IPL: what it should have and what it has done.

IPL: what it should have and what it has done.

IPL: The hub of cricketainment

Very few would have thought that India,after the 2007 world cup debacle could make a match out of the inaugural twenty20 world cup in South Africa. A new captain and a bunch of youngsters were expected to return home considering the lack of experience and t20, a relatively young format back then. But as soon as one of cricket’s biggest powerhouses performed the inevitable, the format caught the eye for business prospects.

The real birth of twenty20 may have been in England but India’s surprising win gave it the glamour it needed to rise. The format’s rise since,has been fascinating to say the least. Lalit Modi, the then chairman of the BCCI came up with a plan after India’s famous win. A mix of money, glamour, entertainment and cricket, the Indian Premier League was born in 2008 modelled upon the biggest sports tournament in the world- the English Premier League. Criticism flew in from all quarters but the mastermind Modi went through with his plan. What resulted was an extravaganza that is now considered the money hub of cricketers. Everybody related in some way to this big business initiative somehow knew the impact it could have on Indian cricket. What the fans and media knew was, “IPL will help in raising the standard of cricket in India and abroad”, or atleast that’s what the corporate bosses promised.

No doubt, IPL has unearthed some talents and helped youngsters get exposure to the ruthlessness of international cricket, nobody is really interested in seeing the darker, horrifying side of this glamour-ridden yearly tournament. The 2008 version saw the rise of the tagged underdogs Rajasthan Royals winning the trophy under the wily old Shane Warne. Swapnil Asnodkar,Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja. India seemed all set to dominate world cricket. A first round exit in the next twenty20 world cup raised a few alarms. As India kept winning ODIs under MS Dhoni for quite some time, the critics kept quiet for some time. As the IPL continued to grow in size and stature, the inflow of money and glamour followed simultaneously. Franchisees started sending scouts abroad and unearth talents from foreign shores.

Considering the increasingly great performances by the foreign players, the initial motive of IPL drowned into cold water. The franchisees started looking for tried and tested match-winners rather than discovering talents and helping them groove into future stars. As mystery spinners and big hitters spun the tournament into a tizzy, the young Indian players started changing their basic styles to play in the IPL in lure of money and stardom rather than look for an Indian cap,something that could take them ages considering the politics involved in sport in this country. Teams like Australia and West Indies took note of performances of their players in this cash-rich extravaganza and looked to develop them into quality players. What India did, instead was to keep it’s idiotic selection policy in place as before and overlook youngsters who performed. Players of a few specific teams started getting preferential treatment over others and in between all this melodrama, the quality of Indian cricket degraded. Yes, Indian cricket is still dominant in international cricket on spin supportive pitches, performances of foreign soil has been nothing less than a disaster.

What IPL should have done and what it has, is a difference that cant quite be measured in units known to mankind. India may win the twenty20 world cup 2014 and the IPL may continue to be at the helm for ages, silent critics would continue to bemoan the way,it has and will hurt Indian cricket on the whole.