Disenchanted with IPL…


I have, for the last few weeks or so, been somewhat disenchanted with the IPL. So much so that I seem to be slowly disengaging with the tournament.

To start with the positives first, I do believe that the IPL has got several things right. Some of these are:

  • The format is right.
  • Limiting the number of teams in the competition to 8.
  • Having home-and-away games.
  • Having a limit of 4 on the number of overseas players that can play any game for a team.
  • Having and enforcing a salary cap.
  • Insisting that each team include at least 4 young players. Although some of these young players haven’t got too many games (and in some cases, none at all), the experience would be truly wonderful for these young guys.
  • The IPL is attracting huge crowds to all games.
  • Apart from the odd glitch here and there, all matches appear to be well-run and managed.

So, given that there are lots of things going well for the IPL, I shouldn’t really be knocking the comp. And I am not really doing that. I just feel that the IPL has become a wee-bit tired and we are now in the business-end of the competition! I thought I would share some of my own views here and see if there is some resonance — not that there needs to be any at all!

There are a few reasons for my disengaged state and although I may not put my finger in all of them, here is a starting list.

Too long:

Is it only me or does everyone else feel that the IPL has been going on ever since time began? While I laud the home-and-away format that the organisers have gone with, any tournament that goes for nearly 50 days starts to resemble the previous installment of the Cricket World Cup in the West Indies: long, dreary, taxing, somnambulism-inducing. Major sporting events around the world have to get over in 2-3 weeks flat. To retain interest, excitement, engagement and involvement over a 50-day period calls for a lot, particularly when country-based, nationalistic and emotional-connections are not involved! A suggestion to the IPL commission would be to have two matches per day on all days of the tournament. Perhaps the tournament could then be squeezed into a 3-week time-frame. Yes, this would mean more cricket more often for the individual teams, but in these days of bloated wallets in India, a bloated bench-capacity should not be a problem! The IPL could increase the salary-cap to $7m and get teams to stack their bench with 20 players who could be rotated in and out of games!

Difficult to form geography-based connections with teams:

I am a Tamil-speaking guy who has lived much of my life in Bangalore. Yet, I feel little connection with either Chennai Super Kings or Bangalore Royal Challengers. At the moment, I am supporting Rajasthan Royals because because of the fairy-tale story and romance that surrounds it! This is not something that the IPL can “fix” easily. This emotional-connection arises either through geography, style-of-play (Liverpool’s style of play Vs Millwall’s style of play, for example) or player-affinity. These things will take time to evolve and are necessarily organic in their context and construction. But unless the IPL starts, supports and grows strong fan-clubs and unless players are deeply connected to specific teams, team-connections and emotional-attachments will take some time to establish. In the absence of such strong attachments, I am merely watching the games to ascertain who is playing well and who is not. I can’t see myself biting my nails in anxiety or anguish if (say) the Chennai Super Kings needs 6 runs off the last over!

On Too late:

This is a peculiar-to-Australia problem. The games start way past midnight. I did watch a few games and I do catch replays. But to do that in a systematic manner over a 50-day period is calling for a bit too much!

Cricket has not been that great/gripping:

Not many may agree with this statement, but after the first week or so, the cricket hasn’t really been that gripping. Yes there are, no doubt, flashes of brilliance every now and then — like a great catch (like the one Chipli took the other night). However, I haven’t really seen sustained brilliance from a player or a clutch of players. They come and they go! Perhaps it is the Twenty20 format that induces this feeling of mediocrity. However, even in the Twenty20 World Cup, one sawa sustained excellence from the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Umar Gul and Misbah-ul-Haq (to name just a few). This seems to be more pot luck than demonstrably sustained excellence!

Other minor issues:

Any tournament needs a fairy tale that grips the attention and engages. The emotional level has been, in my view, somewhat consistent. One has not seen a large bloke from Bermuda running in to bowl to a rampaging Matthew Hayden and getting him bowled! One has not seen an unfancied Team Australia march on to the quarter-finals (as it did at the Soccer World Cup). The only “fairy tale” in this competition is perhaps the strides made by the Rajasthan Royals. They were written off even before a ball was bowled. However, they are the first team to make the semi finals!

I probably switched off the moment the team names were announced! Apart from Delhi Daredevils and perhaps Kolkata Knight Riders, the other names are duds by my reckoning! So much so that I begin to question the imagination (or lack thereof) of the people that chose these names! I can’t, for the life of me, see the Chennai Super Kings stick like Manchester United or Chicago Bulls. How lame is a set of names in which there is a Royal or a King stuck either as a prefix or a suffix to all names? Surely, the advertising gurus could have done better than that lame set of names?

Anyway, these are my thoughts… What do you think?

– Mohan

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11 responses to “Disenchanted with IPL…

  1. Pingback: Disenchantment and money - Cover Points

  2. Too long – 100% with you. I understand that they are trying to get the crowds in the stadium, and holding day matches on work days would not do this. It’s a tough one. They could put two games on at night & let the TV networks select the one they want to show live.

    Support – Yeah again. I only support Mumbai because that’s where I was born, but still even at the start of the tournament, I was more than prepared to walk around saying how rubbish they were – something I’d never do to Leeds United! If support was player based – the whole country would be going for Mumbai because of Sachin.

    Too late – AMEN TO THAT!!!! Thing that shits me is that when there is an early game on, Channel 10 don’t even bother showing it live.
    For me, the only reason I’ve stayed up till god know when watching some games is so that I can do assignments for uni.

    Kinda agree with the rest, but the first three are the most important.

  3. Pingback: Cricket: IPL - Some issues. | The Coach's Box

  4. Too long…It is onyl 56 games ..If you are living in Australia..then I assume you know about National Rugby League (NRL) which has 16 teams and 8 games per week normally over the weekend plus Friday and monday and and 26 weeks in the season + 4 weeks of finals ..Crowd is there in every game…people follow/comment/argue about each game/players etc…Same goes for AFL. These sports are followed like a religion here..
    The only problem I see with IPL is that the games are too close between…i.e 1 game every day is too much for people following it..People need time to recover…reducing it to 1 round would’ve been a better way to start.

  5. govinda iyer

    Mohan et al,
    Why do we need to support a single team–because of birth or language or a player–then you end up coughing up money to buy shirts etc–and the players and promoters laugh all the way to THEIR banks

    Just sit back and watch the games when you can–appreciate the good performances–and yell at the TV , at the top of your voice , all profonities at bad performers and bad losers like Bhajji

    Who cares if Mallaya or SRK lose money in Cricket promotio n–they will claim tax deduction anyway

    Don’t be the sucker that is supposed to be born every minute!!

  6. Srikanth Mangalam

    In sharp contrast, I am totally enchanted with the IPL. While I certainly don’t believe it is too long (three hours a day for 56 days is totally acceptable), I wouldn’t mind having two games a day as well.
    While my loyalties clearly lie with Chennai, I do find myself supporting Mumbai and Delhi as well due to presence of Sachin in one case, and the fact that Delhi is probably the one time that has played exceedingly well without much luck.

    On too late in Australia?? Sorry mate, you folks down under get the benefit of most cricket played around the world, let us in North America enjoy some coverage in sane times for once…

    While some games (particularly the ones involving Bangalore and Rajasthan) have been boring or not to my liking, in general I have found the matches to be interesting. The key, I believe, is to not miss a game even if you are watching reruns or highlights. That keeps the momentum on.

    I also believe that the trading/new recruits for next year’s tournament will make it more exciting.

  7. Go Warnie!

    Everything else has been pretty ho hum.

  8. Would you like to see Franchises being able to buy/sell players mid-contract?

  9. @currycricketer?

    Why not? It happens in EPL soccer till a cut-off date. So, why not? As long as everything is still under the salary cap, I see no reason for it not happening…

  10. It was boring to see few players always perform or non perform. But here in IPL the combination of players and performance and entertainment is entirely new… So it is good, it is too long.. it is the people who have to choose the match they want to follow instead of following all the matches.

    http://www.crix.in/searchVideo.php?search=jayasuriya

  11. dude they city based ssytem is rocking… (for the ppl in mumbai atleast).. we are more anxious for MUMBAI INDIANS matches as compared to india’s matches..

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