Carl Hooper has commented on the IPL saying that it is currently the biggest threat that world cricket is facing. He isn’t the first one and probably not the last one to criticise it. Many former cricketers have criticised it and even politicians have called it a nexus between money and cricketers. I wonder why politicians of all people call it a corrupt league!
I personally beg to differ. I believe it’s the best thing to have happened to cricket in recent times; its benefits can be reaped not only by Indian cricket but also world cricket.
Starting with Indian cricket, people say it lures the youngsters with money but I believe it guarantees them a secure future. Before the IPL, it was only the players who made it to the national team who were sure of their future, but not all those who were left behind in the domestic arena. There are many players who have represented India but are now struggling to make their ends meet. With IPL, even the fringe players can be assured of their future and give more time and dedication to the game without having to worry about the money aspect.
Also, due to IPL, players get the recognition they deserve. The likes of Rajat Bhatia, Shikhar Dhawan, Manvinder Bisla have become household names thanks to the IPL. Probably no one ever would have known of their existence had it not been for the IPL. It has also given the selectors a chance to see how these players will perform at the international stage, because the IPL is probably the closest you can get to replicate the pressure and expectations at the international level.
Now coming to how it will help cricket globally: IPL as we all know has become a global phenomenon. It has attracted viewers worldwide. This has helped in publicising the game. In order to reach the heights of football, such leagues are necessary so that more people start watching and enjoying the game. This will help popularise the game in countries where it is not yet famous.
Even other countries like Australia, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have come out with their own leagues on the lines of IPL. This will help these boards earn more money and also popularise the game further. If other countries are following it then surely IPL isn’t as bad as it is being projected to be.
IPL has its own set of challenges to face. One of the major challenges is to ensure that no match fixing takes place. A strong anti-corruption unit independent of the board needs to look into any charges that crop up. And those found guilty need to be punished. Also, I believe the league needs to be run by former cricketers and not politicians and business men. Cricket should be the main attraction and not the glamour that comes along with it. Also, separate window should be given to the IPL by the ICC to avoid clashes with international matches.
IPL is in its initial stages and its here to stay whether we like it or not. I believe if managed properly, it can go along the lines of English Premier League and be one of the most successful leagues in the world. But again, management is crucial and also it’s necessary that we as Indians support the league rather than always making it the villain, blaming it for everything and anything that’s wrong with Indian and international cricket!