IPL spend could hit $96mn as wage cap rises 20%


NEW DELHI — The Indian Premier League, one of the world's richest sports competitions, will let teams splurge up to $12 million each on player salaries in 2018, an increase of 20 percent.

After a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday, the IPL governing council also said teams will have to spend a minimum of 75 percent of the salary cap each season.

The decision means the eight IPL teams are likely to spend anywhere between $72 million and $96 million on players alone for just eight weeks of cricketing action in 2018.

"Whatever changes we have come up with are all in the interest of the players," IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla told AFP. "We are also looking to increase the prize money for the players in future."

While most of India's big name players are already attached to franchises, several players bagged lucrative deals in the IPL auction in February.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes set a new record for a foreigner by joining the Rising Pune Supergiants for more than $2 million. England pace bowler Tymal Mills went to the Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1.8 million, even though he had only played four Twenty20 internationals before that.

The attractions of last-ball winning sixes, extravagant switch-hitting and rapid-fire centuries have made IPL a favorite of the masses, especially the younger generation.

The IPL's 60 games are valued at roughly $8.5 million each, not far off the estimated $9.6 million per English Premier League match — and well over the $6.2 million price tag attached to home internationals in India.

No laughing matter for

India in Lanka 'rivalry'

By Amlan Chakraborty

The humorous observation that India and Sri Lanka's cricketers see more of each other than their respective partners appears to have taken a more serious tone with the Indian board accepting that an overdose of the one-sided rivalry is bad for cricket.

Three months after subjecting Sri Lanka to a 9-0 whitewash across all formats, Virat Kohli's men prevailed 1-0 in the latest round of a duel between the neighbors to seal their record-equaling ninth consecutive Test series win.

Three of those triumphs have come against an unsettled and inexperienced Sri Lankan side in the throes of a tricky transition period following the retirements of batting stalwarts Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in 2015.

India's six other series wins in this period includes home triumphs against South Africa, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia, as well as a victory over West Indies in the Caribbean.

While it makes financial sense for Sri Lanka to play India, the game's economic engine, the home board (BCCI) said the latest series, an underwhelming prospect for fans, was unavoidable as it had to honor its commitment to the calendar.

"The back-to-back series resulted from what had been committed in the past in the current FTP (Future Tours Program)," BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary told reporters on the sidelines of the third and final test in Delhi.

"The observation of the captain of the team will be a substantial basis of further discussions on FTP." Indian captains seldom talk about scheduling issues but Kohli has expressed concerns that the frequency of certain contests might result in plenty of empty seats in the stands.

"It definitely has to be taken into consideration because you don't want fans going away from the game or not watching," Kohli said ahead of the back-to-back series against Sri Lanka, who have managed only one win in the last nine tests against their neighbors.

"We have to find a balance between how to engage the fans and, at the same time, keep players fresh, keep cricket exciting and have very competitive going throughout the year."

India also played five one-dayers in Sri Lanka this year, against an opponent containing many regulars in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"This analysis has to be done over a period of time, by asking fans who watch the game," Kohli said. "For someone watching the game, it is very different than someone playing the game. For us, there is no room for saying that I don't want to play this game.

"I don't know if too much cricket is being played, or (it's) repetition of the same series... That point will definitely be discussed (with the Indian board) in future." — Agencies