Cricket is a religion in India. This view is time and again being reaffirmed by the Indian Premier League T20 cricket series held in India every year. Currently the fifth version of the IPL T20 cricket series is going on in India. Despite the immense popularity enjoyed by the IPL T20 cricket series, it has got its own merits and demerits.
- Undoubtedly the IPL T20 cricket series promotes cricket in India and elsewhere in the world, particularly the shorter version of the game, T20 cricket.
- The IPL T20 cricket series showcase the money power of the Board of Cricket control in India, besides promoting millionaire franchise holders. IPL T20 series are being held continuously even when the powerful western countries had been smarting under the economic recession. It showed that India was not a country that suffered under economic recession.
- IPL T20 cricket series provides employment opportunities to the thousands of people who were engaged in organizing, conducting the games, pitch curators, advertising people, sports writers, columnists, commentators, umpires, referees, statisticians, scorers, peddlers, small business people etc. Besides, when the cricket teams travel different parts of India to play their T20 matches through air, the air lines that provide those services will win a virtual bumper prize.
- During the entire series, it creates a festival like atmosphere providing wholesome entertainment to the cricket crazy fans throughout India that includes those people who witness the matches directly in the cricket stadium and the people who witness them in their TVs. Hence apart from the revenue earned by the ticket sales for each match, the live telecast rights of the IPL series also fetches millions of rupees.
- Cricket players who are currently in form are in great demand during the players’ auction held by the franchise holders. For example, Ajay Jadeja was sold for a whopping sum of millions of dollars for the current IPL series.
- IPL series also provides earning opportunities even to the retired cricketers at the national and international level. For example Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne the retired Australian cricketers, Stephen Fleming, the New Zealand player, Allan Donald and Jonty Rhodes, the two famous South African players, and India’s Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid are still making millions despite retiring from all forms of the game. Actually IPL do not discriminate a player on the basis of his country, race or religion. Pure merit and their current form is the criterion for selection.Apart from that each player has opportunities for smacking maximum number of sixes or fours in a match, man of the match award, orange caps for scoring centuries etc.The top four teams clash for a semi-final and final berth.The team winning the final match as well as the runner up win heavy prize money in millions of dollars.
- IPL T20 being the shorter version of the game and the matches mostly being held in the evenings and nights pull a heavy crowd and in turn lead to heavy collection of revenue.
- IPL T20 series has encouraged other cricket playing countries such as Sri Lanka to organize their own T20 series.
Thus IPL T20 cricket series is really a money spinner by providing earning opportunities for thousands of people that includes cricketers.
However, IPL T20 cricket series has got its drawbacks too.
- The IPL T20 cricket series has eclipsed many other popular games such as hockey in India which actually need such support.
- The selection policy or criterion for selection of players during the players’ auction is based on their current form. However, one cannot understand the policy of IPL in allowing the retired players to play in the IPL series.
- IPL cricket series is not devoid of corruption from its administrators. Lalit Modi who was the organizer of IPL first series was charged of swindling millions of rupees in organizing the matches. Now Lalit Modi has been declared insolvent.
- Though it is alleged that IPL promotes cricket, the Indian team has not showed any marked improvement either in T20 series or matches or in the tests or in the 50 overs ODIs.On the contrary, the IPL matches sapped the energy of the Indian players, make them spent force and fare poorly in the abroad series.For example, recently Indian team had a 5-0 whitewash in England tour,followed by a 4-0 white wash in the Australian test cricket series.In fact, wisden crticised that Indian team has become wayward in the test series in England and Australia mainly because of IPL T20 cricket series.
- IPL T20 cricket series is also described as an Indian extravaganza that does not serve any purpose except making a few cricketers cash rich and turning a few millionaire franchise holders into billionaires.
- IPL T20 cricket series also become a source for betting in cricket.
- While IPL T20 series provides rich experience to a number of foreign players such as Kevin Peterson, Indian players do not have such exposures.Hence, naturally the Indian players perform poorly in the abroad series.
From the above mentioned pros and cons, despite having some distinct disadvantages, IPL T20 cricket series has become a pillar of strength for India and in fact it boosts her self-confidence as one of the ever growing economies in the world!