Not one of the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) teams picked any Pakistani player in Tuesday’s auction. That’s the question of the day animating not just the media, but also some cricket fans and all kinds of conspiracy theorists.
We have no conspiracy theories to offer, but just a few thoughts about the way IPL teams buy players. Key business auctions often occur with bidders present in different rooms—a process that minimizes chances of one bidder colluding with another. An open conference room at a Mumbai hotel doesn’t inspire as much confidence.
The IPL auction is like any other market, one that needs both strong institutions and transparency. IPL, then, is game for fans to question along these lines. For instance, the price controls that the current auction sets—a base price, a maximum bid—could well be preventing a team from attracting big players or making do with those who prove to be risky bets for whatever reason (the ones from Pakistan).
Or has IPL—and its administrators—already become too big to bother about these small questions?