IPL inc.

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Cricket

Everyone loves IPL. It’s fun, its enjoyment, its instant cricket. Indian & people all around the world love this format of cricket simply because it provides a complete package of entertainment. It’s an ultimate merger of cricketing Gods & the Bollywood superstars. Teams score huge amount of runs with Bollywood stars & multinational company bosses keep supporting them. Players like Gayle, Sehwag & Dhoni hit dozen of sixes and keep reminding bowlers that it’s a batsman game. Players, IPL Bosses, Indian Cricket Board & TV Channels are minting money and people love this ultimate combination of Glamour and Cricket. IPL 2012 auctions are also making headlines. Cricketers & Bosses keep getting richer.

In this whole scenario, we are forgetting one thing; the performance of Indian Cricket Team.

India has lost all the eight test matches in England & Australia. They also lost the ODI series in England. They were unable to win any international match on their tour to England. This is rather surprising for a team which won the world cup a few months ago.

Indian batting line is the strongest batting line in terms of record and experience. Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Gambhir & Yuvraj are all world class batsmen having scored tons of runs. Still, they only scored 300 once in eight innings in England and only twice in their tour to Australia. These batting Giants were unable to cop against the fully fit & hardworking bowlers of England & Australia. This is acceptable in one or two odd innings but it’s unbelievable to see in eight test matches.

One can argue that Indians usually struggle in alien conditions. But that’s a thing of the past. India played brilliantly in their 2003 & 2007 tour of Australia. Aussies had to play really competitive cricket in the above mentioned series in order to cope with India. Indians even scored over 700 runs in Sydney.

So what went wrong with the invincible unit? I think it’s the IPL which is hurting Indian cricket.

IPL only thinks about revenue. It runs for about two months. Players have to compete in 12 to 15 intense matches. They can’t take any match lightly since the stakes are very high. Their bosses depend on their performance. Their next contract depends on their performance. Fans want them to score boundaries and take wickets on every ball. Cheerleaders keep cheering their performance regardless of their love of the game. So it’s money, money & only money which rules IPL.

Okay. It’s not too bad. People enjoy games. Players & Officials make money. What’s wrong with this club based T20 cricket.

The problem is that Players are already engaged in too much international cricket. Unlike soccer, which depends mainly on clubs and league fixtures with having very few international commitments, Cricket’s main lifeline is International cricket. Nearly every team is playing 10 Test matches a year with nearly 20-25 ODI’s and T20’s. In addition, they are also expected to give their hundred percent in tournaments like T20 World Cup, ODI World Cup, Asia Cup & occasional triangular Tournaments here and there.

Therefore, when players are engaged in hardcore tournaments such as IPL they are bound to lose their motivation to perform 100% for their country. They simply burnout & when strong teams like Australia and England put them under pressure, they simply can’t handle the pressure. That’s what happening to India. They have no answer to the focused and formidable sides.

Winning & losing is all part of the game. But the real problem is the ease with which teams are beating India. They lost four out of eight test matches by an innings margin while lost other three matches by nearly 300 runs. These are huge defeats, especially for a recent no.1 ranked side in the world.

Although they won 2-0 against West Indies at home but their performance was far from convincing.

They were bowled out for less than 300 in the first innings of the first test & luckily survived the last test. The inexperience of West Indies largely contributed to the Indian success. Remember, this is against the side which is only ranked higher then Bangladesh in Test match cricket.

Indian bowling has also suffered as England scored 500 in 3 matches while Australia scored 600 on two occasions. They were also unable to defend target in ODI matches & the worrying aspect is that it’s happening to them in nearly every match.

Therefore, it’s high time that Indian cricket officials should take these defeats on serious note and should redesign the IPL format in a way that Players get appropriate rest between the matches. ICC should also intervene in this issue and ensure that players get an appropriate off season and don’t only run after the money.

IPL should only be allowed to facilitate cricket not to ruin it. God save the Game!

Asim Gul Bhootani

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