The Indian Premier League’s mid-season transfer time is here as after Monday’s game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders, all teams have played seven games in the 13th edition of the league — the requisite to kickstart the transfer window.
What makes the idea of the mid-season transfers this year more interesting is the inclusion of capped players this season. But the general feeling among franchises is that they don’t wish to strengthen an opposition team by loaning a capped player when the tournament is still wide open and play-off places are far from decided.
Speaking to ANI, an official of a franchise which has won the league in the past and has high-quality international players eligible for mid-season transfer — having played less than two games — said that the chances of teams loaning other teams capped players is less.
“An interesting area for sure. But, the league is still wide open and who would want to give away an international player? Also, when you go into the auction, you do a lot of planning and that is why you see a player being picked. Unless there is a major injury worry or some calculation that has gone completely off track, I don’t see anyone loaning a top capped star even if he has not turned out for the parent team this season or has played less than two games as required by IPL rules for a mid-season transfer,” the official said.
Echoing the sentiments, another franchise official said that in a competitive environment, you don’t wish to strengthen your opponent.
“There is actually a lot of areas that need to be looked at. But primarily, why would I want to give away a star even if he is not fitting into my XI? This isn’t an exhibition series or tournament. This is hardcore competition and we are competing against seven other top-quality teams to win the tournament and take home the coveted trophy and be called the champions. You might see one or two capped players being exchanged at most, but not more than that,” the official pointed.
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An official of a franchise which has won the league in the past but has had an up and down season so far and needs to cement its batting line-up said that it was unlikely that any team would want to part ways with a capped batsman or bowler knowing that the season has only reached the middle stage.
“See, this isn’t football and this mid-season transfer will need a bit more time before you see active participation. With an auction at the start of the season to fine-tune your team, I don’t see franchises doing much during the mid-season transfer. Maybe a player here or there at the most. Don’t see major moves that make headlines happening. Also in a competition, why would anyone want to give us a capped batsman knowing it could change the complete texture of the tournament? It is not like there are two or three games to go and play-off places have been decided,” the official smiled.
In fact, at present Ajinkya Rahane is one of the most prominent names who is eligible for a mid-season transfer. But Delhi Capitals have made it clear that he is an integral part of their set-up. And the recent hamstring injury to Rishabh Pant also saw him make his DC debut in the last game against Mumbai Indians.
“He is an integral part of the team and he wasn’t brought in with the idea of trading him mid-season. Whatever be said on the outside, he has been excellent with the team and has looked to give his input wherever possible,” a DC official had said.