The Indian Premier League, which came into being in 2008, was inspired by rich sporting leagues around the world like the NBA (basketball) and the Premier League (football). There is a strong fan connect in these leagues, and that is why cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle is in favour of retention of key players for the upcoming IPL 2018.
The 11th edition of the IPL is expected to be massive as teams will undergo some big changes. Teams will have to let go off some of their key players, only a few stars will be allowed to be retained per team.
However, the final decision on how many players could be retained by the teams is yet to come. The eight teams in the league are divided in their opinion and hence the officials concerned have not come to a conclusion on the matter.
Some want players' retention while a few are also in favour of going into the IPL 2018 auction with a clean state.
Teams like Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings are in favour of retention, and rightly so. One cannot imagine RCB without Kohli or for that matter, CSK without Dhoni. Harsha wants five players to be retained.
"I think 5 is the minimum that you must have for retention and there is a reason I say that. Some teams have made very good choices but even more than that there has to be a fan connect," Harsha said in a Cricbuzz video.
"At the core of all organized leagues across the world, is the fan connect. People identify with teams, and they identify with players within the team. RCB has to be Virat Kohli and ABDe Villiers, CSK has to be Dhoni, MI has to be Rohit Sharma. You need these fans connect and that is why I think you need these retentions," he opined.
The IPL 2018 auction is scheduled to take place in January 2018, which is going to be another big event. Though Harsha likes auctions, he wants teams to nurture their players and help them grow into world-class players.
"I like the auction, but increasingly I think the auction should become less and less important to allow teams to grow players and nurture them, pick young players, convert them into match winners. That is what all great teams do. That is why I am fan of retentions," Harsha said.