Sunday, February 8, 2009

Modi has been Played

What can you do with $3.1 million?

One can buy a beautiful 5 bedroom villa on the Palm Island in Dubai.

I can spend a lifetime without working with that amount in my bank account.

KP and Freddie, on the other hand, can sit and laugh about how they played Modi and the IPL.

Played not meaning playing cricket, but playing. You know what I mean.

The English players didn't appear in IPL's 1st edition for a number of reasons. The ECB did not want their county season disrupted. It would have clashed with some of England's international games. And so on.

Reportedly there were a number of dicussions between the board and the players on finding a way to appear in the IPL.

BCCI were also keen on getting the English on board and after many months of persuading and convincing, the English were there for the taking.

There is no denying the talent of KP and Freddie, but are they really worth the $1.55 million dished out for each of them by their respective franchises?

I didn't think so either.

England as a team has done nothing of note in either versions of the shortened game. Within a weak team, KP and Freddie stand out as lone shining stars.

A glance at their T20 stats reveal more than decent good records.

A batting average nearing 30 and a strike rate of almost 150, and a bowling average of only 17 and an economy rate of below 6.5 highlight a very good T20 record in my opinion.

But then KP and Freddie are not the only ones with records like that.

Then why was so much money shelled out for them?

To put it into perspective their collective pay check is more than the combined pay check of Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Glen McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne!

That is half the the team that dominated all sorts of cricket for over a decade.

Sure T20 is different and the IPL even more different where the brand value and marketing abilities of cricketers also play a part in determining their price, but shouldn't talent be the first and foremost driving factor?

Rajasthan Royals have already shown that it should be.

Bangalore was in a dire need to not only change the image of its team but also to add a dynamic batsman among the ranks of test players.

In other words, they were desperate for someone like KP.

Chennai though were not really as desperate for a Freddie. They are last year's runners up, something they managed without many big names. But Dhoni really wanted Freddie for reasons best known to him.

Maybe it was also to not allow Freddie to get into the hands of Warne or anyone else.

Think about this for a while - had the English been available for the IPL last year, would then KP and Freddie secured bids for $1.55 million each?

We all know the answer.

So, albeit unknowingly, the ECB and hence the English players have truly played the man who has been playing the entire cricket world - Lalit Modi.

We all know the advantages of playing hard to get.

Here's living proof for you.

Make your pitch on this post...

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

26 Pitched:

  1. achettup said...

    Why Modi? He loses absolutely nothing here, in fact I'd argue the higher the bids go the more beneficial it works out for him since it proves the business model is sound and it eventually will make the IPL the established T20 league.
    Regarding playing hard to get, I think its a gamble, but Mitchell Johnson has probably realized this as well.
    One thing you have to remember with regards to the IPL is its not just the cricketing ability and marketability of the players... you're talking about the biggest egos in the country that don't directly work for the government. They like to flout their recently acquired assets... Mallya's comments about being willing to go all the way to buy Pietersen symbolize this brash side of the business... he's saying that $1.55 million was comparatively nothing and that he might even have gotten a bargain!

  2. Q said...

    But Achettup, a league that pays 2 Englishmen more than any other cricketer including cricketers from India, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka, even the Windies - is that league really the best league around?

    Again not to discount KP and Flintoff's abilities, but do they deserve more than the likes of Gayle? Warne? Hussey? I can name more..

    I agree that it doesn't hurt Modi at all.. and he actually benefits the way u point out... but the point is, would KP and Flintoff gotten this much if they were there last year?

    Brashness is apt when it comes to Mallya but then he also makes sense when he talks abt the bargain cos remember, KP started at 1.35.. the fact that he closed at 1.55 means that not many people were bidding as aggressively... so compared to Flintoff (950K to 1.55 mil), JP (300K to 950K) and Mutaza (50K-600K), KP was a bargain..

  3. achettup said...

    Valid points Q. I suspect there is a lot going on behind closed doors. The biggest threat the IPL had was the ECB's cold early response. After the Mumbai attacks, we all saw exactly how worried Modi got about the tournaments future. The ECB in the meantime was beginning to get a lot of heat from Pietersen and a few others after their Stanford disaster.
    Nobody is quite sure what deal was worked out, but when Collingwood and Bopara get the nod ahead of some of the others who are far more suited to the game you wonder if the franchises had some extra incentives to purchase english cricketers, and that to at inflated prices.
    Conspiracy theories aside however, the growth of the IPL will always be a decisive factor in the offers players get. These are three year contracts (for some very smart business reasons) and in the future we might see annual contracts. So comparing the prices KP and Flintoff get today, maybe in its fourth year some of the other players you have mentioned will get annual contracts that eclipse the total amount KP and Flintoff received last week, which incidently means that in their third year Flintoff and KP would lose so much more etc etc. So I don't know that comparing the offers players gets across auction years makes too much sense, since the previous offers will only look better when the league starts to falter.
    Another way of looking at the KP bid is, not many people thought KP was worth the bid, but Mallya absolutely needed someone like him... so maybe the other franchises know something Mallya doesn't... and maybe England found that out yesterday ;) ?

  4. Wasim said...


    The answer is "chitty Chamri".
    KP and Freddie are talented and will be useful to their respective franchises but the reason behind huge disparity in the sale price of these players and some of their Asian counterparts in my opinion is just Chitty chamri.

  5. Leela said...

    I hate to think its has anything to do with skin color/chitty chamri..pls such insinuations must be kept out.. else why would someone like Shah, Bopara, and Duminy make the money they did?

    IPL is about perception and marketebility. Last year the Australians were hot.. they got picked.

    This year, thanks to the response the KP and Flintoff generated in India, they were picked. While Braddin, Clarke etc missed the boat.

    Mortaza for business sense and more.
    If Imran Khan was around, he probabbly would've trumped all.
    Heck if some of the ICL Lahore players would've been around, THEY would've trumped people like Yunis (who is a very good ODI and test player, but doesn't inspire hype in T20)

  6. Moses @ Beer and Sport said...

    How much does Warne make in the IPL? Is his coaching salary recorded separately to his playing salary?

  7. Wasim said...


    In a game of cricket the mst marketeable asset from a spectators point of view is the skill and the talent of a player, do you think that Umar Gul and Tanvir had less skill and talent than some of their highly paid western counterparts?
    Same goes for many Srilankan cricketers, at the end of the day people don't come to see their face they enjoy the game.

  8. Moses @ Beer and Sport said...

    @Wasim, I disagree - a star player can add value to a team in addition to what they do on the field.

    I guess the question is would spectators want to see how Flintoff/KP do in this IPL thingy, and would the extra press thhat having them generates equate into dollars for the team owner..

    Look at someone like David Beckham who makes hundreds of millions for LA Galaxy, while there are probably plenty of Brazilians who'd do just as good a job it's the star power that sells jerseys and gets people to go to the games.

  9. raj said...

    All the same, I cant think that KP and Flintoff are bigger stars in India than Dhoni or Gilchrist or Warne. There is no off-field justification for their salaries either. The man who has been played is mallya. Last year, Dravid's ridiculous selections played him. To be fair, the SA contingent of Challengers were lacking in commitment not talent or ability - and Dravid could not have predicted that. This year, Mallya has ridiculously gone to the opposite extreme. If he thinks this will change his fortunes, he is a fool. Let him make KP captain. Let's see how that benefits them. I just hope both Chargers and Challengers fare worse than last time, if it is possible. No way 1.55m can be justified for KP, much less for Flintoff.

  10. Q said...

    Wasim, I think its unfair and in bad taste to claim that KP and Flintoff got such a pay cos of their skin color. Thats not true. Dhoni was the highest paid last year and he isn't gora.. Ponting and Hayden and Hussey, all 3 got paid less than Afridi.. so wat u say is baseless in my opinion..

  11. Q said...

    Leela, i completely agree with you. Its KPs and Flintoffs marketability more than anything that got them this price, however if they were auctioned among all the stars last year they probably wouldnt have commanded such a price..

    Wasim - KP or Freddie in an ad or in a marketing campaign will probably generate more customers / revenues than a Gul or a Tanvir.. thats cos of the star value, not the talent...

  12. Q said...

    Moses - Warne was bought for $450,000... im not sure if he gets paid an additional amount for being the coach but i dont think that wud be the case cos when Warne was asked to captain, his condition was that the team wud have no coach.. so i dont think he gets paid extra.. but again not sure..

  13. Q said...

    Wasim - in the IPL its not only the spectators u r catering to.. the franchises are catering to sponsors and tv channels and what not..

  14. Q said...

    Agree with u Raj... Mallya has been played big time..

    And no, i dont think KP and Flintoff are bigger stars than Warne or Gilly or Dhoni or even any of the indian players.. but at the same time i dont think it is the color of the skin that Wasim suggests that led to their price..

    It was all about being at the right place at the right time.. as i said if KP and Freddie were in it last year, they wud have got much less..

  15. Leela said...

    @Wasim: Yes skill makes you marketable but you have to have the "X-factor" as well. That is why Jaysasurya got 800K even when cricketing "experts" said he was old. Oh btw, he is brown-skinned.

    Pakistan cricketers don't inspire that confidence. Most seem thanda. No one is denying Tanvir's skill. In fact if he was allowed to play this year, I am sure he could've negotiated an increase.

    To prove its about perception, let me give the example of Warne. To most people it seemed ridiculous that the old man was even playing the tournament. For Indians, used to seeing Sachin taking Warne to the cleaners, it seemed a waste of time. Hence he got paide lower than Kaif!!!
    However, I wouldn't be surprised if he runs the RR like his fiefdom this year.

    @Q: Totally agree Q, that if Indians were in the mix this year, KP wouldn't have fetched the price.
    I posted a blog on the same topic BTW.

  16. Wasim said...

    Q and Moses

    There are exceptions I never said none of the Asian players got a good deal, Indian players since they were guaranteed to play the whole season and have the biggest fan following in India therefore fetched a higher price which is understandable, my comment was not in reference to them.

    I think if all the foreign superstars had similar base price then I don't think KP or Freddie would have fetched the price they got, the price mechanism is not totally dependent on market forces, the western super stars in general got a higher base price and in quite a few cases it was unrealistic from any point of view.

    The franchises are under the obligation to spend a certain amount of money they are spending less on Asian players and paying a lot more to the western players because of a generally higher base price.

    I understand that every superstar adds commercial value to the franchise in terms of merchandise sales and gate money but these things are directly related to on field performance in reality.

  17. Wasim said...


    Pakistani player's performance and the opportunities they received is debatable. Thanday tu bohat say high priced goray bhi thay, but that's not what I am discussing here.

    Besides Jayasuriya which other Asian Star got sold in that price range other than the Indian players.

    My point is that the base price should be same for all super stars and the final price should be determined through the auction process.

    I can bet you if KP or Freddie had a $300,000 base price like JP both of them would have fetched a lower price than him.

    Whether these players really carried additional commercial value or not as compared to the Asian star players we can never know as they got unfair advantage in terms of base price.

  18. Moses @ Beer and Sport said...

    @Q, I'd be very very surprised if Warne isn't on millions. Despite his public persona I believe he's got some guile and is doing very well in his post-international career. I reckon he'd also have a well switched on agent, and if he were to receive the bulk of his fee as a coach rather than a player then that would come outside of the salary cap.

    Have the other coaches salaries been disclosed?

    @Wasim, perhaps you should read up on how Auctions work. The base (or reserve) price has nothing to do with the final bid.

    If the base price is too high then the item will not be sold (see Haddin, Brad).

    KP had a base price of 1.55 and sold for that. Freddy had a base price <1m and sold for 1.55. The franchise will pay what the player is worth to them.

  19. Wasim said...


    Base price basically is a minimum guarantee money, the franchise has no control over it they will have to start from that point onwards.

    Now which player in your opinion will be better placed, one who starts with a base price of 300,000 or the one who starts from 1 mil.

    The higher base prices set for western players is making the franchises to spent conservatively on the Asian players.

  20. Moses @ Beer and Sport said...

    the franchise has no control over it they will have to start from that point onwards.

    no-one is forcing them to bid. If a players reserve is more than their value they'll end up with no bids.

    Now which player in your opinion will be better placed, one who starts with a base price of 300,000 or the one who starts from 1 mil.

    JP Duminy had a base price of 300k, Brad Haddin had a base price of 250k. Which player, in your opinion is now better placed?

    I read somewhere (here?) that the players/agents set their own base price. This would make sense - you set your own reserve based on what the inconvenience of playing IPL is worth to you. When you sell a house at Auction you set a reserve price, this is a similar argumen.t

    If for example Michael Clarke had a base of 50k, he'd just laugh as he'd make more than that for resting and endorsing, without having to risk an injury that CA wont pay for. However with a base of 1mil it might be worth his while to become available.

  21. raj said...

    Q, Sure , skin colour has got nothing to do with it. This is an Indian enterprise controlled by Indian admin, ICC is not involved so hardly likely that non-Asians will be given special favours. If the ICC is involved, then I can imagine that certain countries - one in the southern hemisphere and the other an island in Europe - would be favoured specially. Not in IPL. IPL is actually the great leveller that is keeping these 2 countries honest as of now :-)

  22. Wasim said...

    If KP had the same base price as JP he would have ended up getting sld for less than him.

    If Players or their agents are setting their own base prices that means all the Non Indian Asian Players don't care about their worth. That is not the case it is the IPL's mangement which is setting the base prices.

    If you let your realtor to set the reserve price of your house how would you feel if he sets the reserve for a similar house next door for 1 mil and your house for half million.

  23. Wasim said...


    My comment about the color of skin was kind of sarcastic so don't take it literally.

    The reality still remains that some of the western stars are being treated as some exotic commodity which should be valued higher than its real worth, I would have had no objection if all the big star players Asian and non Asian had same reserve price then it would have been fair for everybody as then the competition would have been fair.

    I don't know if you guys are aware of the fact that even the bid increment progress with a higher amount. i.e Bid increments fixed at $5000 for bids up to $100,000, $10,000 for bids between $100,000 and $250,000, and $25,000 for bids between $250,000 and $500,000. Increments over the $500,000 mark will be at the auctioneer's discretion.

  24. Q said...

    Moses - I haven't been able to find figures for salaries for IPL coaches anywhere. I dont think they were disclosed last year or anythime after that either.

    You might be right abt Warne.. he might have used this player/coach for more benefits than being the sole leader of the team...

  25. Q said...

    Wasim - Had KP and JP both started on 300K this year, I still think KP would have topped the million mark and sold for more than JP because there were more people interested in KP. Mallya had said before the auction that he was willing to go all the way for one had said the same thing about JP..

    As for reserve prices, thats not true.. Besides Tanvir who was a late signee, all Pakistan players had reserve prices which were the same as the Aussies, South Africans, and Indians and more than the reserves for New Zealand, Sri Lankans, and Bangladesh players...

    The Indian players, Jayasuriya, Sangakkara, Mohd. Asif, Shoaib Akhtar, Afridi, Shoaib Malik all got paid more than the western players like Ponting,Hayden, Hussey, Graeme Smith, Vettori, Oram, Styris, Marsh, Pomersbach, Hopes..

    Only Brett Lee and Kallis were the western players who got very high prices...

    So ur theory does not stand..

    Same goes for this years auction.. KP and Fredddie got absurd prices cos they were the only "stars" in the auction list.. but players like JP and Murtaza also got decent amounts..

  26. raj said...

    Wasim, the fact that many players across the world are benefitted from IPL is a good thing. Let's not worry about who gets more.
    These things will smoothen out over the years.
    Surely you can agree with me that IPL is more fair to Asians than the ICC? That is a good start. Eventually, let's make ICC a better place where Asians will not be discriminated against. IPL is an important tool towards that objective. Yeah, and Indo-Pak-SL board unity will be nice, too.

Post a Comment