By Gunjan Pandey

For many, IPL may be “Indian Premier League”, but I always call it “Itna pyara ladka”.

10 years ago, cricket married entertainment and guess who their offspring was. None other than IPL! It seems cricket was accidentally discovered in England. It should have originated in India instead.

IPL may the best possible manifestation of a cocktail of cricket and entertainment in today’s era and it lures a large number of viewers as well but in the past few seasons, it has turned more into a cash-rich extravaganza rather than a sport which enhances the skills of batsmen and bowlers.

And this poses few questions in front of us which should be pondered upon. Just scratch the surface and the cracks will be visible to you!

Are Players Mere Commodities To Be Sold In Auctions?

As soon as IPL is about to commence and auctions are organized, what I usually hear on television is something along the lines “Virat Kohli 17 crore me bikk gaye”, “Dhoni went under the hammer for 15 crores”, etc. and I can’t resist my laughter afterward.

The next day, I find in newspapers a list of the most expensive players on the front page. And this eventually makes me think that is it justified to bid sportsmen at an auction? Isn’t it against the spirit of sportsmanship and the spirit of cricket itself?

Now, one may even think that paintings are also sold at an auction and so are houses. But painters never bid themselves. Hence, the idea of bidding cricketers seems a little bit awkward to me.

If we look into other sports, it becomes easier to comprehend football leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga, etc. which involve transfers that are comparatively more transparent than IPL since weekly wages are worked out and the whole amount is not handed over to the player.

IPL Is A Talent Producing Factory. Or Is It?

Ravichandran Ashwin, “Sir” Jadeja and Hardik Pandya are some of the byproducts of IPL. But how many of all the cricketers who play in the IPL make it to the national team and have succeeded in preserving the recognition they fetched?

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How many of you remember K. Gowtham and Kamlesh Nagarkoti?

Thus, IPL has brought many new talents in limelight but only a few grab the attention of national team selectors since a club-like format in a limited overs game can only go so far to get you players who can survive a 5-day test match.

IPL Has Made “Match-Fixing” And “Betting” More Prominent

The question was itself raised by the Supreme Court. A ban was put on S. Sreesanth after being accused of match-fixing in 2013.

Moreover, the involvement of Raj Kundra and Meiyappan was noticed as well. This often leads to the suspension of teams and lifetime bans on players for long tenures and is a setback for the players of those teams.

Lalit Modi, the man behind IPL in India was himself accused of misconduct which included rigging bids in the 2010 IPL season and selling media rights without the consent of BCCI.

IPL seems to be a money-minded game since the Pune Warriors India franchise withdrew itself after it failed to pay the full franchise fee of 2013. Thus, IPL has always been in controversies; not for good deeds but for the perils within.

It’s A Threat To Prominent Cricket Formats

ODIs made a debut and became a threat to test cricket. T-20s overruled the existence of ODIs and now the IPL follows the T-20 culture on a club level.

IPL takes a good part of the international calendar. We can just wish that all the forms of game co-exist peacefully. Also, the process of money transaction is not transparent and is completely in the hands of private firms.

Moreover, players head into other series right after IPLs come to an end without even conditioning themselves for that particular format. And this eventually leads to fatigue and lack of concentration among the players.

None of us can forget that India lost 8 overseas tests in a row. We lost to England on our home ground! Can India afford to put a blot on its international ranking for the sake of IPLs?

We’d love to see Virat lifting trophies of the T-20 and ODI World Cups rather than the Indian Premier League trophy.

Even then, despite all odds, IPL still throbs the hearts of many.

It gives three hours of great entertainment to cricket enthusiasts worldwide. However, since the game is enormously profitable, the government should not bear the security costs of the game and provide subsidies to it. The attention should be shifted in removing the opaqueness of the bidding process. The greatest cricketing event in India should now become the platform of energizing the masses.

On a lighter note, I also never understood how cheerleaders egg on players in cricketing events.

Do tell me if you know!

Images: Google Images

Sources: The Telegraph, The Guardian, Wikipedia + more

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