'Just because someone got so much money, it does not mean that the franchise considers him more important player than another.'
'Players are never selected on the basis of what they earn.'
Rahul Dravid says he has never judged players on the price they commanded at the Indian Premier League players' auction, as it is not always a true reflection of their abilities and skill sets.
"I never judge players based on their (auction) price. I understand how an auction works. What one actually earns in auction is not a reflection of who you are. A lot of things happen in auction. You can't control prices. Just because someone got so much money, it does not mean that the franchise considers him more important player than another," Delhi Daredevils’ mentor said, in reference to a question on Pawan Negi being paid Rs 8.5 crore by the franchise.
"There are dynamics that is hard to explain. At what lot the player is picked, what do you have and what the other guy (rival franchise) needs is hard to explain. Once the auction is done, the value (price) goes out of the window. Players are never selected on the basis of what they earn. In Rajasthan (Royals), it was not done. Because of the nature of the tournament, good players don't get to play as someone else plays a better role," said Dravid.
Eyebrows were raised when Carlos Brathwaite was picked for Rs 4.2 crore at the auction and Dravid said while some criticism was justified one needed to look at the method behind the madness.
"Why was Brathwaite paid that amount at auction? Well, I am using it just as an example. It wasn't an unjustified criticism, but teams go through process. There is lot of research behind the scenes; look at players, try and pick the right ones, in the given restriction. I have gone into lot of auctions where I have had a wish list and walked out necessarily having nothing close to my wish list.
"Even in picking (the playing) eleven of IPL teams, a lot of thought goes in. We have 7-8 international players, everyone is a certainty or performer in his international teams but they may not be in your top four overseas players. The four foreigners have to mesh and balance with seven others you put in the park. So what are the skills you require from foreign players is something that's important to us," Dravid said, explaining Brathwaite's price.
He said that as coach of the India Under-19 team, he told his wards that they should think about playing all the formats, as "playing for India is a gold medal and playing in IPL a silver medal'.
The former India captain had a word of caution for those who only want to play IPL and nothing else.
"If you look at this World T20, at Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson, they are all classical players. I used to tell my Under-19 boys that why sell yourself for less when you can play all the formats. There are enough batsmen and bowlers who have done that. You don't have to stick only to T20. That's a dangerous trend to go down. Only two months of this cricket.
"If you are actually not playing round the year, chances of you performing in these two months are difficult. You can't just walk up and play. It is a skill-based game. At Under-19s they realise the value of IPL, but they all want to play for India. India is the gold medal and IPL is the silver medal."
Dravid also said that one should not "begrudge" those domestic players, who play the game with an eye only on IPL.
"You cannot just use it as a template but some of them may be playing for that reason. If someone knows that he can't replace Ajinkya (Rahane), Rohit (Sharma) and Virat in the Test team, he will say to himself, okay let me improve my T20 skills. But then they run the risk of not doing well in Ranji Trophy and dropped from their first-class teams and it can cost them their IPL contract," he observed.
"So players are making those judgements and there will always be a few but why would you begrudge them? Then there might be others who can think T20 is not for me so let me do well in Ranji Trophy and try to become very good Test players."