Harbhajan Singh brings up loyalty issue in IPL

IPL Cricket

Top Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh feels that players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) should have a say on which team they would like to represent.

Asked if he would like to play for Sahara Pune Warriors, the new city team in the IPL, Harbhajan said, “I play for the Mumbai Indians. Like Pune, even Mumbai is in Maharashtra. So there is not much difference.”

Many players had three-year contracts with the IPL franchisees, which ended this year. The IPL governing council is about to decide on the new guidelines for the fresh auction slated for October.

While new entrants Sahara Pune Warriors feel that all players should be re-auctioned, some franchisees insist that at least a couple of players should stay with the existing franchisees. On the delicate issue, Harbhajan said: “If no player is allowed to continue with his team, poora team toot jayega (the team will break).”

He explained: “People associate me with Mumbai Indians. And I have some fan following being the Mumbai Indians player. If all players are going to be auctioned again, there wo’nt be any team loyalty. But then, big guys are going to set the rules of the new process.”

Harbhajan strongly advocated that players should have a say about their future. “I believe in the Premier League (EPL soccer), players have a choice to pick or reject offers to play for a certain team.”

However, IPL is a totally different case. Manchester United and Liverpool have a voting right in the way the league is run. The IPL franchisees are neither affiliated members of the BCCI nor they have voting rights in the IPL.

Meanwhile, on Muttiah Muralitharan’s comment that only Harbhajan could reach his landmark of most Test wickets (792 at present) among present bowlers, the offie remarked: “It’s sweet of him to say that. But realistically, I’m nowhere near that. I have learnt so many things from him. We will surely miss him.”

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