The 8th edition of IPL yet again saw a string of interesting nail biting last over finishes, which would often make you think that they have scripted the play to end on the last ball. But let us not speculate anything. The league has had its dose of match fixers and tax frauds.
Let’s talk about the game now.
The big moral good which was to come out of IPL was that the youth players from various regions would get to play with big international players and under great international coaching staff. Well eight years down the line we have got a fair number of players who have come into national team after shining for their IPL teams. But most of them have already proved their worth for their respective states in 1st class cricket.
So what has IPL become now? An example from the recent edition might bring you more clarity on the scenario.
It was Kings XI Punjab playing Rajasthan Royals at Ahmedabad. After an assault by the foreign players of Kings XI, namely Miller and Marsh; the Rajasthan Royals team hit back in style with their prodigal talent Rahane leading the scoring. Rajasthan Royals are one of the sides led by mentor Dravid, which is still credited a little for it’s youth players. But what now followed was no youth development. The match went on to Super Over. It involves at most 4 major players from a team: one bowling the over and 3 batsmen. Without any doubt when Kings XI got Marsh and Miller for batting, they faced Chris Morris at the bowling end; and in return the Rajasthan Royals played Watson, Faulkner and Steve Smith, where they faced none other than Mitchell Johnson. Did you see any Indian name in the list above?
It was more of a showdown between franchises; which of them is richer and which can rope in a better foreign big fish. Was that the motive behind IPL?
One can always point to the shining side of the coin and point out a long list of players whose lives have turned into overnight success story because of IPL- Sarfaraz Khan, Pravin Tambe, Manish Pandey and the list goes on. But the harm done cannot be blacked out.
It took almost 3 editions for the media to finally point out an unhealthy culture of ‘after match parties’ going on every season. Franchise owners were reportedly treating players with booze and babes at these parties. Young cricketers, just entering the glamorous celebrity world; it is needless to say these parties would have definitely led many of them to lose their track. Not everyone can handle overnight stardom and cash flow. Many untold stories of young talents who stumbled somewhere amidst these flash lights will never come out in open. Is this youth development?
The restriction to play at most 4 foreign players is the only thing stopping the giant money-throwing franchises from putting up a Super star-starting XI. It is definitely one of the good policies put up by the IPL but more stringent rules, and a better system needs to be put in to keep the role of money, stardom and celebrities to a bare minimum.
IPL should be more about cricket and not the craziness.
IPL should be Virat Kohli playing Varun Aaron from opposite teams, and not about the presence of Anushka Sharma on field or her reactions to the game.
IPL needs to start becoming a more serious cricketing tournament or else soon it will just become a month long circus which people enjoy and forget.