DELHI - The Indian Premier League may have brought money and fame for many, but the glitzy Twenty20 tournament is proving a bitter pill for many home-grown players.
Organisers insist the IPL is a domestic Indian tournament with teams allowed to field only four foreign players per match, but local cricketers are already feeling the pinch in the event's second season.
All eight teams are coached by foreigners and only four sides are captained by Indian players.
The fascination with international stars does not end there.
Among those cricketers bought at IPL auctions, seven of the top 10 earners were foreigners.
"This whole talk of IPL being a domestic Indian tournament is a joke," former India captain Ajit Wadekar said. "It is Indian money, our country's money on which foreigners are thriving. But they do not think twice before sacking an Indian."
India star Mohammad Kaif, 28, was shown the door by Rajasthan Royals two days before the IPL's second season started in South Africa because skipper Shane Warne said "he did not fit into the scheme of things". His removal left many fuming.
"It has exposed the complete ruthlessness of the owners," said Sharda Ugra, sports editor of the respected India Today magazine.
"For them it's business first. Unfortunately the Indians seem to be losing out, even the great players."
India's most successful Test captain Sourav Ganguly was replaced at the helm of Kolkata Knight Riders by New Zealander Brendon McCullum.
Rahul Dravid was dumped as captain of Bangalore Royal Challengers after Kevin Pietersen came on board this year while Venkatsai Laxman was sacked as skipper of Deccan Chargers in favour of Adam Gilchrist.
Wadekar wants more Indian coaches. Ugra fears it may not be long before the restriction on foreign players is lifted. - Sapa-AFP