South African legend, Dale Steyn has said that he turned his back on the Indian Premier League because he found the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the Sri Lankan Premier League (LPL) were “slightly more rewarding”.
Steyn, who is currently in Pakistan with the Quetta Gladiators franchise, said he believed the excessive emphasis on the financial aspect of the IPL meant “the cricket gets forgotten”. Talking to Cricket Pakistan, he also revealed that the length of the IPL was a factor that further informed his decision to opt out this year, saying he wanted “a bit more time off”.
“I wanted to take a bit more time off. I found that playing in those other leagues was slightly more rewarding as a player. I think when you go to the IPL there are such big squads and so many big names and so much emphasis on the amount of money that the players earn that somewhere along the line the cricket kind of gets forgotten. When you come to the PSL or the LPL, there’s an importance on the cricket.
“I’ve only been here a couple of days and I’ve had people coming to my room asking where I played and how I went about it. In the IPL, that kind of gets forgotten and the main topic is how much money you went for this IPL. And that’s just me being brutally honest. I just wanted to stay away from that this year and put more emphasis on bringing good vibes to teams and tournaments I feel are worth it.”
Steyn, whose career trajectory has coincided with the rise of the IPL, has often seen himself become one of the more prized assets for any IPL franchise, and has consistently seen heavy competition for his signature. The highest auction price for the fast bowler came in consecutive seasons in 2014 and 2015, when Sunrisers Hyderabad snapped him up for INR 9.5 crore (approx. USD 1.3 million today). He has taken 97 IPL wickets at 6.91, making him, by some distance, the most economical fast bowler among players with over 50 wickets in the league. His influence has diminished somewhat of late, playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement player in 2019, and a full time player last year.