Today as the dust is settling down after the conclusion of another season of IPL, I in this blog will share my views on the super franchise and whether it has lived up to the expectation. Yes, it is the most expensive franchise of the cricketing world today, but that is not my story here. I am more concern with the actual DNA and the idea behind this mega event.
For the first few iterations of IPL it was all about TRP, sponsors, auctions, cheer girls, parties, glitz and glamor. Everyone was following who did what? Who said what? Who earned what? Who is dating whom? Basically anything and everything apart from cricket. The game of cricket was lost in this madness of IPL somewhere and not even officials were concerned. Then there was the ever existing scams which surfaced and took some sheen out of the fanfare. I remember during the IPL days there were no big ticket movie releases, even cinema halls were used to show matches. Television shows and serials use to be just fillers between matches.
Things have changed now, Cinema launches are back, and people are not that crazy any more about IPL. I have met lot of people who are not following the event at all. There is an over kill of cricket overall. There is only this much a game can give you. Even soccer calendar is not this tight. The question you start asking ‘Is IPL dead? The answer to that question is a ‘no’ definitely not. There is a life cycle to every product. Everything which is born has to mature and eventually die. IPL is maturing and only now after the glamour bubble has busted it has started to deliver what was promised by the format.
IPL apart from being a highly commercial venture was also designed to serve the game of cricket. One of the key area of contribution was to bring to limelight the lesser known and emerging players from Indian domestic cricket. We before the IPL rarely followed the domestic first class circuit. The only player we ever knew were the once playing for India in Internationals. The talent which was hidden in the wilderness was going much unnoticed. IPL has brought those talent to the forefront and these players have delivered. The recently concluded IPL 7 will be known for Indian domestic player with the likes of Manish Pandey, Wridiman Saha, Vohra who played brilliantly in the season and the final match. The most valuable player of the tournament went to Maxwell but what was good to see is that there were so many Indian players in that list. Indian player feature aplenty in the top batsman and bowlers list. There are players like Saha and Akshit who have been picked up by the Indian national squad to play in the upcoming one day tour of Bangladesh and test series in England.
IPL gives a platform to domestic player where they can play shoulder to shoulder with some of the best names in international cricket. It is said that you are known by the company you keep. These domestic payers are playing with and against the best international player. Just imagine the exposure this event is giving to the players who would have otherwise got this opportunity only if they have got the chance to play international cricket. This exposure also helps these players in raising the bar of their own game. Add to that an array of international standard coaches, physio’s serviced by some of the yester year greats of the game. The domestic players are in for a treat of their life time as they are getting their share of limelight and recognition. As they keep performing in IPL they brighten their chance to pay for India and player who are already in the side feel the heat and are not complacent. They know now if they don’t perform there is a equally talented player ready to take his place.
The third area where IPL has made a difference is that lot of domestic plays who use to get peanuts in terms of payout are getting good money. In the past Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have been generous towards players who play internationals but are not very financially open towards player in the domestic circuit. In IPL private team management are paying good remuneration to the lesser known Indian players. The teams are also focusing on hiring good Indian talent against international players as it gives more flexibility and variety to the team composition. Also the financial risk is much lesser than hiring an International player. IPL 7 has especially proved that having stars in your team does not guarantee success. If you see the final results and statistics you will see the influence of domestic Indian players.
Overall it has been a great IPL season as it was cricket which was the eventual winner. The finals yesterday was the cherry on the cake as it was nail-biting and lived up to the hype. I have yet to see a competition where all the payoff games and final have been thrillers. I look forward to next year for another exciting season till then its Team India on international waters.