After allegations of spot-fixing threatened to tarnish the reputation of the cash-rich Indian Premier League, commissioner Rajiv Shukla made a bold attempt to assuage fears by suggesting that, henceforth, all uncapped domestic Indian players would be included in future IPL players' auctions.
However, if sources within the BCCI are to be believed, it seems unlikely. Logistics -- read having such a huge number of players in the auction -- could prove a major hurdle.
Shukla's comments were in the wake of five Indian players being caught in a sting operation by a television channel, where they openly admitted that they were paid under the table much more than their prescribed auction amount. The channel also got one of the five players to bowl a pre-decided no-ball in a club match and went on to claim that spot-fixing is not only prevalent in the IPL, but some first class matches are also fixed.
The BCCI promptly reacted by banning the five players, and Shukla came up with the suggestion of having every domestic player in the auction to avoid such problems in future. He felt domestic players would not fall prey to such evils once they were financially secure through the IPL..
The Board is yet to decide on the IPL chairman's recommendation as it believes that it will be impossible to have such a huge chunk of players in one auction.
"It will really be tough to accommodate all domestic players in the IPL auction, because it will also be a time consuming affair with so many players on offer.
"The board is planning to make a list for the auction by including only uncapped players who have performed well in domestic cricket and those players who have done well in the five editions of the IPL so far. All these players will be eligible for the auction," a top BCCI official told rediff.com.
Every year more than 400 players feature in 27 domestic teams in various competitions around the country and out of these only 70 have been able to make it to the IPL auctions held thus far.
The BCCI will now look to get as many uncapped players as possible in the players' auction by considering performances in often neglected tournaments like the Challenger Trophy. Sources said players who have performed consistently in the domestic circuit will also qualify, but not everyone will get a look in.
"We will try to include players who are part of the teams in premier domestic tournaments like the Challenger Trophy and other tournaments, but, certainly, all the uncapped players will not make the cut for the auction," the official added.
The normal procedure of recruiting players by the IPL franchises is through their coaching/management staff, which identifies the best domestic players from around the country and then try to get their signatures. But, most of the time, they resort to paying the players under the table to sign or retain their services, as the sting operation revealed, which is what the BCCI is keen to avoid.
Thus, adding the uncapped players to the auction list will no doubt make it more interesting and transparent, and the players will be smiling all the way to their banks. But the question is, how many?