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by Sunil Gavaskar

Nobody even in their wildest dreams would have expected what happened in the Pune test match. The pitch was surprisingly bereft of grass and was so dry that before a ball was bowled it appeared as if it had been played on for a few days. No wonder nobody was able to settle down and get the big runs that were seen in the earlier test matches played in India.  India know that they will have to lift their game several notches in the remaining three test matches. Hopefully the pitches there will be more like what was seen in the series against England where both teams scored over 400 runs in the first innings in all the tests and then India’s spinners in the second innings created problems for the English batsmen.


Just before the Australian series the auction of the players for the IPL took place and as always there were surprises at the amounts shelled out for some players. The IPL can turn the lives of those who get picked by franchises at astronomical fees and  there are always some heart warming stories of strugglers making it big on auction day. The dynamics of the auction day are totally unpredictable so while known players get snubbed and don’t get bids there are some totally unknown names who get picked for sums that are simply mind blowing.


Of course it’s good luck to those who get picked for huge sums but surely some thought needs to be given to those who ply their trade in the domestic first class season and end up getting a fraction of what these unknowns get for the IPL. It is no surprise that these Ranji players feel like third class citizens even though they play a lot more days of domestic cricket than the IPL guys. One is not sure what the Ranji trophy players get but am reliably told that the fees haven’t changed for the last ten years or more.  The players who play in all the league games and the knockout matches will end up getting around 20 lakhs for playing Ranji trophy. If the player is good enough to be picked for the Irani trophy and the Duleep trophy and the other limited overs domestic tournaments then he will get maybe another 10 lakhs more. So for playing in about 60 days or so of domestic cricket a player will get about 30 lakhs or so. Then when he sees a player who does not even play Ranji trophy get crores  for a maximum of 17 days cricket in the IPL then he is bound to wonder why is it that he is even bothering to play domestic first class cricket. This needs to be looked at seriously by the administrators before the next cycle of ten years of the IPL starts next year. There should be a limit for an uncapped player of around 50 lakhs. A capped player can go for any amount but there has to be a limit for an uncapped player so that the Ranji trophy player does not feel like the poor cousins of Indian cricket and there is no point in playing domestic cricket.


Meanwhile New Zealand’s Ross Taylor stopped South Africa’s winning streak in limited overs cricket by cracking a fine century. That made him New Zealand’s highest century scorer in limited overs cricket and it also makes him the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.