Too much of a good thing...

2010-04-24 00:00

AFTER weeks of mindless, seemingly endless, entertainment, the third edition of the Indian Premier League will come to a close tomorrow evening.

Trying to keep up with all the goings-on has been no easy task — what with adverts in the middle of overs and a fancy new way of describing acts as common as a catch on the boundary. In IPL lingo, that is a “Karmon Kamal catch”. Jeez Louise!

What is becoming apparent is that Lalit Modi is now looking to take over the cricketing calendar.

The announcement of three new franchises, which will add a few more weeks to the circus, is quite probably a sign of the future.

This “hit and giggle” is here to stay, and at some point it will be at loggerheads with the International Cricket Council (ICC).

For now, the ICC have given the IPL an uneasy nod of approval — not that they had much choice.

When the likes of Kevin Pietersen are blatantly demanding that their bosses avoid scheduling fixtures that clash with the IPL, then you know who is really in the pound seats.

The players can see where this is going, and they are not about to look this gift horse in the teeth.

Just recently, Dwayne Bravo was asked about the importance he attaches to the various forms of cricket he plays.

He replied, Trinidad and Tobago, Mumbai Indians and then the West Indies.

In that order.

Sir Garfield Sobers must have choked on his cheese sandwich when he heard about this, but sadly it is the reality for players who are cashing in on the extremely favourable market that has presented itself.

Average players are now millionaires, and with the incredibly high prices that the new franchises were sold for, the money is clearly not about to run dry.

Let us crunch some figures, to illustrate just how well buttered the players’ bread is in India.

Makhaya Ntini’s deal with the Chennai Superkings is worth $175 000.

Of that amount, half is guaranteed upon arrival. The rest is added as a percentage according to how many games you play over the course of the competition.

So, despite not figuring at all during the current series, Ntini has been seen cheering and laughing everytime the camera pans past the Chennai dug-out.

Can you blame the brother?

Close on a million rand for doing not much more than bowl a few balls at the odd net practice — because with all the travelling, there is precious little time to actually work on one’s game.

Nice work if you can get it, and eventually it will pose a question to those coming to the end of illustrious, but physically taxing Test careers.

A Jacques Kallis or a Daniel Vettori is a priceless commodity in the IPL, because as a foreign all-rounder, the franchises give their captains so much versatility.

Who is to say that Kallis, especially after this season’s run feast in India, won’t command an auction price rattling up towards $2 million?

Two million rand for two months of labour? Goodness, it is a eye-watering but very real possibility.

How many stars will start retiring early, eager to conserve their energies for the two months of the year when they can really earn their crust?

Who would leave their young family for eight months of the year when you can earn 10 times more in eight weeks — and then be at home for the rest?

The easy money has even got the attention of former icons.

Brian Lara, the sort of run-machine that this form of the game would suit right down to the ground, is on the verge of signing with county side Surrey, and the word is that he will use that as a stepping stone to sign a mega-deal with one of the new franchises.

At 41, Lara may be old and weighed down by the trappings of his success, but he can still spot a gap when one presents itself.

Even if he is embarrassed by the pace of the modern game, bruised by the odd bouncer and beaten in a foot-race by the fleet-of-foot lads of India, do you think he will care?

He will have 10 months to console himself, and then come back and do it all again.

It’s blerrie Brian Lara, for crying out loud!

If the lure of the IPL is so much that it would tempt a hall-of-famer to risk ridicule, what chance do tomorrow’s stars stand of resisiting the golden apples?

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