2008: The first IPL auction puts a price on everything
The Australian seamer Nathan Bracken put it best: "You want to know what you're worth - and you don't want to know what you're worth." In no dressing-room did the tussle for players' services cause as many ructions as it did in Australia's. At a glittering auction in Mumbai on February 20, 2008, Cameron White got more money than the recently retired Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, while David Hussey was considered a more valuable prospect than Ricky Ponting or Matthew Hayden. "It's probably only me and Matty that will have any reason to be jealous of anybody else," wrote Ponting in a newspaper column after Andrew Symonds went for $1.35m.
There were raised eyebrows in India as well, with Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma getting far more lucrative contracts than Anil Kumble, who had carried the country's bowling for more than a decade. The traditional yardsticks of a player's worth were disregarded, as the franchises' bean-counters spoke of "marketability" and other imponderables. Lalit Modi and his cohorts constantly emphasised "bigger, better, faster, more". It seemed futile to deny this was more seductive than "smaller, worse, slower, less". DILEEP PREMACHANDRAN
From Wisden 2009: Notes by the Editor (Scyld Berry)
The IPL is a clever mixture of ingredients because its administrators have understood their market - their mass market. Although it is impossible to be sure from such a recent perspective, it looks as though the supranational IPL is the single biggest change in cricket not merely since the advent of the limited-overs game in the 1960s but of fixtures between countries in the 19th century: that is, since the invention of international or Test cricket.
Above all, until the time of writing, the IPL has had luck on its side. As the world went into economic crisis, the IPL gave every appearance of bucking the trend. The two auctions of players which it staged, the second on February 6 this year, must have appealed to anyone who has played Monopoly: they gave the franchise-owners the feeling they had power over the world's finest cricketers, and everyone else the illusion. At a time of the most serious recession since the 1930s, Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen were signed for two years at $1.55m per six-week tournament (or pro rata for the number of games they played). The IPL radiated wealth, well-being, exuberance, and prospects for future growth: in a word, hope.