Million Dollar Monkey

Oh the joys of self publishing. The joys of the internet. Send the PC police to arrest dongles. I don’t care – he doesn’t exist. Besides, the term “Million Dollar Monkey” was not my idea. It was Sven Gorsky – he made me do it.

The first IPL auction was very, very interesting. The $US 1.6 million forked out for M S Dhoni may have raised a few eyebrows. That is 32% of the team salary cap for about 8% of the squad. But remember that M S Dhoni is the new face of India. He may not be an official icon but he is none the less, iconic.

The second most highly paid player is Andrew Symonds. In the aftermath of Monkey Gate and the Sydney Test, it was suggested that the Australians were jeopardising their status in IPL. Like most of the things said following Monkey Gate, that has been proven to be bollocks. One of the central characters, the monkey himself, is laughing all the way to the bank.

Here are some interesting points:

The five iconic players – reserved the to play for their home franchises (Tendulkar, Dravid etc) are all million dollar men but I wonder if they are happy. Their pay was determined by adding 15% to the next highest paid player’s bid. For example, Tendulkar will captain the Mumbai team. Jayasuriya was the highest paid player won by Mumbai at the auction. He commanded a cool one mill. So Tendulkar’s contract is 1.15 mill. Nothing to snivel about but a long way short of Symonds and Dhoni. The teams committed to icon players were burdened with the guarantee of paying a motza for at least two players, whereas non-icon franchises had full flexibility.

The Indian players have done the best and that’s no surprise. The “I” in IPL is for India. IPL is about India, Indians, Indian crickets fans and most of all, Indian cricket players. He may be in good form, but after at just 19 years of age and after one international season, Ishant Sharma is the highest paid bowler ($950k). Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina may be household names in India but are not so well known around the world and they have come out with upwards of $600k – $700k. IPL is about India and the rest are along for the ride. And they should be counting their blessings.

David Hussey waxed his brother’s tail by almost 100% – $675k to Michael’s $350k. Many of the Australians seemed to earn less than expected. That is, Australians that are expected to tour Pakistan (if the tour proceeds). A distraught Ponting ($400k), Hussey and Hayden ($375k) all seem under paid, especially when you look at the Indian players. Keep in mind that if a player can only play half his matches, his pay is pro rated. If you do half the work, you get half the booty. Guys like Cameron White ($500k), David Hussey and of course, Gillie ($750k) are smiling. Take into consideration that players like Warne and McGrath only got as much as they did because of their “base price”. All players had a base price and that was determined by a rating from A to F. It’s a bit like those Fantasy Cricket competitions you can enter and you need to mix up your gradings. In fact, I think those cheeky buggers at IPL used the player gradings from the last World Cup Fantasy Cricket comp. The only “big time” Australian to get the truly big bucks is Brett Lee ($900k). And he’s a Bollywood star, for crying out loud.

Which brings me back to Andrew Symonds. Roy and Cricket Australia are on course for a showdown. I would not be surprised if Symonds does not play for Australia again after this season. If the tour of Pakistan is cancelled then we don’t have a problem. If it does go ahead, Symonds has already said that he won’t go. That’s fair enough – players are entitled not to tour. However, I wonder if Roy may think he might just go and have some hit and giggle over in India seeing he’s got nothing else to do. If I worked for CA (and I never would) I would not be standing for that. Roy is contracted to them and that means if he doesn’t want to play, he isn’t allowed to play somewhere else. Roy is a good bloke and honest to a fault but he’s also a capitalist – he appears in 16.2 ads per hour during cricket telecasts, and I presume, not for free. Matters of money must be separated from matters of conscience – it’s just common sense. Roy’s “fightin’ words” will have spurred CA into striving to make the Pakistan tour go ahead. I believe that exploration of a shorter tour is a direct result of an intention to battle IPL.

Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin and the next captain of Australia, Michael Clarke elected to pull out of IPL to “concentrate on their international careers” (although it has just emerged that Pup wants to spend more time with his sick father). What does that mean? The implication must be that participating in IPL will be detrimental to the development of budding international careers. I don’t see how the actual playing in IPL – against the best international crickets in the world – would do that. However, losing favour with administrators and selectors would have a rather significant impact on your career. What exactly did James Sutherland say to the lads? Why are the senior players apparently unworried?

Andrew Symonds is going to have some choices. a) Tour with Pakistan with everyone else. b) Miss the tour, sit out IPL while the Pakistan tour is on and lose about $AUD 700. c) Miss the tour, play for IPL and never play for Australia again. I think it will come down to that.

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