Former Indian captain, a legendary batsman and current “mentor” of IPL team Delhi Daredevils (DD), Rahul Dravid said that he never judged players based on his price in the IPL auction. Dravid said, “I never judge players based on his price. I understand how an auction works. What one actually earns in an auction is not the reflection of who you are. A lot of things happen in an auction. You can’t control prices. Just because someone got so much money does not mean that the franchise considers him more important player than another.”
Dravid further elaborated, “There are dynamics that is hard to explain. At what lot the player is picked, what do you have and what the other guy (rival franchise) need is hard to explain. Once the auction is done, the value (price) goes out of the window. Players are never selected on the basis of what they earn. In Rajasthan (Royals), it was not done. Because of the nature of the tournament, good players don’t get to play as someone else plays a better role.”
Then Dravid gave an example by taking the name of recently famous West Indian cricketer Carlos Brathwaite. Dravid said, “Why was Brathwaite paid that amount at auction? Well, I am using it just as an example. It wasn’t an unjustified criticism, but teams go through a process. There are a lot of research behind the scenes, look at players, try and pick the right ones, in the given restriction. I have gone into a lot of auction where I have had a wish list and walked out necessarily having nothing close to my wish list.”
After that, Dravid explained Brathwaite’s price by quoting, “Even in picking XI of IPL teams, a lot of thought goes in. We have 7-8 international players, everyone is a certainty or performer in his international teams but they may not be in your top four overseas players. The four foreigners have to mesh and balance with seven others you put in the park. So what are the skills you require from foreign players is something that’s important to us.”
Dravid also gave his view on the difference between international cricket and IPL. He said, “India is the gold medal and IPL is the silver medal” and he shared this message with the India U19 colts where he is serving as a coach.
Dravid said, “If you look at this World T20 at Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson, they are all classical players. I used to tell my U-19 boys that why to sell yourself for less when you can play all the formats. There are enough batsmen and bowlers who have done that. You don’t have to stick only to T20. That’s a dangerous trend to go down. Only two months of this cricket.
“If you are actually not playing round the year, chances of you performing in these two months are difficult. You can’t just walk up and play. It is a skill based game. At U-19s, they realise the value of IPL but they all want to play for India. India is the gold medal and IPL is the silver medal.”
Dravid also spoke out on domestic players and their importance to the franchise league. Dravid stated, “You cannot just use it as a template but some of them may be playing for that reason. If someone knows that he can’t replace Ajinkya, Rohit and Virat in the Test team, he will say to himself, okay let me improve my T20 skills. But then they run the risk of not doing well in Ranji Trophy and dropped from their first-class teams and it can cost them their IPL contract.”
Dravid also said that nobody should begrudge this behaviour. Dravid said, “So players are making those judgements and there will always be a few but why would you begrudge them? Then there might be others who can think T20 is not for me so let me do well in Ranji Trophy and try to become very good Test players.”