Top 5 Twenty20 cricket leagues in the world
1. Indian Premier League (India)
The brainchild of the richest cricket board among the Test-playing nations, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is India’s domestic T20 extravaganza, complete with glitz, glam and moolah. With an estimated brand value of $2.99 billion, as of 2013, it is the most high-profile showpiece in cricketing history.
Conceived in 2008, both as a result of India winning the T20 World crown and in response to the rival Indian Cricket League, the tournament itself features a potpourri of cricket and entertainment – with a few Bollywood personalities having a stake in most of the franchises. Initially, each franchise had an icon player, who would be paid 15% more than the player who earned the most in that team. After the third season, this practice was abolished.
The tournament has been rife with controversies – former BCCI Vice President and the IPL’s first Commissioner Lalit Modi was suspended on charges of impropriety pertaining to the Kochi Tuskers Kerala; numerous spot-fixing allegations, rampant match-fixing and betting scandals, etc. have also affected the tournament adversely.
Nevertheless, it still remains a huge draw as a large number of well-known international players have turned out for various franchises – including the likes of Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey, Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis, etc. Retired Indian players such as Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly have also been crowd-pullers, as has been the Little Master – Sachin Tendulkar.
It is also famous for giving prominence to a relatively large number of unknown cricketers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one such example.
India middle-order batsman Suresh Raina is the highest run-getter across all six seasons, while Lasith Malinga is the highest wicket-taker. Despite the controversies, and change of sponsors – Pepsi took over from DLF – the IPL still outscores the other leagues in terms of revenues as well as viewership.