Pink slips for Indian Premier League (IPL) cricketers too

The year 2007-08 saw sackings like never before in the world of cricket. From coaches to CEOs and officials of all kinds, almost everybody was shown the door for reasons not pertaining to performance alone. The year 2008-09 promises to be a little different.

The year 2008-09 promises to be a little different. This year, it won’t just be coaches and officials getting the pink slips; even cricketers will get them.

At least three franchisees of the Indian Premier League (IPL) have already taken the necessary steps to downsize their teams.

The marching orders are likely to be served at the junior level. While Mumbai Indians plan to bring down their 27-member contingent to 18, teams like Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils are planning similar moves.

So what has triggered the move? Recession? Not really if the franchisees are to be believed. Simply put they have grown wiser in the second year.

“Last year, we were very new to the concept and it all happened so fast. But this year onwards, expect most of the teams to work on a target-based principle. They know exactly what they’re going to be eyeing for or in terms of cricket, what their team composition is going to be during the two-month period,” says a franchise official.

Chargers have given Adam Gilchrist and Darren Lehmann, captain and coach respectively, the entire responsibility of manning team requirements. Of course, as one Chargers official suggests, this has come with a rider to get rid of all extra costs.

“In general, most franchisees now have a better idea of a core group functioning. Similarly, the captain, coach and senior players have a good understanding of the kind of team required. We’re going to stick to that,” he says.

Other than the under-19 players (two per franchise), bought on a three-year contract during the 2008 auctions after India won the World Cup in Malaysia, most of the fringe players, picked from the domestic circuit, will in all likelihood be dumped.

Mumbai Indians are tight-lipped for now, waiting for Sachin Tendulkar to give his nod, before the axe is wielded. “It’s going to be a common affair with the economic scenario so depressing. It won’t be the case with Mumbai alone,” says an official involved closely with the Mumbai cricket.

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