BCCI has recently confirmed that IPL will be played for a longer duration in the future. The extension of the IPL window will also change the dynamics in international cricket in a positive way but can also hamper it in a way.
Indian Premier League is the best tournament around the world and it has opened a pandora of opportunities for players. When domestic cricket in England first adopted the shortest format with aim of increasing the dropping viewership the world looked at the format as something bizarre. The first T20I was played in 2005 and there was uncertainty about the format. In an era where batters were supposed to build their innings steadily, the format encouraged them to play with an aggressive approach. Several concerns were raised over the format for years but it has thrived continuously and has become the most popular.
Indian Premier League was started in 2008 and it displayed the power of T20 to the world. The tournament got a great response from fans as it was an entertainer. The game was over in around four hours and the people were able to watch it after their office times unlike sitting in front of the TV for long hours in ODIs and Tests. Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural edition of the tournament which bought glamour to cricket. Money was soon flowing into the game and the young players also received lucrative cash prizes for their performances. Over the years, IPL has benefitted the game and mainly the players in enormous ways.
Just when there was a possibility of the audience turning away from the game due to its longevity over other sports, IPL bought revival along with it. Now, there are some IPL fans who don’t follow international cricket but they follow the tournament with the same enthusiasm as a cricket lover. Now, there have been continuous talks of extending the IPL window, and BCCI secretary Jay Shah has also confirmed the same this year.
“We are in discussions with the ICC (International Cricket Council) and several other cricket boards to have an exclusive window for the IPL. Let me assure you that there will be a two-and-a-half-month window in the next ICC FTP (Future Tours Programme) calendar so that all top international players can participate,” Shah had said to Reuters.
With an extension in the tournament’s window, the decision will have some pros and cons to it and it becomes important to highlight them. First of all, the biggest advantage of having more matches is emerging talents displaying their ability on the big stage. Before the start of the latest edition, critics hinted at the possibility that the quality may decline as with 10 teams participating the teams might add players to their squad just for sake of completing the minimum number of players they should have. However, the tournament showed the other side as many emerging Indian players displayed their talent. Players like Tilak Varma or Sai Sudarsan played well but many Indian young pacers were also brilliant. Mohsin Khan impressed the most while Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh got their international debut.
Another positive factor of having a longer IPL window is the opportunities it will provide. The Indian players in the domestic circuit will get a chance to play against some international starts in the league. Also, associate cricketers like Rashid Khan are also bought by the franchises and so it will be beneficial for the game as associate nations play against top-quality sides on rare occasions.
Also, the tournament has increased the payscale of Indian cricketers and the money has trickled down to domestic tournaments as well. To take an example in 2008 MS Dhoni was earning Rs 60 lakh from his annual grade A contract. In 2010 he was earning Rs 1 crore for the same grade and the amount has been increasing since then. Also, thanks to BCCI becoming the richest cricket board around the globe, the pay scale for Ranji Trophy has increased continuously. The domestic players used to earn Rs 5000 per first-class match in 1999 according to an article written by Ajay Ratra on Sportskeeda. The salary has now reached Rs 1,40,000 per match for first-class cricketers, BCCI has also increased the payment recently as they announced a new match fee of Rs 2,40,000 in Ranji Trophy matches. All these boosts in players’ salary have been possible due to the financial benefits the tournament bring along with it.
The media rights for the next five years were sold for a whopping amount of INR 48,390 Crores recently. The amount will provide hefty salaries to the international players and will pour money into the domestic circuit as well. BCCI can improve the infrastructure and overall sitting arrangement in the stadiums. The revenue reaped by BCCI through IPL plays a role in boosting domestic cricket in India. The extension of the IPL window will serve that purpose as Indian domestic players might see a further rise in their salaries in the future.
A stretched run for the tournament will bring many advantages with it but it might also influence the game in a negative way. The increase in the number of matches will make the schedule tighter for players and they can feel lethargic to play international cricket regularly. In recent times, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah have taken a rest from various bilateral series played by India. Workload management was the reason behind it. Also, KL Rahul got injured after the IPL.
Imagine international cricket without the presence of big stars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes, and Jos Buttler as they are taking rest more frequently and play most of the matches in IPL.In such a scenario international cricket will miss the appealing element and it may impact the viewership. These players have their own fan club and people cheer for them every game. Without them playing, the audience can turn away from international cricket.
The unavailability of elite players will also hamper the game’s overall quality. You rarely see a batter in T20 cricket focusing on his technique and on scoring runs at the same time. They have become more flashy and so the tendency to run out of patience in ODIs and Tests has increased. So, in case the players with a capable technique to excel in these formats will only focus on franchise cricket the fans will miss quality cricket in international games.
These might also affect the associate nations majorly as they generate revenue from touring or hosting top sides but the loss of international cricket’s significance will put them in a crisis. But if the sides will play without their frontline players it will be a wasted practice for associate teams.
The main concern boils down to the players from other countries than India who don’t get an IPL contract and will have to depend on international matches. Especially, players from countries like Sri Lanka or West Indies don’t get a lot of money from their domestic tournaments and a drop in the significance of international games will add in their worries even more. So, overall it looks that a lengthy tournament will have its advantages but as every coin has two sides, the most popular and wealthy league around the globe has its own flaws too.