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K.R. NAYAR COLUMN: IPL’s price tag creates race to be the best

Today a cricketer’s reputation is at stake if goes unsold in the league

Gulf News

There was a time when it did not matter whether a cricketer got picked for the Indian Premier League (IPL) or not. Today IPL’s reputation is such that if a reputed player goes unsold, then his credibility could be at stake. It turns out to be a reflection of either the player’s sinking form or his fitness.

To win the huge purse from the richest cricket league in the world, a player must perform consistently now. Before the advent of IPL, it hardly mattered whether a cricketer slipped into poor form since the maximum that could happen to him was that he may not get selected to play for his country. But today, due to IPL, if a player does not quickly regain his lost form, he could stand to lose close to million dollars.

The most feared Twenty20 batsman Chris Gayle having to wait till the second half of the second day to get picked is an example of how poor form can result in being ignored. This only goes to prove that IPL is not just an ordinary T20 league, but a tournament that also pushes players to give their best in international cricket.

Gayle, once hailed as the finest T20 batsman, seemed to have taken his place for granted.

His string of failures got his franchise owners to quickly realise that he had lost his timing to hit the ball and was also a suspect against good fast bowlers.

Owners have also realised that pacers Lasith Malinga and South African pacer Dale Steyn aren’t as fit as they used to be in the past and hence would not add value to their price tag.

Other cricket leagues in the world should be thankful to the IPL since players will now try to give their best in their leagues to be in demand for the IPL. With IPL having picked talented players from countries like Afghanistan, Nepal and the UAE, every youngster around the world first aims to be an IPL player now.

When IPL began, there was huge criticism that it would destroy India’s first class and domestic tournaments. On the contrary IPL has indirectly lifted the standards of these tournaments. Now a youngster is aware that if he can give his best in domestic tournaments, he will get noticed by IPL’s talent hunters. And that is why there is an increasing number of uncapped players in the IPL teams.

The IPL has even created a competition among cricketers to be the best in their roles, even if he is not part of Team India. Sanju Samson, by fetching the biggest money among wicket keepers, will surely get a boost to his confidence. IPL’s price tag for a player has thus become the reward for his determination, dedication and hard work to lift up his skills.

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