Indian Premier League bids goodbye to ‘icon’ players

The ‘icon status’ of India’s most cherished cricketers will soon come to an end. From 2010 onwards, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, who enjoyed this special status in the inaugural two seasons, will be like any other player in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“In the original plan itself, ‘icon status’ was only for two years. That time IPL was a new concept and we wanted to build a strong base for teams. But it is not mandatory to keep these players after the next season,” IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said here on Tuesday.

“They can be traded or other teams can bid for them in the fresh auctions after the 2010 season. They will not be icon players anymore,” he added.

Abolishing the ‘icons’ tag would mean that these players no more stand to earn 15% more than the highest-earning player from his franchise. The fees will be at the discretion of the franchise. This was among the many decisions taken during the IPL governing council meeting held in Mumbai on Tuesday.

It also decided to add four new venues to the IPL tournament, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Dharamsala and Vishakapatnam, which will act as home venues for Mumbai Indians, Team Jaipur, Kings XI and Team Hyderabad respectively. The franchisees can decide the number of matches at these venues. IPL season III will be played from March 12-April 25, for which the schedule has already been charted out.

The opening match will be between Team Hyderabad and Knight Riders in Hyderabad while the total number of matches has been increased from 59 to 60, to include a third place play-off after the two semifinals. “The schedule has been prepared eight months in advance to help franchisees and sponsors get ready in time for the event,” Modi said.

The IPL has also brought a change in strategy (time-out) breaks that were introduced in 2009. Instead of a seven-and-half minute break per innings (which equals to 15 minutes per game), there will now be two two-and-half minute breaks per innings (equaling to 10 minutes per game).

The first break will be called by the bowling captain between the sixth and the tenth over while second by the batsman at the crease between the 11th and 15th over.

The IPL has also decided to tweak the NOC rule a bit to deal with players not signing their board contracts in time and missing out on FTP commitments.

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