Tuesday, March 6, 2012

IPL : Is it Fighting for survival ?

An year ago, IPL’s glorious downfall has started (at least I guess so). When India won the world cup after 28 years and became the kings of the game, Cricket over flowed and IPL’s glory diminished. Well.. I thought its time for IPL to step down from the top spot in terms of entertaining people of India. I expected BCCI to give it a break because people are tired after watching a 2 month long world cup.But within a week, the IPL began; ironically, its blue riband event revealed the first signs of ennui; nobody realized it was also the beginning of the end of the love story. Stadiums looked like dead towns and there was no scramble by advertisers either; the BCCI mandarins didn't care.

A couple of months later, India landed in England to battle for the Test championship; expectations were high and the Indian team was supposed to vanquish the hosts and reaffirm its Number One credentials. But then, one after the other, the players started crumbling to injuries.

That was the second warning sign: India were indulging in way too much cricket and the absence of proper injury management forcefully came to the fore. The furore back home ensured that for the next tour the team was better prepared, with only fully-fit players being shipped.

Even that didn't help: India lost 0-4 yet again to show that the situation had gone beyond salvage. Not too surprisingly, around the same time, the Board started taking decisions that, in polite terms, can only be called baffling. Instead of working along with its partners and allies it was cutting them off disdainfully; only now it may realize that it was cutting its own nose to spite the face.

Team Kochi had always been a bugbear, as it came from nowhere to clinch the tenth IPL team; the fact that it wrangled within itself and didn't bring any glamour when the tournament commenced only made things worse. But the BCCI was swift in terminating it over a delay in payments.

As if that was not enough, one fine morning, it ended its telecast rights deal with Nimbus too. It was effected smartly, just after all the home series had ended; the Ranji championship was reaching its final stages but who really cares for it?

Nimbus' style of functioning, especially its phenomenal rise, has been a case of wonderment for many; it often looked like it was stretching beyond its means but it had somehow always survived. The end over a delay in payments, with even its bank guarantee under threat, sent a shiver down other its other partners.

The final nail, however, was the exit of Sahara from not only the IPL but also team sponsorship. The board had shared a long and fruitful relationship with this parivar and it's surprising that it couldn't amicably resolve its reasonable demands.

Pune Warriors had spent a major portion of their kitty on Yuvraj Singh; it was only natural for them to seek some relief going into the auction due to his illness.

Somehow the perception has been growing that all decisions are not fair in the IPL. A few teams have always benefited at the cost of others. This is by far the biggest blow to the IPL and Team India. It's unlikely that a similar amount can be recouped, either from a new team or a new sponsor, especially in the current environment.

Players of two outfits have been left in the lurch; they have started grumbling. Many boards have been doing that for a long time. The BCCI has left too many people unhappy: if it doesn't clean up its act soon, its billion-dollar baby is going to blow up on its face.

Source: Google, Times of India, The Hindu.