Unlike other sporting spectacles like NBA, All England, Wimbledon and FIFA World Cup, there is a distinctive oneness to IPL because it is one championship where doses of entertainment actually out-surpass cricketing performances.
The six-week cricketing extravaganza, the Indian Premier League (IPL) climaxed on a note that was in tune with the hopes and dreams of all those who fancy the slam-bang variety-a roller-coaster entertainer that was decided by the tournament’s very last ball with Mumbai Indians (MI) claiming an unprecedented third crown, thereby thwarting the aspirations of Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), which wanted to bow out of the League as a winner.
Unlike other sporting spectacles like NBA, All England, Wimbledon and FIFA World Cup, there is a distinctive oneness to IPL because it is one championship where doses of entertainment actually out-surpass cricketing performances. Irrespective of how one takes it, one has to admit that an element of serious cricket is more visible in the T20 World Cup where national pride is at stake, and not in the IPL caravan.
Perhaps that is the USP of IPL, which has survived spot-fixing scandals and the overbearing mafia-owners-players nexus. True, the tenth edition was perhaps the cleanest despite the fact that the threat of finances loomed large at the time of the commencement, thanks to the presence of the Lodha-Supreme Court created CoA body.
As one looks back at its eventful one decade since inception, there is no denying that the circus has survived more for its entertainment value, which, quite possibly, was a bigger draw than anything else for the fans. Sadly, caught in this momentary euphoria, the bosses running Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the IPL Governing Council have become oblivious of the pitfalls that lie ahead.
Times have changed so dramatically, and drastically, that BCCI has ceased to be what it was a couple of years ago. Its stock has fallen to such low levels in the International Cricket Council (ICC) that today even a member-nation like Bangladesh is daring the sport’s richest body and getting away with it.
This was unimaginable till a few years ago when larger-than-life figures like N Srinivasan and Jagmohan Dalmiya lorded over everything cricket by calling the shots in a manner that was nothing short of being dictatorial. Not being in their good books was suicidal-an embarrassing lesson the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) learnt the harsh way and is still paying the price, including a ‘perennial’ IPL isolation.
On the face of it, the tenth edition is done and dusted with. Now is when the Governing Council will have to sit, ponder and go about its post-mortem with the precision of a clinically top-grade surgeon.
The hiccups of two years ago will be back to haunt them when the ‘rehabilitated’ former champions Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) return to the fold and the Council has look into the possibility of expanding the league to a ten-team format, which would nothing but carrying a bogey of the worst order.
If IPL has to be transparent and free of the ill-gotten notoriety than a no-nonsense and zero-tolerance governance has to be put in place. Only then, can IPL be the prized-possession of Brand BCCI.