3 reasons why the IPL must go the BBL route and reduce the number of games

BBL - Perth Scorchers v Sydney Thunder
BBL - Perth Scorchers v Sydney Thunder

Apart from the Indian Premier League (IPL), Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) is among one of the most prominent T20 leagues across the globe. However, the tournament’s popularity has failed to match that of the IPL.

As a result, Cricket Australia (CA) recently confirmed that BBL matches will be reduced from 61 to 43 in future seasons.

The BBL has been played on a home-and-away schedule since 2018-19, with each side playing 14 matches in the tournament that goes on for nearly two months.

However, declining interest among crowds and unimpressive TV ratings, as well as overseas players’ reluctance to play the full competition, are being seen as some of the reasons behind the move to reduce the number of games.

Unlike the BBL, the IPL was expanded from eight to 10 teams during the 2022 season. The number of matches automatically increased from 60 to 74, with Gujarat Titans (GT) and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) joining the existing eight franchises.

As per reports, the organizers are planning to expand the lucrative T20 league even further in the coming seasons. Unlike the BBL, popularity is definitely not an issue with the IPL.

However, we analyze three reasons why the Indian T20 league must also consider reducing the number of games instead of doing the opposite.

#1 Too many games lead to viewer fatigue

Gujarat Titans made their debut in the 2022 season. Pic: BCCI
Gujarat Titans made their debut in the 2022 season. Pic: BCCI

The viewership ratings of IPL 2022 made for impressive numbers. And while that speaks of the success of the IPL, one of the key reasons behind the interest among fans last season was the addition of GT and LSG.

There was plenty of curiosity among viewers about how the two new franchises would perform. Luckily for the T20 league, both sides came up with highly impactful performances in their debut season, with Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat even going on to lift the title in their maiden season.

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In the past, there have been instances of fans’ attention being divided. It is a question of how much is too much. The Indian cricket team plays pretty much around the year. All the big stars from the team are also seen in the IPL. There is bound to be fatigue among viewers and the tournament organizers must be wary of the same.

#2 Quality of IPL should not be compromised

A game between MI and RCB. Pic: BCCI
A game between MI and RCB. Pic: BCCI

The concept of the more the merrier does not fit into all situations. Speaking to PTI last year, current IPL chairman Arun Dhumal proclaimed that they have plans to increase the number of matches in a season to 94 matches in five years. He commented:

“Teams will stay at 10 only. If you increase that, it becomes difficult to have the tournament in one go. We are looking at 74 games to begin with for the first two seasons, then 84 and if things permit may be 94 in the fifth year of the media rights cycle, that itself would make it a long enough event.”

The IPL may now, officially, be the second most lucrative sporting league in the world. However, it shouldn’t look to compete with the football leagues, where a game ends in 90 minutes. T20 matches take a much longer duration to complete and increasing the number of games might reduce the interest not just among fans, but players as well.

This might sound a bit bizarre considering the hefty pay packages that the players get. But turning them into commodities and expecting them to perform like a robot is unlikely to deliver the desired results.

There is bound to come a time when cricketers might feel lost or uninterested when they have to play an inexplicably high number of games.

#3 Will help in player workload management

Indian players are overburdened with cricketing assignments. Pic: BCCI
Indian players are overburdened with cricketing assignments. Pic: BCCI

Following the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) recent review meeting, an official statement was released in which it was revealed that the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and IPL franchises will work together to monitor the workload of 20 Indian players who are likely to be part of the ODI World Cup later in the year.

The decision was taken after a number of key Indian players suffered injuries in 2022. Lead pacer Jasprit Bumrah played only a handful of games last year as he was nursing a back injury.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja missed the T20 World Cup in Australia after suffering a freak knee injury during the Asia Cup in the UAE. Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar were also constantly in and out of the side.

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The fact that the BCCI has asked the NCA and IPL franchises to work in tandem to monitor a set of key Indian players is a clear indication that they are aware of the growing player workload.

As such, the cricket board would do well to reduce some of the burden on the cricketers by cutting down on the number of games instead of increasing the same.

Also Read: 3 players who can captain Delhi Capitals (DC) if Rishabh Pant is unfit for IPL 2023

Get IPL 2023 Live Score along with Points Table & Schedule Updates at Sportskeeda.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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