Monday, March 3, 2008


After big guns, IPL teams shop for youngsters

The big sale of Indian cricketers in Mumbai last Wednesday was just the beginning. The rush to sign up players for the newly-formed Indian Premier League has by no means ended; franchisees are now eyeing members of the Indian under-19 squad currently playing the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. Other prominent cricketers from the under-22 bracket are also being wooed with payments running into several lakhs.

On Friday, there was frenzied activity as franchisees chased prominent junior cricketers to fill their quota of four under-22 players. One major signing was UP's allrounder, Praveen Kumar, who is in the CB Series squad currently playing Down Under. According to sources, he has been snapped up by Delhi for Rs 32.5 lakh. Delhi are also reportedly set to sign UP's southpaw opener, Tanmay Srivstava, a member of the U-19 World Cup squad.

Other prominent young stars being sought by IPL teams are Under-19 skipper Virat Kohli, Pradip Sangwan, Ravindra Jadeja and Saurabh Tiwary. From the India-A team, players like Yo Mahesh, Pragyan Ojha and Cheteshwar Pujara are also in great demand.

IPL rules mandate that each franchisee have at least four under-22 players, apart from the four 'catchment area' players.

This means U-22 cricketers are up for grabs, and need not necessarily be from the catchment area, explaining the huge demand for someone like Delhi's Kohli, who can be bought by any of the other teams for a large enough sum.

Franchisees are believed to be persuading those who have worked with these youngsters in the past as team coach or manager to convince them to sign up. The frenzy seems to have caught everyone associated with these players totally off-guard, as TOI found out.

Kohli's coach Rajkumar Sharma said: "We have received offers but we are yet to take a final decision. Actually, we are confused about the rules governing IPL and its offers. We are in the dark about the maximum and the minimum limit a player might be offered. That's why we are holding talks with the IPL as well as franchisees. But money is not going to be the criteria for Kohli. We have to decide which team will be able to give him the maximum exposure. Virat shall chose his team accordingly."

Another promising young bowler from UP, Sudeep Tyagi, who was the highest wicket-taker in the just-concluded Ranji season, confirmed that he had received offers from Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai. But he too seemed unaware about the upper and lower limits of his salary. "I have received offers from three franchisees. I haven't decided yet which team I will play for but there is a strong possibility of playing for Chennai Super Kings. I have to look into the money part of the deal. I was under the impression (till now) that there is a fixed amount for the U-22 players."

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