Mumbai:A day after the BCCI gagged coach Gary Kirsten, it was time to reign in the junior players. In a sternly worded press release the board has asked the juniors not to give into the lure of big money being offered by sports agents. Apparently many of them have approached the younger cricketers with the promise of getting them an IPL contract or a place in the state Ranji team in lieu of a commission.
There is no short cut to success. That is the message BCCI sent out to junior cricketers after they suspected an agent hoax was underway.
Apparently the board has been receiving several phone calls from anxious junior cricketers and their parents asking about agents who are trying to sign up the youngsters with the promise of an IPL spot.
"I was surprised to find that even the match fee component becomes a part of the contract fee which I feel is a matter of concern for us and all the youngsters should know that it is ultimately their performance in domestic cricket that will earn them a place in their state teams or IPL teams," said Professor Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI's chief administrative officer.
Agents are known to try and pick talent early, in fact Some of the Under -19 world cup winning stars had contracts even before they won the title, But the agents claim the Cricket aspect meaning selection etc are certainly not part of the deal.
"If I sign a young player and he starts playing for the Indian team, I have no revenue coming from him till I get him some good advert deals or talks. We involve ourselves in tertiary activity only. I do not take money for placing people in county or getting them a IPL contract but that varies from agent to agent," said Lathika Khaneja, Owner of Collage Sports Management.
The board has also made it clear they have a well defined talent spotting system, and they don't need any help. But with the huge sums of money on offer, thanks to the IPL, its clear education is the key to protecting the inexperienced juniors.
"It becomes easy for franchises. Agents can tell stories to youngsters that I'll help but that the wrong way of going through it, it's a culture that IPL has started, engaging agents for getting different things," felt Sunil Dev, member of National Cricket Academy.
"No getting away from the fact that the teams are bidding for players and there will be occasions where the agents will come into the picture. There may be cases of agents pushing people into the picture. This is evolving. We just had one season of IPL and surely sound guidelines will evolve," hopes Amrit Mathur, Vice-President, GMR group (Owner of Delhi Daredevils).
While the BCCI is still not willing to blame the IPL just yet, the fact that they have recognised the threat to junior cricketers is a relief. For now it's been left to the state associations to protect their own, but obviously the board will be keeping a close eye on the agents.