Home > Features >

IPL: What value does a franchise owner bring to the side by sitting in the dugout?

The only thing an owner can bring in the players dugout is — avoidable — pressure on the players © Yogen Shah
The only thing an owner can bring in the players dugout is — avoidable — pressure on the players © Yogen Shah

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 begins on April 16 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). H Natarajan questions the logic in permitting franchisee owners in the dugout.

It seems a matter of proprietorship privilege that an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisee owner gets to sit in his team’s dugout. One cannot see any discernible value by the owner’s presence in close proximity with the players. What, for example, a Mrs Nita Ambani tell a bunch of high-quality professional players with a battery of support staff, which includes the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Jonty Rhodes, John Wright and Robin Singh? If anything, the players can do without the pressure of the owner around the dugout area.

For all practical purposes, the dugout in IPL games is an enclosure for the men involved in the heat and intensity of the battle in the middle — a place which has a sanctity about it and which is out-of-bounds for anybody other than the team and the support staff. Even TV interviewers, often times former cricketers who know the players well, stand at respectable distance from the dugout during a game. Even recently-retired players hesitate to enter the dressing room they once were part of because they don’t want to be seen as an intrusion into the private space of the players. Ray Illingworth, during the time he was captain of England, once asked the Test & County Cricket Board Board (TCCB) chief to leave the dressing room.

IPL is an Augean Stable that needs a lot of clean up. And one of the things that necessarily need to go is this business of owners sitting in the dugout. It has become all the more imperative after the Gurunath Meiyappan — the man who was accredited as Team Owner but was dubbed a mere ‘enthusiast’ by his all-powerful father-in-law, then the BCCI chief — is out on bail after his alleged involved in the betting and match-fixing scandal last season.

Of course, there will be those who will say that even without sitting in the dugout an owner can indulge in these activities. Sure, one can. But when such a dubious person sits in the dugout, he is in an incredibly advantageous position to instantaneously swing things the way he wants by putting pressure on the captains and the players he owns.

Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra is also under the scanner for betting in IPL matches and has been asked by the law enforcement authorities not to leave the country.


It’s possible that most of the owners are clean, but given the circumstances it’s important that not only an owner is clean but is doing all the right things to be seen without any traces of suspicion.

The owners will not like their privilege to be snatched away. That is understandable. After forking out millions of dollars, they could be forgiven for harbouring that entitlement mentality.  However, the image of the IPL has taken huge blows and harsh measures are inevitable and unavoidable.

Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan is one of the franchisee owners who keep a respectable distance from the dugout during Kolkata Knight Riders’ matches. He is intense and expressive about his team, but from the stands. He leaves the pros to do their job without the pressure of having his presence around the dugout and comes to meet them only at the end of the game.

Shahrukh Khan prefers to watch Kolkata Knight Riders matches from the stands and spares his team needless pressure © IANS
Shahrukh Khan prefers to watch Kolkata Knight Riders matches from the stands and spares his team needless pressure © IANS

The pressure on the players is immense and they can well do without having the presence of owners adding to it. Sourav Ganguly said two years ago: “When I captained India nobody asked me anything and I didn’t have to answer anybody after the day’s play. But when I captained the IPL teams I had to answer the owner before the game and after the game. I’m telling you, seriously that is enormous pressure. When you lose the game, the first thing when you get back to the hotel is think ‘what am I going to answer? Why didn’t Ashok Dinda bowl the slower ball at that moment?’ ” Those words were from a man who was not only one of India’s most successful captains, but arguably the gutsiest of the skippers. It’s hard when champion players have to explain their cricketing strategies to people who probably never played anything more than a Sunday game overbeer with friends.

Credibility apart, if the IPL has to be seen as a serious competition among hardened pros, the ornamental presence of owners in the dugout should be done away with.

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(H Natarajanformerly All India Deputy Sports Editor of the Indian Express and Senior Editor with Cricinfo/Wisden, is the Executive Editor of CricketCountry.com. A prolific writer, he has written for many of the biggest newspapers, magazines and websites all over the world. A great believer in the power of social media, he can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/H.Natarajan and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/hnatarajan)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Geoff Marsh and other Father-Son trios to have played Test cricket

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Nepal to host world’s first blind women’s cricket series

All India Public Sector Cricket Tournament to be held in Mumbai

Mitchell Johnson: We need to use new ball well tomorrow

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan proud at scoring record 25th Test ton

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Younis Khan becomes first Pakistan batsman to score a ton against each of the Test-playing nations

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here