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Home > India > Cricket > Column > Raja Baradwaj Rajagopalan

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Subprime mortgages and cricket

September 22, 2008

As I was flipping on my bed trying to catch some sleep after a "full" sake dinner, I could hear my inner voice. The fact that I had one glass too many of sake made me hear my inner voice loud and clear.

It was unhappy, unhappy because I am the one blogger left in this world who hasn't spoken / written about something called the "Subprime crisis", too bad. I have been hearing people at the golf course, pubs, office coffee machine, lunches, dinners, malls and so on. People who were speaking about Subprime, Lehman Brothers, Merrill lynch etc.

I remember one very economics andĀ finance savvy gentleman talking about how his favorite Mac has gone bankrupt and how it was lucky to be bankrolled by the Fed Authority because they didn't want the Mac's to be dead!!, little did he know the difference between the Mac as in burgers and the Mac as in mortgages. With all this action happening around, I didn't want to be left out.

And here is my two bit about subprime.

I think post the real estate & financial markets the phenomenon of subprime is going to hit cricket, precisely the IPL [Indian Premier League]. One might wonder how?!!

It is pretty simple, to understand this one should understand the basics of what subprime crisis means.

It started with giving a loan / mortgage to a person who doesn't deserve it and then the lending agencies inability to recollect the money. In other words, a mortgage or loan given to a person whose credit rating is not good enough which doesn't repay the lender. Now what connection does this have with cricket?

Recently 13 players from Bangladesh have gone and joined ICL [Indian Cricket League], a huge exodus of talent for a small country like Bangladesh. Big Brother, oops!! BCCI announced that they would take care of this by getting more Bangladeshi players in the next IPL auction.

We all know where Bangladesh's cricket credit rating stood before the exodus, more precisely the T20 rating. Now with talent gone, let us close our eyes for a minute and try and think where and how their cricket credit rating would stand now. And now a Freddie Mac or a Fannie May (the BCCI /ICL) is trying to finance them (by taking more of them in the auction).

I was thinking what might happen.

There are two scenarios: 1. As usual it might just be a BCCI / IPL rhetoric and nothing might happen.

2. They might go ahead and take more of the Bangladesh players to the auction. If they indeed take more players from Bangladesh, then there is a potential opportunity for us to see a cricket subprime. If you remember the definition of subprime, undeserving or uninteresting people getting money is what caused the subprime.

With Sri Lankan cricket allowing ICL cricketers to play domestic cricket there, if a couple of more boards follow suit then there is a good enough probability of talent (read people with good credit rating) drifting the other side. If this happens, then going by the financial precedent, gone would be the IPL & BCCI.

I am not sure if there is any federal setup equivalent in cricket, even if we (mistakenly) consider that ICC [Images] is one then I am not sure if they would want to bail the Big Brother out.

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