Terming the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction process and ‘humiliating’ and ‘degrading’, Heath Mills, the New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief has called for an end to the whole auction process. Heath Mills even went on to describe the IPL 2018 auction, held on 27 and 28 January in Bangalore, as an unprofessional way to play with athletes’ livelihoods.
Former Wellington Cricket chief executive Peter Clinton also endorsed Heath Mills’ views and wrote on his Twitter account: “The IPL Auction is such an undignified, cruel and unnecessary employment practice. Ridiculous that it exists today, belongs in the medieval ages.”
The #IPLAuction is such an undignified, cruel & unnecessary employment practice. Ridiculous that it exists today, belongs in the medieval ages.
— Peter Clinton (@PeterClinton5) January 29, 2018
“I think the whole system is archaic and deeply humiliating for the players, who are paraded like cattle for all the world to see,” Heath Mills told the New Zealand Herald.
“There’s lot of good things about the Indian Premier League and it’s been great for cricket but I’d like to see it mirror the rest of professional sport in the way they engage athletes. The auction system is wrong — it’s not professional, far from it.”
Heath Mills also said that the players who were not picked up at the auction have to face public humiliation of sorts which is completely uncalled for, and can go on to harm any international team’s dressing room environment.
“The players enter the auction not knowing where they’re are going, who their team-mates are going be, who’s managing them, who the owners are — no other sports league in the world engages players on that basis.
“We’ve seen some players play for five or six teams over the 10 years the league has been going. Coaches cannot build an affinity with players, they can’t build a long-term culture.
“The whole thing is very poor and players associations around the world would like to see it change.”
Heath Mills though acknowledged it had been great for the players who attract huge salaries.
“Some players do exceptionally well out of if but the vast majority would like to see the system changed. They would like to negotiate with coaches and owners behind closed doors.”
It has to be noted here that out of the 24 New Zealand players who registered their names for the auction, only 7 of them were “sold” – Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Colin Munro, Tim Southee and Mitchell Santner.
The most notable New Zealand exceptions were Martin Guptill and Ish Sodhi, and Sodhi was the No. 1 T20 bowler in the world, at the time of the IPL 2018 auction.