The IPL Hysteria

IPL or the Indian Premier League is certainly the most celebrated tournament of our country and the cricket world but within a decade of reaching a stratospheric heights it had its fair share of controversies to complement.

For the IPL to have taken off in a country whose cricket board scoffed at the very format of T20 shows that the tale of the tournament’s success is a parable of the powerful combination of serendipity and opportunism.

It was in 2008, in the result of India’s shocking World Cup crusade in the West Indies followed by the drifting of an opponent T20 League – Indian Cricket League – by the Essel Group, that the BCCI at long last chose to begin its own T20 League and named Lalit Modi, who conceptualized it, as its preeminent chief.

The ‘full authority’ given to Modi by the BCCI had its rises just as downswings as the smooth previous IPL Commissioner made it the most blazing property in the game with his creative thoughts related to advertising accomplices – IMG.

The IPL launched in its first year to strange highs even before the beginning of the opposition. The offer of its eight establishment groups by the BCCI for countless dollars got the extravagant of the cricket world. This was trailed by the remarkable player sell off when Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned into the main ever million-dollar purchase in world cricket with CSK, possessed by India Cements, offering effectively to purchase the Ranchi-conceived wicket guardian batsman, expanded the extravagance further.

Trouble started from the second year of the tournament itself as it had to be held off shores, in South Africa, as its dates clashed with India’s General Elections.

The end of the 2010 edition — held in India after a one-year gap — saw Mr. Modi being thrown out of not only the IPL but also from the BCCI for life for alleged financial irregularities. Mr. Modi, accused of violating government regulations in the running of the IPL, then went to London where he is based now citing threats to his life from the underworld.

One of the original franchises — Deccan Chargers — made its exit after a few years to be replaced by the Sun Risers Hyderabad while two new franchises bought for huge amounts — Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Sahara Pune Warriors — were disbanded by the BCCI for non-compliance of IPL rules.

On-field the controversies have chased the T20 League as well.

The slapgate involving Harbhajan Singh and S. Sreesanth in the inaugural edition, was followed by spot-fixing allegations in 2013 when three Royals players were alleged to have indulged in corrupting the game — including Sreesanth and Mumbai left arm spinner Ankit Chavan — and were banned for life by the BCCI.

This was followed by the allegations of betting during IPL by two team owners — Gurunath Meiyappan of CSK and Raj Kundra of Royals —which has culminated in them being banned for life by the Lodha Committee and the suspension of the two IPL teams for a couple of years from the competition.

Since 2008, most of top stars in the cricketing world have been taking a collective break from international and domestic cricket to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) that happens mostly in a two-month window between March and May. In short, during this time period the IPL has been the cynosure of the cricketing world’s eyes at large. Looking back, even though it may seem inevitable that viewership in cricket would call for a shorter format, it wasn’t really obvious at the time. In fact, it seems rather incredible today that the BCCI and India were quite indifferent to T20’s charms initially. But what contributes to the enduring appeal of the IPL? What are the various factors that have made the league what it is today — the biggest commercial property outside international cricket (and quite likely to overtake it soon)? The answers lie in two major factors — timing and scheduling.

The first reason for the popularity of the IPL and T20 format, as it has been with many commercial products, has been the factor of timing. Around the turn of the millennium, the last bastion of spectatorship for the first-class game — England — had started witnessing lower turnouts. Especially, the younger generation were preferring to adopt other sports in favour of cricket.

12 years after the first edition, it is safe to say that cricket hasn’t been the same ever since. The IPL is the most attended cricket league in the world and rank sixth among all sports leagues. In 2010 the IPL became the first sporting event in the world to be broadcasted live on Youtube. The brand value of IPL was estimated to be US $3. 2 billion in 2014. According to BCCI, the 2015 IPL Season contributed 11. 5 million to the GDP of the Indian economy.

Featured Image Credits: NDTV

Sloka Roy