IPL was started with much fanfare in 2008. It was regarded as the next big thing in cricket. Under the able guidance of Lalit Modi, it started off really well. It was inspired by the highly popular EPL (English Premier League). Since its inception, it has caught the eyes of players and viewers alike. It brought Bollywood and corporates under one roof. It resulted in a huge amount of money being poured into the game. Presence of Bollywood stars during matches raised the glamour quotient. Pay-package of international players increased by leaps and bound. Players who appeared for a season, started drawing much more than what they were paid by their respective boards. This has lured a number of international cricketers to cut short their international career. Many others have become freelancers. This has resulted in questions being raised over a player’s loyalty for his country. There is no harm in players opting for these leagues which offer them lucrative money but definitely it should not be at the expense of the country. It was only when they played for their country that their exemplary performance got noticed by the franchise.
IPL, in spite of its money and glamour quotient, was projected as a league for nurturing young Indian talent. Youngsters get to share dressing room with the greats of the game. Useful tips from the seniors in the team really helps them improve their game. Truly, IPL has helped in unearthing new talent. Just that it has been in the news for a number of wrong reasons, its contribution to Indian cricket has taken a backseat. This tournament provides great opportunity for budding cricketers from India to showcase their talents. They get to learn the nuances of the game while playing along side top cricketers from around the globe. Owing to the popularity of this tournament, it gets wide media coverage. As a result of which a player who performs really well, stands a strong chance of making it to the Indian team. Saurabh Tiwary, who has featured in a couple of ODI’s for India, sums up how good performances in IPL can provide you an opportunity to play for India. In one of the interviews, he stated that he had been playing exceedingly well in the domestic circuit for quite sometime, but it never caught the attention of the selectors. But a couple of good seasons with Mumbai Indians earned him an Indian cap.
Every thing has its pro and cons. IPL is all about entertainment for the public but for cricketers it’s just serious cricket. Most franchises are criticized for holding late night parties after matches. I do not see any problem with it for cricketers are human beings, they also like to hang out and party after a stressful day in the field. It is important here to draw a line too. Cricketers should never forget that they are role models for the society, hence it’s imperative that they maintain a certain level of dignity when in a public place.
IPL, being a domestic tournament, does not come under ICC control. This has made it prone to match fixing. Of late BCCI has realised this and each franchise has been made aware of it. They will be solely responsible if any player contracted with them is found to be involved in some wrong doings. This has brought some sanity to the tournament which has been plagued with a number of controversies.
IPL has provided us with a number of gifted talents. Many of them have made it to the Indian team and proved their worth. Raina, Ashwin, Jadeja to name a few, have been major finds from IPL. Still I am not fully convinced with the theory of selecting cricketers just on the basis of a good IPL season. Domestic circuit is the best platform for a cricketer to nurture his skills. The more he plays in the domestic circuit, the better he gets.
After every series loss , IPL is billed as one of the reasons, which I believe is totally unfair. Even recently, when India failed to qualify for the semis in T20 WC, few pointed out IPL as one of the reasons. Some even went as far to suggest that owing to the money involved, players have become more loyal to their franchise than to their country.
We have to stop blaming IPL for each and every loss we suffer at home or away in any format. I believe none of the players do any wrong by appearing in IPL matches, for it provides them a handsome package and a secure future. This is testimony to the hard work the cricketer has put in over the years. Not all players get a chance to play in this tournament. You have to be the best to be here. It’s simply unfair to undermine the players’ commitment for they try to give their best whenever they come onto the field.
Let’s accept that IPL has totally redefined the game of cricket. It has brought glamour and money in the game. Its fan base is increasing at a rapid pace, which is really good sign for cricket as a game.