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07 Jun 2020, Edition - 1790, Sunday

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‘IPL Auction cruel and undignified, players paraded like cattle’


The New Zealand Cricket Players Association has slammed the Indian Premier League Auction that was held in Bengaluru over the weekend and called for an end to the process altogether.

The IPL Auction 2018 held on January 27th and 28th saw 169 players being sold to the eight franchises for over Rs 431 crore.

NZCPA chief Heath Mills called the auctions cruel, undignified and said that it was an unprofessional way to play with athletes’ livelihoods.

“I think the whole system is archaic and deeply humiliating for the players, who are paraded like cattle for all the world to see,” Mills told the New Zealand Herald.

Mills was endorsing a tweet from former Wellington Cricket chief executive Peter Clinton, who wrote: “The IPL Auction is such an undignified, cruel and unnecessary employment practice. Ridiculous that it exists today, belongs in the medieval ages.”

56 overseas players were bought in the auction including seven players from New Zealand out of the 24 names that made it to the final auction list – Brendon McCullum (CSK), Kane Williamson (SRH), Trent Boult (DD), Colin de Grandhomme (RCB), Colin Munro (DD), Tim Southee (RCB) and Mitchell Santner (CSK).

“There’s lot of good things about the Indian Premier League and it’s been great for cricket but I’d like to see it mirror the rest of professional sport in the way they engage athletes. The auction system is wrong – it’s not professional, far from it.”

“Apart from the public disappointment of players being are passed in, those who are picked up are treated badly by modern standards,” Mills said.

The cash-rich tournament has always been controversy’s favourite right from the first edition itself in 2008. Former greats of the game have always criticised the tournament due to the money involved in it, which many feel have corrupted the players and the system as a whole.

But fact of the matter is that the right from the inaugural season, the IPL has been responsible in making the careers of many of the top international cricketers today who are plying their trades for countries like New Zealand, Australia, West Indies, Sri Lanka, England and even Afghanistan.

But Mills is not convinced and said that many players are frustrated as they still don’t understand the IPL system and how it works.

“No-one in the cricket world that I’ve spoken to can understand how players are picked, how their price is determined … you could spend years trying to work out how the Indian Premier League auction works and not fully understand it.

“It’s almost got to the point where there’s more interest in the auction than the games and I think they’ll keep doing it even though the general player view it is that there’s better ways to do it,” Mills opined.

Some of New Zealand’s top limited-overs stars like Martin Guptill and Ish Sodhi went unsold in the auction this year.

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