IPL Auction on December 18 in Jaipur will witness a new face at the head of the table, holding the hammer and running through the list of players to be included in the squads for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League. After 10 years of association with the IPL, Richard Madley will not be conducting the auction with Hugh Edmeades, an independent fine art, classic car and charity auctioneer running the show.
The ‘illogical’ decision to axe the charismatic Madley has left him ‘deflated’ and has even questioned the manner in which the message was relayed to him. He stated the decision was taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in association with management firm IMG.
“I’m sad, disappointed and a little bit let down and deflated,” Madley was quoted as saying by Cricketnext. “It’s not my decision, it’s the decision of the BCCI combined with IMG. It has come as a bit of a shock to me after 11 unbroken years of conducting the auction and always receiving positive comments and feedback from the franchise owners, administrators, BCCI and my many fans. It has come as a bolt out of the blue – to be released, to use an IPL term – without reason or explanation.”
“I have been told that the BCCI wants to ‘change up’ the auction with a new venue, new timings and I assumed then that they were going to bring in a newer, younger auctioneer. Perhaps an Indian auctioneer, which would be perfectly logical. Therefore I was surprised when my replacement is a British auctioneer, older than me, more grey hairs, heavier! He’s a good friend of mine, I’ve known Hugh for many years. But he’s a first class art auctioneer who has no experience of IPL. Therefore, it is illogical to me to replace me with somebody who is almost my mirror image. That, to me, is the one area that hurts.”
“I was thinking that if I was going to be replaced, it would be a seed change in the auction and not a simple substitution without rhyme, reason or logic. Is it fair, equitable or honourable? So naturally I feel somewhat bruised.”
Madley said the word from BCCI came in November when he had relayed his availability to conduct the auction once again. The reply, from the BCCI, was curt, a one liner and no respect for his 11 years of association with the board. He was further disappointed with getting no reason for the discontinuation in agreement.
“I was in early November if I was available to conduct the auction. I confirmed my availability and heard back from IMG/BCCI two weeks back with a one-line e-mail saying ‘Your services are not required. We have chosen a replacement auctioneer’. No explanation, no thanks for the 11 years of service, and no reason whatsoever. I was shocked.
“They did mention they were considering other auctioneers when they asked me my availability. I confirmed my availability and assumed – wrongly – that they wanted to hire me. I surmise that they had already decided to hire Hugh and were purely going through the motions, and had already decided that they’d axe the hammer man.
“I want to know the reason why. What have I done wrong, or who have I offended, or where have I stepped out of line? For my peace of mind and professional integrity, I need to hear the truth. I quite understand I might never work in India again, but personally and professionally I need to know who these decision makers are, who can influence these matters masquerading under the guise of BCCI, but nobody being big enough to put their hand up and say this was my decision, and this is the reason. If they do that, I would feel much happier.”
Madley reckoned conducting the IPL auction was ‘part of my DNA’ and unlike cricket where players go back, score runs and come back into the main team, here irreplaceable damage may have been done. He didn’t believe BCCI would admit they got the decision wrong and he’s unlikely to come back to India.
“Never say never is my motto. I have been proud and honoured to come to India and conduct the IPL auction. It’s part of my DNA,” he said. “The BCCI have said the decision is for one auction. They’ll review it after that. But I feel like a batsman who has made a double century and dropped by the selectors for no reason. However, a good cricketer will put his head down, make more runs in state cricket and get a recall. Of course I’m not going to say I’ll never return. But I feel the damage might be done and it might be difficult for the BCCI to eat humble pie and accept this decision was the wrong one, and in doing so, upset what is the greatest auction in the world.
“It would appear that they are making change for change’s sake. You don’t fiddle with something that isn’t broken. The IPL auction is an extraordinary process, it’s more than just selling players. It’s a great launchpad for the tournament which usually starts six weeks later. Alter it at your risk. It’s inconceivable to me why they would want to do it. Why remove a key player in your team who has given 11 years service and still has some life left? The IPL auction process is highly transparent. I am asking for that same transparency.”