Why IPL is not about new opportunities anymore

New Delhi, Tears in his eyes, Sachin Tendulkar touches the audience’s heart in the latest IPL commercial. It signifies the end of Tendulkar era and talks about creating new talent, and new opportunities. That’s what everyone believes IPL to be; big bucks and bigger platform. And they all seem to be live happily ever after in mystic planet IPL. And within this happy-happy picture frame, some faces and their cry for help are lost and ignored.   

 Spare a thought for this line-up of Unmukt Chand (RR), Baba Aparajith (CSK), Kedar Jadhav, Saurabh Tiwary, (Delhi Daredevils), Gurkeerat Singh, Mandeep Singh , Manan Vohra, (KXIP), Manvinder Bisla, Kuldeep Yadav, Jalaj Saxena, Umesh Yadav, (KKR) and Parveez Rasool (SRH). It’s a mix of Indian, India A and india under-19 set of cricketers, some who are the next-in line openers, middle-order and spin strength, who form a major chunk of our bench strength through the year. But in this IPL, they are paying a price for their franchise being over smart. 
Ironically, they are all deemed unwanted by their franchise, who are happily sitting with plenty of international and Team India stock, barring any emergency. And at a point when they wanted all the opportunities to make their presence felt and stake a claim for Team India, they are not even getting a look-in into their franchise XI. They would have happily traded the cash they were bought for getting opportunities into the XI. And people who follow domestic cricket know, IPL franchisees have little time or space for fresh talent. The new talent of IPL are all part of domestic circuit for some time now.

Sometimes, giving the franchise all the powers may not be a good idea. For the last six years, barring Saurabh Tiwary, these uncapped fringe players could bargain and seek a place with a franchise where they think they would get a slot in the XI. But with the IPL governing council putting everyone in the auction pool, here’s a situation this year in the IPL when opportunities have come on a premium.

Unmukt Chand, who has been heavily tipped to become the next big thing is unlikely to get a game in a team full of openers, and now for a makeshift opener doing well by the name of Abhishek Nayar. Baba Aprajith would never get a game for Chennai but Delhi would have gladly accepted him with both hands. Now take the example of Manan Vohra; the Punjab opening batsman was retained by the franchise. It surprised many but not to people who knew the economics and dynamics of IPL auction money. Manan was retained because he was ready to accept a modest token amount and the rest of money cut from the franchise’s auction pool was their total savings. Mandeep, according to sources, refused to be retained for a low fee. Now both are in the same franchise, with no work, no play. Remember Manvinder Bisla? The man who took KKR to victory with his blistering knock in the final? He got no Ranji team last season, and IPL is his only hut to safeguard his cricketing career. Suddenly, there’s no place for Bisla after he played virtually every game for KKR in the last three years. Or for that matter, think about Kuldeep Yadav, the chinaman who made waves in the under-19 world cup. No games because there’s a senior leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and a mystery master Sunil Narine. 

And last but not the least, Team India players like Umesh Yadav and Saurabh Tiwary. Umesh, till recently, was first-choice bowler across all formats. Now he can’t break through his franchise squad. Tiwary, on the other hand, wanted to become the finisher India always hoped. Till all his hopes ended with the batting line-up that DD created, though it’s another matter that might yet to show in the field. Or Rasool for that matter. He didn’t get a single game when he toured Zimbabwe. He didn’t get a game till now for Sunrisers because they have Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma as two spinners in the team, and Darren Sammy and Irfan Pathan as all-rounders.

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