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IPL players will be bartered, not traded

The Indian Premier League is thinking of an innovative idea to overcome the problem posed by the $5 million-cap plus the three year contracts that each player has signed.

The eight franchises, instead of trading their cricketers, will be asked to "barter" them with each other in the transfer window that opens in February next year.

According to IPL sources, however, the five icon players ó Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag ó cannot be bartered. Any of the other players can be exchanged, if the parties concerned ó that is, both the franchises and the player himself ó are agreeable. Which means Mumbai Indians or Delhi Daredevils will continue have Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag battling it out for their city teams only, at least in the coming year.

However, from the third year onwards, the IPL is going to introduce a "trading window" to transfer the players.

Sources also indicated that the IPL governing council is against removing the $5 million spending cap on teams. "We donít want disparity of income among the players. Itís good that the players are getting their due but if only a handful of them get millions, then itís a problem. Cricket is, after all, a team game. As far as we are concerned, the $5 million cap will not be removed for the present," a top member of the IPL governing council told TOI on Monday.

"A team like Hyderabad lacked some good bowlers in their line-up. If they wish to swap Shahid Afridi with (Bangaloreís) Jaques Kallis, for example, and their franchises are willing to do so, the barter will take place.

"If IPL-winning captain Shane Warne does not want to play for Team Jaipur and his owners are willing to trade him, there is no problem whatsoever as long as there are takers for him. But itís unlikely that players like Shane Watson and Yusuf Pathan will be bartered, unless the franchisee has a different plan," a top IPL official explained.

This development will be a huge relief for those "non-performing assets" who have got shabby treatment from their owners.

"But from the third year onwards, we are going to introduce trading windows and the players will get a certain portion of the extra money, which will be generated during the transfer. Itís too early to talk about the third year. There are a lot of calculations to be done. We will also take the opinion of the franchises to see how it works," the IPL official said.

When TOI contacted a couple of the franchises, they were okay with the idea. "There are people who can afford wealthy teams, but as far as we are concerned, we donít have any problem with the barter. The idea looks okay to us. But we have to sit with the IPL to learn more about the transfer," a CEO of a franchise said.

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