The completion of Indian Premier League’s Edition Five gives the mandarins of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) a chance to introspect on how the glamourous Twenty20 league is helping Indian cricket.
It is surely a financially viable and exciting product, but experts reckon it is also hindering Indian cricket because the form of the game doesn’t lend itself to the kind of skills that are needed to prosper in first-class and Test cricket.
There are two ways the Board can go about things.
1. Have a brainstorming session, taking into consideration the various opinions floating around and come to a conclusion or 2. Put the blinkers on and carry on with what they think best.
Only an alarmist would reckon, Twenty20 cricket is an out and out poison. As much as the down side is abhorred, the advantages must be acknowledged.
The BCCI would do well to conduct programmes for various age groups where cricketers are told that Twenty20 cricket or the IPL must not be their ultimate goal and keep drumming in the fact that their true skills of batting and bowling will be only seen in the longer form. Yes, credit for good fielding and running between wickets must be given to cricket’s limited overs variety.
Off the field, there are issues to be sorted out for a better tomorrow. The BCCI must do away with any kind of secrecy. New players must come in through the auction process only and there cannot be cases like Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard and Chennai Super Kings’ Ravindra Jadeja, who the public do not know how much their franchises paid for their services.
It is time to put things out in the open, even at the cost of a novelty which the secret tie-breaker rule conceptualised by Lalit Modi, is.
The IPL can get bigger. It must also be cleaner.