IPL Auction: Going, going, gone... Without dignity!

The embarrassing sight of seeing Sourav Ganguly’s name failing to elicit any response from any of the franchisee during the Round 1 and the re-auction © Getty Images

The auction of players for the forthcoming IPL is over. Players were bought for astronomical price. Some of the players bought were unheard names. But the bigger news was the deal that didn’t happen – the embarrassing sight of seeing Sourav Ganguly’s name failing to elicit any response from any of the franchisee during the Round 1 and the re-auction. It was stunning, to put it mildly.

 

Mahesh Bhupathi tweeted: “Dada not sold. This auction is a joke.”
IPL governing council chairman Chirayu Amin opined that it pointed the fact that youth was the need for the team owners. And many had views that Ganguly should have seen the writing on the wall and retired with dignity, like Anil Kumble.
The point everyone is missing is the insult and humiliation meted out to one of the legends of the game who contributed so much for Team India.

 

It’s difficult to understand why not a single team chose to bid for Ganguly. Perhaps his retirement from international cricket went against him. But nobody seems to remember his 493 runs in the 3rd season at a strike rate of 117. He was blamed for Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) poor performances in last three seasons without considering how poor his team was. After all he needed someone to stay at the other. But may be the team owners were blinded by their faith in youth which made them ignore his track record.

 

People may argue that one can’t get emotional while taking business decisions. And IPL is business. Everyone wants profit out of it. But isn’t the whole IPL business about cricket? In fact, dealing emotional issues effectively shows how professional you and your business are.
Obviously, Ganguly’s value for KKR was huge considering his fan base in the city – far greater than for any other team. Even if he didn’t fit into the new plan of the KKR management, KKR could have gone about gracefully.
Many suggest Ganguly should have followed Kumble’s path and opted out of auction pool to accept a mentor-like post with the team But, in reality, it should have been KKR which should have taken a leaf out of Royal Challengers Bangalore and shown Ganguly the respect he deserved. Had KKR done that, it would have helped them retain their fan base. Ironically, they are doing the same thing now by sending feelers to Ganguly for accepting mentor role which has been rejected by the ‘Prince of Kolkata’.

 

Ganguly, obviously, didn’t want to play IPL for money. It’s his love for cricket which forced him to keep playing even after retiring from international cricket. He believed he could play in IPL considering his past performances. If the team didn’t believe so, it would have talked to him directly. Perhaps a completely different message was given to him by KKR or perhaps any some other team. Why would a self respecting man like Ganguly raise his base price at the last moment without being sure about the team which would bid for him? And in the process he had to subject himself to humiliation in the auction.
It pains me to see a champion player treated in this manner. Ganguly has been denied the respect he so rightly deserves.

 

(Dibyasundar Nayak, an engineering student, is passionate about sports in general and cricket in particular. Current affairs and politics are some of his other interests. He can be contacted on twitter @dibyabttb (twitter.com/dibyabttb) and on Facebook (facebook.com/dibyasundar.nayak)