IPL - A look at the silver lining


Many believe the IPL to be a nothing but ‘hit and giggle cricket’—it is cash rich, fast, colorful and entertaining. Yet, not really cricket. Players with a specific skill set rule the roost while the sponsors and franchisees make hay while the sun shines. The audience too seems to revel in its larger than life persona. Reason enough for the purists to look the other way. But is it really that flimsy? The league, now in its fifth edition, deserves a closer look.
 
As incredible as it sounds, an IPL season is make-or-break for a lot of cricketers. I’m not talking about the million dollar babies of the IPL, but the Robin Bist and Parvinder Awana’s of India’s domestic cricket, who’ve done ever so well in the previous Ranji season. The IPL is their big ticket to stardom.
 
Audience

If one really wants to know the importance of the IPL in a domestic cricketer’s life, you’d do well by being a fly on the wall of a state team’s dressing room for an entire season. While the world, quite naively blames the IPL for every sin, the young cricketer in India will give his right arm to be a part of this annual event. It’s only just for him to be so enthusiastic, for a cricketer, like any other artist, wants to showcase his wares in front of an audience. Since there are no takers for domestic cricket, these players always play to empty stands and the IPL gives them the opportunity to emerge out of oblivion.
 
Recognition

In the pre-IPL era, the only way to break into the Indian team was to do well in the domestic circuit. It goes without saying that it takes a lot to finish amongst the top 3 performers in a season drawn over 5 months. Since the inception of the IPL though, the selectors have started rewarding the IPL performers immediately with the India cap. This fact is not lost on first-class cricketers. Now, whether that is in itself a wise move by the wise men, is subject to debate.
 
The best part about performing in the IPL is that one doesn’t even have to finish with a purple or an orange cap (that’s reserved for the marquee players). Just impressive performances over 7 weeks does the job.
 
Therefore, it’s quite natural for domestic cricketers to treat the IPL at par with the first-class cricket, if not higher sometimes.
 
Money

While everyone expects cricketers to play for the love of the game, it’s unfair to assume that they would continue without getting reasonably paid, especially in today’s day and age when the jobs have completely dried up. For most first-class cricketers making money by playing cricket is their only source of income and even though first-class cricket has become lucrative, it still isn’t a patch on the IPL riches. With the knowledge that one injury or a bad patch can abruptly finish a career, a couple of seasons in the IPL provide that much needed financial security for the future.
 
Perhaps, it’s sensible to call the IPL the dark cloud hovering over Indian cricket, with of course that silver lining.

Recent Articles By Aakash Chopra

Pagination

(58 stories)

Matches

SPECIALS

  • Five memorable moments from the India-West Indies match that don’t fade away
    The West Indies are evoking their legendary teams of the 1980s

    As part of a generation of cricket fans too young to remember Viv Richards or Clive Lloyd, we relied on mythology to learn about those inimitable West Indies teams of the 1970s and ‘80s who ruthlessly crushed opponents to the tune of their magnetic rhythm. Perhaps no team has ever transcended the sport quite like those inimitable West Indies, comprised of a collection of effervescent players that even captured the hearts of opposition fans. Legendary pacemen Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh were in their primes, and a young Brian Lara beguiled with the bat but it was obvious the West Indies were on the slide. More »The West Indies are evoking their legendary teams of the 1980s

    Five memorable moments from the India-West Indies match that don’t fade away

    As part of a generation of cricket fans too young to remember Viv Richards or Clive Lloyd, we relied on mythology to learn about those inimitable West Indies teams of the 1970s and ‘80s who ruthlessly crushed opponents to the tune of their magnetic rhythm. Perhaps no team has ever transcended the sport quite like those …

  • ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2016: Marlon Samuels, broody and loving it
    Marlon Samuels, broody and loving it Bharat Sundaresan

    IT’S A steaming hot day in Nagpur, but as always you can’t make that out by looking at Marlon Samuels. Then as Stokes looked to reciprocate with a few verbals, he would say, “The English boys don’t learn because whenever they talk to me, I score runs.” Back in 2012, he got into plenty of scuffles with the Australians, later claiming, “the Aussies only know to give lip, but you give them back and they don’t know how to handle it.” But the magic of Marlon is that even when he is hot under the collar, you hardly can make it out, for he remains entrenched in his unflappable cocoon, while also being cool, calm and enigmatic. More »Marlon Samuels, broody and loving it

    ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2016: Marlon Samuels, broody and loving it

    IT’S A steaming hot day in Nagpur, but as always you can’t make that out by looking at Marlon Samuels. Then as Stokes looked to reciprocate with a few verbals, he would say, “The English boys don’t learn because whenever they talk to me, I score runs.” Back in 2012, he got into plenty of scuffles with the Australians, …

  • Smith sad to see Watson miss out on fairytale finish
    Unfairly mocked and maligned, Shane Watson will be missed from international cricket

    Loved by the Indian public for his IPL performances, the 34-year-old does not evoke similar sentiments from his compatriots. More »Unfairly mocked and maligned, Shane Watson will be missed from international cricket

    Smith sad to see Watson miss out on fairytale finish

    Loved by the Indian public for his IPL performances, the 34-year-old does not evoke similar sentiments from his compatriots.

 

Regulars