Monday, December 17, 2012

Negative effects of IPL

Poor form in Test Cricket- IPL to blame?

In one of the earlier posts related to Indian Premier League (IPL), we had enthusiastically talked about Positive effects of IPL. Before the start of IPL 2012, India had lost Test series to England 0-4 in England, to Australia 0-4 in Australia and India failed to qualify for the CB Series and Asia Cup finals. After that, the exciting IPL 2012 happened and all of a sudden, everyone forgot about the most depressing season of Test Cricket for India. And then, new season of Cricket started with tours of Sri Lanka, New Zealand followed by T20 World Cup. As if this schedule was not hectic for Indian team, players were sent to the Champions League in October, this year. And now, we have seen what has happened with Indian team versus England in home series.

In the same post, I had mentioned that there are positive as well as negative effects of IPL. Let's try to find out what aspects of IPL are NOT good for Indian Cricket, particularly, Indian Test Cricket, since the time is right to raise some hard questions.

Bad scheduling of IPL?

  1. IPL is scheduled in April and May, which are hottest months of Indian summer. Traditionally, these months were reserved for rest to the players before next season of Cricket - domestic and international - begins. If players are made to play 15 high intensity games in 10 different parts of India, the travel and over-Cricket is bound to take a toll on players, physically and mentally. Finally, who wants to work on Holidays, even if one is paid!
  2. It becomes compelling for BCCI to organize this event in these months as Indian Team neither travels nor hosts any international tournament in these months. But, this also means, players are overly exhausted, they do not have recovery time, they do not have time to operate themselves on injuries.
  3. At the same time, no other international team has compulsion to adjust team's schedule according to IPL. International players have limited presence in IPL, that too, after their Cricket Board's approval.
The point is, Indian players are more stressed up than their international counterparts, which definitely reflects in their fitness levels.

Possibility of deterioration of Cricketing skills?

  1. In IPL, if a batsman gets out playing a rash shot, it is NOT considered as 'throwing of a wicket' or 'batsman not putting price on his wicket'. It is accepted in IPL to play brave shots, even if that means wasting your wicket. On the other hand, Test Cricket teaches you to keep your wicket as long as you can.
  2. In IPL, a bowler has maximum of 4 overs. How is it possible to test bowler's fitness, skills in these 4 overs? If a bowler has higher strike rate and higher average, it is not considered a guilt, neither it is associated with the bowler's ability in IPL. Further, since batsmen are always prone to make mistakes while scoring quick runs, many of IPL wickets are not bowlers' wickets but those are just batsmen making mistake and bowler getting wickets.
In Test Cricket, no batsman gets to score runs without hard work, and similarly no bowler gets easy wickets; as they might get in IPL. Lac of 'test' of concentration, fitness, temperament, Cricketing skills and mostly ignored - 'Cricketing intelligence' in IPL makes it tough for players to adapt to Test Cricket as it requires all these skills and their application on field, day after day!

Is motivation to play for country/ Test Cricket reduced?

  1. If the player has played just one or two domestic Cricket seasons, he can play IPL. It offers huge amount of money in just 2 to 3 months. Good for them, but due to this early money, fame and opportunity, will those players be still motivated enough to play Test Cricket or be part of International Indian Cricket Team? If one calculates, an average player will definitely get more money by playing IPL than by playing whole season of Test Cricket.
In the end, no one wants to take harder route to earn same amount of money. This leads to the further point:

Have priorities of Indian players changed?

  1. When the Gavaskars, Dravids, Kumbles speak, all of them say that playing for India, getting a Test Cap was their childhood dream. When Tendulkars, Pontings, Kallis are asked to prioritize Cricket formats, they hold Test Cricket at the peak. But, will the coming generation of Cricketers have the same priority? Will they still be holding Test Cricket above all other formats of Cricket? Or will the easy money- less hard work- quantity over quality in IPL affect their sense of priority? 
  2. We need to find answers to following early retirements: Why did Lasith Malinga opted out of Test Cricket of Sri Lanka and instead played IPL? How was Gayle able to play for IPL and not for his national side? What made Sehwag play with an injury in IPL and as soon as his team was out of tournament, did he go for a treatment? How come a certain Rohit Sharma plays exceptionally well in IPL but fails to deliver at international level? Why player like Sachin Tendulkar plays IPL but skips tour of West Indies? What makes Kelvin Petersen to retire from all but T20 format of his national team?
If players are going to opt IPL or the club team over the Test Cricket or National Cricket, then who will play for country? How will the next golden generation of 'Indian' Cricket come into reality?

Are Indian players and conditions getting overexposed to the foreign players?

  1. All, well, yes practically all Indian players play in the IPL where each player plays around 12-15 matches per season. In this way, he gets over exposed, which otherwise he would not have (at least to the foreign coaches/ staff). This can be a reason why foreign teams have a certain strategy against certain player from very beginning. It is like 'an open source knowledge sharing' about Indian players. All secrets of Indian players will be there with foreign coaches and players even before that Indian player makes his international debut.
  2. Since all top foreign players (around 40 in all) participate in IPL, and play so many matches at different parts of India, each year, it is becoming increasingly easy for foreign players to adapt to Indian playing conditions like spinning tracks, reverse swing etc. This ultimately helps foreign players when they tour India Because they know the conditions, they know how to play spin, they know how to tackle and produce reverse swing.
Negative_effects_of_IPLIn the nutshell, Indian players' skill-set and knowledge-base is remaining almost stagnant, at the same time, the rival teams gets to know strong and weak points of Indian players, in addition to this, they get to know conditions very well. All this 'paid practice' must be helping the visiting teams in their international tours against Indian team. (Some readers may think this is so cheap, but hey, international sports is war! And it's fair to be cheap in war!)

Rise of too many Captains?

  1. With the advent of IPL, where about 10 teams play, there is 'production' of so many captains for each team. For e.g.: We had seen Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly captaining again after stepping down from National Team Captainship. Then there are players like Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Raina, Harbhajan, Yuvraj who have been made captains of their respective teams for some time or the other.
  2. So, when these players come together to play in National team, it becomes team of captains. Each player is a captain! I am sure, it is very hard to lead the team of captains, as it requires handling too many egos at a time.
Is this hurting Indian Cricket? Is there any truth between stories that Sehwag and MS Dhoni or Gambhir and MS Dhoni are having cold wars. Is Dhoni feeling unsecured because of his captainship is under threat because of the IPL emerged captains?

Conflict of interests between BCCI and IPL?

  1. There are hard questions raised recently, by Mr. Amarnath, member of 1983 World Cup winning team and ex- selection committee member. Dhoni was to be sacked from captainship, after India lost 0-4 to Australia, with majority of selectors were with this decision. But then, BCCI President Mr. Srinivasan (allegedly), intervened using his constitutional rights and saved Dhoni from being sacked as National team's captain.
  2. Interestingly, the BCCI President happens to be owner of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), a franchise of IPL team, who is captained by Dhoni, again. So, if Dhoni were sacked from National team, it would had made impact on CSK's business fortunes too. So, definitely a questions arises, why did Srinivasan intervened in decision of selectors?
IPL is virtually ran by businessmen in India, who have money power and political power. If they are further going to dictate BCCI and National team and even influence highly technical and specialized decisions like team selection or pitches or scheduling of tours, then all I can say is, God help Indian Cricket!

In summary, all we can say is, IPL is over-stressing our players, it is creating confusion over the format which they want to concentrate on. Further, it is reducing the hunger to play for India and increasing their egos. And as if this isn't enough for downfall, it is overexposing Indian players and Indian conditions to others, that makes playing against India easier than it used to. In addition, influence of corporate firms in decision making is definitely NOT going to serve Indian Cricket. Probably, BCCI needs to rethink, reinvent its glamorous baby so that Indian Test Cricket remains safe and successful!

If you think there are more ill effects of IPL, you may please share them here.

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  1. The Indian premier league match has many advantages and disadvantages are rare. Among the advantages, it is cricket itself because it is popular sport in this region. The IPL 20 twenty match provide tremendous entertainment in terms of hard hitting, good bowling and fielding, presence of cheerleaders and film stars. A single match of IPL also provide opportunity to see big stars of World's cricket from different countries. Maximum 40 overs in each match is also an advantage but at the same time disadvantage for cricket lovers who wanted to see cricket all the day.

    1. Thank you IPL T20 for visiting the blog and providing your point of view. I hope you will also like

    2. IPL T20 you are only talking bout entertainment involved in it...!! What About cricket???