money. BCCI is keeping a close watch on the changing media landscape in the country. Viacom 18 and Disney Star had shelled out nearly ₹24,000 crore each to win IPL’s digital and TV rights (2023-27) respectively, but they will soon merge to become a joint venture.

“With the consolidation in the media space, we will see how we can have more players,” the IPL chief said. “The next rights cycle is still some years away. We are talking about a tournament which is the second biggest sporting league in the world. Technology has changed so rapidly in such a short span of time. If the movement is in digital space, so be it. It may be Netflix, Apple, YouTube or Meta. I am sure we will have many more players.”


Of late, IPL has moved to innovate in playing conditions. Last year, it was the Impact Player rule, this year it would be two bouncers an over. “It’s very important to keep trying something new with fan engagement in mind. It’s the only format where you can do this, and it being BCCI’s domestic league. The feedback we got was to empower the bowlers, that’s why the two bouncers,” he said.

Are there efforts to push for these rules to be adopted in international cricket through ICC to avoid disparity in playing conditions between IPL and international cricket. “Rather than pushing, the idea has to have its own pull,” Dhumal said. “The global cricket fraternity watches IPL very closely. Everybody will keep an eye on how it impacts the game. The ICC cricket committee will decide.”


Even as IPL offers pay security to players, the debate about it leading to players’ neglect of domestic cricket has revived. BCCI has recently acted tough by refusing central contracts to Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer.

“It’s been played up a lot in the media space. But I think the players understand the value and pride that comes with playing for the country.

They would be keen to win their contracts back and play for the country. You become a hero when you win World Cups for your country. A cricketer playing 100 Tests is considered a much bigger player than the millions you would make in an auction.”

While these players may be out of favour with the national selectors, it won’t influence their IPL selection. “When it comes to IPL, the franchises will take the call. The teams are here to win the trophy. But even franchises would want their players to play for India and become bigger players.”


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