However, it has not worked out that way—for IPL 2011.
Television viewers' interest plummeted, ticket sales tapered off and there was a jaded, sleazy feeling to the largest sporting extravaganza on the Indian sub-continent.
10 reasons why IPL IV was not a blockbuster this Indian summer:
10) Change in format and rules.
The IPL governing council tweaked the rules so that each team would play 14 games in the league phase like the previous three editions.This was done to make sure that the two-month long tourney did not become unmanageable.
Thus, each team played five other teams in home and away games; the rest were one-off games against the other four sides.
Fans could not care less.
However, Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers were none too happy about the reduction in their expected quota of games. Public squabbling—for a refund of franchise bid sums—erupted.
The change from a semi-final format to the new play-off system was another innovation. It rewarded consistency though the IPL ended in with three games out of six between the same two sides viz. Royal Challengers Bangalore versus Chennai Super Kings—league, Qualifier 1 and final.
9) Footage of cheerleaders negligible.
This year’s edition of the IPL was quite tame. The much publicised after-game parties were discontinued. Officially, that is.
Gabriella Pasqualotto laid bare the lie with a couple of posts, that were mostly innocuous except that she fingered some big-name cricketers.
The sacking of the South African cheerleader focused attention back on this anachronism of the bastardised version.
Three years ago, there was a hullabaloo raised about the sending back of a couple of black cheerleaders.
The reason given: “Locals prefer ‘goris’.”
Sony TV extended cheerleaders to their studios.‘Pom-pom’ girls and the IPL are synonymous—at least, in India.
Yet, if I’m not mistaken, television viewers saw less and less of the cheerleaders. Or maybe, it’s just me, not catching enough IPL.
Either way, cheerleaders did not thrill this time around—like most IPL games.
Let’s all groan—in unison.
8) No real city or state affiliation among chosen players.
The first three editions ensured that there was local flavour with big names turning out for their city or state sides.
That is no longer the case in IPL IV. Except for Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, the big stars have shuffled to where the moolah is.
When cricketers have no say where they wish to be, comparisons to the English Premier League fall flat.
In the IPL , it’s more a case of “Either you’re in or out.”
Kolkatta Knight Riders’ fans raised Cain on finding Dada missing.
Kings XI Punjab were synonymous with Yuvraj Singh in the first three editions. What’s he doing with Pune Warriors?
Shantakumaran Sreesanth turned out for home team, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, but found himself on the sidelines, more often than not.
7) Too many local players.
The IPL had an extra two teams but not enough quality local players to go around.
Each team has a weak link or two—usually the domestic players.
When they do well, the young players are Value For Money (VFM). When they don’t, they bring down the performance level of the sides they represent.
You can’t complain much. At least, they field well.
(A tad harsh, perhaps?)
6) Too few foreign players allowed in playing XI.
Only four foreign players in each playing eleven makes it difficult for coaches to choose the best playing eleven.
There’s always a couple of foreign recruits warming the bench. If they play, it’s money well spent—for the franchisee and the paying public.
Jacob Oram complained that it was a bit unreal to practise as hard as ever but still find himself sitting out.
Cricketers want in on the action—period.
Shane Warne suggested a super-league phase of four games with each team allowed five foreign recruits.
This will elevate the status of matches,at the same time, ensuring that pricey players do not earn their fees chatting with television commentators.
5) Too many one-sided matches.
This year’s IPL saw too many one-sided games. Most results were a foregone conclusion half-way through the match. There are only so many sixes and boundaries that viewers can cheer.
The disparity between sides (on the day) contributed to the uneven quality of cricket dished out.
No one wishes to watch a mismatch. The previous three editions witnessed much more competitive match-ups.
4) Fresh team make-up left viewers confused.
If, like most viewers, you were one of those who decided to catch up with the IPL later, then you would have been hard-pressed to recognise players in your favourite franchise.
It takes some time to accustom oneself to old faces in fresh colours and/or fresh faces in old colours.
Continuity was not a mantra—-except with Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
3) No Lalit Modi.
The IPL and Lalit Modi were inseparable.
The high-flying, octane-charged czar made it a point to catch almost all the games live.
The insufferable Mr. Modi was MIA this year.
He was reduced to tweeting lonesome comments about the IPL.
It’s quite a different feeling to watch BCCI fat-cats at IPL games. Come on, this is the IPL, not a Test or ODI.
Give us an L, Give us a A, Give us a L, Give us an I, Give us a T.
2) The IPL is far too lengthy.
The IPL just drags on and on.
Two months of non-stop cricket and yet viewers tuned in mostly in the final week, when things heated up.
Chris Gayle and his pyrotechnics salvaged this edition—to some extent. Indian players were fit as fiddles after the World Cup. But alas, but for the games featuring Sachin Tendulkar, the fans stayed away.
Too much cricket makes for a dull tourney.
1) Team India's ICC World Cup triumph.
India’s win at the World Cup trumped club considerations. Nothing else mattered.
Marketing razzmatazz cannot subsume simple nationalistic jingoism. Raw emotions took precedence.
Can you visualize a chock-full Marine Drive if Mumbai Indians clinch the trophy?
I think not.
Quote of the day:
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. – Galileo Galilei