IPL 2012 April 4, 2012

Is the IPL sending Indian cricket the way of English football?

By Rahul Oak, USA
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By Rahul Oak, USA

In 1992-93, a very significant event occurred in England that changed the way football is viewed the world over, and set off a chain of events that would trigger a butterfly effect in a different sport far east of the British Isles many years later. That was the year the Premiership (as it was then named) was born, breaking away from the Football League and forming a kind of competition where lucrative television deals led to mind-numbing paydays for everyone involved.

Despite Lalit Modi's claims of having come up with the concept of the unimaginatively named Indian Premier League (IPL) in a midsummer night's epiphany, it doesn't require an excessive amount of deductive skills to point to where it all originated. Apart from the name and the franchise-based concept, there can be a lot of parallels drawn between these leagues in terms of the way they have affected the nature of their respective sports, as well as the makeup and quality of the national teams.

First and foremost is the obvious question of life-changing, and in some cases absolutely ridiculous, sums of money. Due to the limited supply of good home-grown talent, average players tend to make astronomical fortunes, resulting in gross over-valuations for a few players. As talented as Michael Carrick might be, he has his fair amount of critics who claim (in some cases, rightly so) that his performances for Manchester United and England haven't ever justified his price tag, or the hype that surrounds him.

Compare that with the recent million dollar bids for the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Vijay Kumar, who have consistently been found short at international level. It has also led to the general reputation of these sportsmen being spoilt or over-glorified.

From a dispassionate neutral standpoint, there will probably be no English footballer who would make it into a World XI at the moment. Ditto Indian cricketers and a current World Test XI. PR sound bites aside, there is very little motivation for these players to improve their game when being just good enough to make the cut guarantees them a spot on the gravy train.

Second and probably more importantly is the question of what defines quality. The great Alfredo Di Stefano's Madrid team of the 50s, the Pele-inspired Santos and Brazil of the 60s, Johan Cruyff's Ajax, Barcelona and Dutch teams of the 70s and Lionel Messi's current Barcelona outfit are the flag bearers for excellence in football teams. Most of these teams were built on excellent dribbling, skill and, in the case of the Barcelona sides, quick and short passing in tight spaces.

English football has always been associated with the big hoof upfield from within your own half and power, and the ability to shake defenders off the ball has generally won over the vision to pass that final ball. Only Paul Scholes comes to mind as someone who might fit into the tiki taka approach that the Spanish used ever so well in 2010, en route to winning their first ever World Cup. In other words, the Premier League has propagated and, in many cases, encouraged the power over skill stereotype, and the quality of the average Premier League game is routinely lower than the average game of the Premier championship in Spain, the La Liga.

However, the marketing engine in England is constantly whirring to produce a chest thumping self-endorsement as the best football league in the world. The sad part is that this is only true in terms of financial clout. The sadder part is that most people (including the players) believe this. Similarly, the current crop of Indian cricketers have been raised on a diet of flat pitches, heavy bats, tiny boundaries and conditions in which the bowlers have been taken out of the equation completely. The Indian version of the long ball – being able to hit the ball as far as possible – has led to some success in the shorter formats of the game in the subcontinent, most notably the ODI World Cup win of 2011, but by and large the younger generation of cricketers have fared miserably in more testing conditions. India’s last two tours to England and Australia have been a rude reality check that the long ball approach is unlikely to work outside the subcontinent. Bowlers have become more and more defensive, with seamers happy to bowl containing wicket-to-wicket lines at modest pace, and spinners getting flat and unwilling to be creative.

It's a good time to reflect on this quote by Larry Kersten: "Mediocrity – it takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late." The last time England could genuinely claim footballing greatness on the world stage was after the 1966 World Cup win that immortalised Sir Bobby Charlton and Alf Ramsey in English footballing folklore. However, the quality of the performances by the team have since then dipped to such lows that not even the most die-hard optimist would bet on England winning a World or even a Euro title in the near future.

Some would point to the World Cup medals that the Indian team won in 2011 (after the advent of the IPL), but it needs reminding that the Test team has never won a series in South Africa or Australia, and recent performances in conditions where the ball travels to the keeper at eye-level don't inspire a lot of confidence even in the shorter formats. To be able to overcome these challenges will certainly not be easy. It will require a lot of introspection, navel-gazing and first and foremost an acceptance of the fact that something is broken and needs fixing.

Winning a couple of international friendlies for England, or India winning a bilateral ODI series against Sri Lanka in subcontinent conditions (which can't be too far away) should not cover up everything that is wrong with the sport. The hurt should not be forgotten. The tough road back to the top may take many years, a lot of discipline and an overall change in culture and ethos. And that, unfortunately, is something that no amount of money can buy.

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rocky on April 29, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    I dont think so........IPL is grt......Coz we won WC last year......After that our player failed 2 perform......So no guilty on IPL

  • venkatt on April 16, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    The tough road back to the top. Why? We will win our Test matches at home for the next two years on turning pitches and everything will be fine with our Test cricket.That will be enough for Srinivasan & co. to proclaim "ALL IZ WELL"

  • shirish oak on April 11, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Very well written atricle,with good analysis.

  • Akash Mehra, Delhi/London on April 8, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    "Mediocrity – it takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late." - applies perfectly to this article. It is obvious that the writer is a football noob and understands absolutely nothing of the game. The "wisdom" that is being sought to be disseminated in this article is laughably out of place and even presumptuous. The writer starts out by assuming that English football is of poorer quality, and what justification does he give for this "fact"? Well, because he seems to have watched a few Liga BBva games recently, read a few articles on the web and concluded with a lot of pomp that a certain style of playing football (Cryuff, Barcelona, blah blah) is excellent and the rest are not! To make sweeping generalizations about footballing styles, which is as subjective a subject as the choice between the best light beer shows that the writer doesn't think too much before writing. Utter trash! Stick to cricket man!

  • Sanket on April 7, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    Bad article,

    Except for the words "premier" and "league", there is no similarity between IPL and EPL.

    Unlike IPL, there is no quota for English players in EPL.Similarly, as Asad pointed out, the structure of IPL is much more related to NFL.

    India's defeats in overseas tests have been very bad in the last one year. But I don't see any obvious correlation with IPL, which has been running for 4 years. IPL does not benefit Indian cricket but cannot harm it much.

    And, if India plays against Australia, England, or South Africa in India, I do not expect the Indian team to win. Sri Lanka, a much better Test team (they won one match against South Africa in South Africa)lost to Australia in Sri Lanka and could only draw with England.

  • ashley_80 on April 6, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    The point about greater financial reward is relevant however. Will the next generation of international players be highly motivated to become successful Test Match players when the money on offer in the IPL is so much more substantial that what they receive for international fixtures?

    Most current cricketers, Tendulkar inc, have acknowledged Test cricket as the ultimate form of the game, one that examines your capabilities in a way that the shorter formats cannot, but given the generally poor attendances for Test match cricket in sub-continent grounds one can't but fear that the sometimes pernicious influence of 20-20 on the soul of cricket will continue to grow.

  • ashley_80 on April 6, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Unfortunately the author displays a very poor grasp of football knowledge, the EPL certainly knows how to hype itself to occasionally overblown proportions but English teams have a generally excellent Champions league record in recent years, and the ‘power over skill’ stereotype is laughable, Manchester Untied and Arsenal being two famous purveyors of free-flowing, short-passing attacking football.

    The writer misses the main point when arguing about the influence of the EPL in relation to the success of the English national team which has centred on the lack of opportunities for homegrown players (Arsenal famously fielded a side that contained not a single British player a few seasons ago) rather than the style of play itself which, by common consent, has improved markedly since the First Division pre-EPL days.

  • shubham on April 6, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    almost every thing i wanted to say, true to the very core. anybody who has knowledge of football would agree, and the argument of entertainment is not a argument at all, it is a debate for mature viewers. no problem with ipl, just don't ignore the true and beautiful aspects of game for vulgar, outer looks.

  • Let's not go overboard here... on April 6, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Well...I very much agree with the discourse on the Indian team, the game bred by IPL and 20/20 has led to a marginalisation of skill, and the propagation of power, however I must disagree with the conclusions vis a vis, the difference between the EPL and La Liga. Real Madrid, and Barcelona may be better than all of the English Premier League sides, but saying that the average match in La Liga has got more quality than the average match of EPL? That's a complete fallacy. La Liga has 2 quality matches each year, that's the clasico, EPL has used to have 16, now probably more like 36. That's a lot more than La Liga, unless you would like to debate the merits of Liverpool v Everton against Rayo Vellacono vs Osasuna.

  • Rahul Oak on April 6, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I think a few clarifications are in order: 1. I'm a very passionate Indian cricket fan and don't mean to undermine the World Cup victory at all. However that is no excuse for India not having won a Test series in Aus or SA. Neither should we care about England's recent away slump since they are mutually exclusive events. 2. About the La Liga: I agree that It's a two horse race, and that should change, but in terms of technical quality the league is superior. Watch Sociedad or another mid tier team play and you'll notice that its more about buildup and possession than getting hopeful balls in the box. Also of the 8 teams left in Europe, 5 are Spanish. Spain is also all set to surpass England's UEFA coefficient. 3. I don't think the IPL is solely responsible for the team's losses abroad, but it is creating a generation of cricketers for whom winning a series in Aus may not matter and that's worrying.

  • Rocky on April 29, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    I dont think so........IPL is grt......Coz we won WC last year......After that our player failed 2 perform......So no guilty on IPL

  • venkatt on April 16, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    The tough road back to the top. Why? We will win our Test matches at home for the next two years on turning pitches and everything will be fine with our Test cricket.That will be enough for Srinivasan & co. to proclaim "ALL IZ WELL"

  • shirish oak on April 11, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Very well written atricle,with good analysis.

  • Akash Mehra, Delhi/London on April 8, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    "Mediocrity – it takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late." - applies perfectly to this article. It is obvious that the writer is a football noob and understands absolutely nothing of the game. The "wisdom" that is being sought to be disseminated in this article is laughably out of place and even presumptuous. The writer starts out by assuming that English football is of poorer quality, and what justification does he give for this "fact"? Well, because he seems to have watched a few Liga BBva games recently, read a few articles on the web and concluded with a lot of pomp that a certain style of playing football (Cryuff, Barcelona, blah blah) is excellent and the rest are not! To make sweeping generalizations about footballing styles, which is as subjective a subject as the choice between the best light beer shows that the writer doesn't think too much before writing. Utter trash! Stick to cricket man!

  • Sanket on April 7, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    Bad article,

    Except for the words "premier" and "league", there is no similarity between IPL and EPL.

    Unlike IPL, there is no quota for English players in EPL.Similarly, as Asad pointed out, the structure of IPL is much more related to NFL.

    India's defeats in overseas tests have been very bad in the last one year. But I don't see any obvious correlation with IPL, which has been running for 4 years. IPL does not benefit Indian cricket but cannot harm it much.

    And, if India plays against Australia, England, or South Africa in India, I do not expect the Indian team to win. Sri Lanka, a much better Test team (they won one match against South Africa in South Africa)lost to Australia in Sri Lanka and could only draw with England.

  • ashley_80 on April 6, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    The point about greater financial reward is relevant however. Will the next generation of international players be highly motivated to become successful Test Match players when the money on offer in the IPL is so much more substantial that what they receive for international fixtures?

    Most current cricketers, Tendulkar inc, have acknowledged Test cricket as the ultimate form of the game, one that examines your capabilities in a way that the shorter formats cannot, but given the generally poor attendances for Test match cricket in sub-continent grounds one can't but fear that the sometimes pernicious influence of 20-20 on the soul of cricket will continue to grow.

  • ashley_80 on April 6, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Unfortunately the author displays a very poor grasp of football knowledge, the EPL certainly knows how to hype itself to occasionally overblown proportions but English teams have a generally excellent Champions league record in recent years, and the ‘power over skill’ stereotype is laughable, Manchester Untied and Arsenal being two famous purveyors of free-flowing, short-passing attacking football.

    The writer misses the main point when arguing about the influence of the EPL in relation to the success of the English national team which has centred on the lack of opportunities for homegrown players (Arsenal famously fielded a side that contained not a single British player a few seasons ago) rather than the style of play itself which, by common consent, has improved markedly since the First Division pre-EPL days.

  • shubham on April 6, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    almost every thing i wanted to say, true to the very core. anybody who has knowledge of football would agree, and the argument of entertainment is not a argument at all, it is a debate for mature viewers. no problem with ipl, just don't ignore the true and beautiful aspects of game for vulgar, outer looks.

  • Let's not go overboard here... on April 6, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Well...I very much agree with the discourse on the Indian team, the game bred by IPL and 20/20 has led to a marginalisation of skill, and the propagation of power, however I must disagree with the conclusions vis a vis, the difference between the EPL and La Liga. Real Madrid, and Barcelona may be better than all of the English Premier League sides, but saying that the average match in La Liga has got more quality than the average match of EPL? That's a complete fallacy. La Liga has 2 quality matches each year, that's the clasico, EPL has used to have 16, now probably more like 36. That's a lot more than La Liga, unless you would like to debate the merits of Liverpool v Everton against Rayo Vellacono vs Osasuna.

  • Rahul Oak on April 6, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I think a few clarifications are in order: 1. I'm a very passionate Indian cricket fan and don't mean to undermine the World Cup victory at all. However that is no excuse for India not having won a Test series in Aus or SA. Neither should we care about England's recent away slump since they are mutually exclusive events. 2. About the La Liga: I agree that It's a two horse race, and that should change, but in terms of technical quality the league is superior. Watch Sociedad or another mid tier team play and you'll notice that its more about buildup and possession than getting hopeful balls in the box. Also of the 8 teams left in Europe, 5 are Spanish. Spain is also all set to surpass England's UEFA coefficient. 3. I don't think the IPL is solely responsible for the team's losses abroad, but it is creating a generation of cricketers for whom winning a series in Aus may not matter and that's worrying.

  • Anonymous on April 5, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    Im surprised that many people are still to justify that its ok to lose abroad as long as you keep winning in home conditions. The point that the author is trying to make is that the recent drubbing of 8-0 is just not forgiveable, you cannot get away saying other team are bad tourists as well. No excuse is good enough to justify our pathetic performance. Instead of finding a lame excuse of hiding our short comings it is the right time / high time to find a solution. First step towards this would be to sack Dhoni from Test captaincy, he has to be made accountable. Pls stop talking like BCCI, its not good for Indian cricket.

  • gareth on April 5, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    I am a regular follower of EPL and despite the fact that the english football lacks the technical skill of spanish football, the pace and intensity of EPL games provides a more entertaining watching experience than LaLiga. Having said that, It is insulting to compare a corrupt, monopolised and a circus like league (IPL) to EPL. The auction and franchise system is ridiculous and quality of cricket is mediocre at the best.

  • Amit on April 5, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    Why do people begrudge the money these players are making out of IPL? They are professional sportsmen who are entitled to make a living. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Don't even waste time talking about it on any forum and ignore it! As for this being the root cause of all that ails international cricket, well then you are not taking sense. Has it not empowered players to take more risksand make the games more interesting? Would you have seen teams chasing 300+ scores down with as much confidence? we need to have an open mind to embrace change. Now, to counter a few arguments about power, let's look at how tennis has evolved over years. From wooden rackets to graphite, the racquets have become stronger and I still remember a certain "boom boom" Becker who took the world by storm with his power game and athleticism. Then Sampras and now Nadal. It has been a Steady evolution and T20 has only accelerated this. And, BCCI didn't start T20 game circus, it's just the most successful!

  • raj khanna on April 5, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    very well written Article. There is no short cut to success , Indians will have to play as a more unified team & certainly Bowl & Field well.

  • Catalan on April 5, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    This is an awesome article. I agree with everything.

    I find a lot of comments about other teams in La Liga not having quality. In reality, they have a lot more quality than the EPL. Talk about the 7th best team in La Liga - Athletic Bilbao's performance against English champions ManU. Also, look at the Europa league which has more winners from Spain than England in the last decade - Teams like Liverpool, Fulham, Middlesnorough and ManU being comprehensively beaten by Athletico Madrid, Sevilla and Bilbao resp.

  • Rishi on April 5, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    The Test losses have occured when the core of India's Test team were still part of it. You may argue that India should have replaced most players but that hasn't happened because there is hardly any quality on hand; other than maybe Rohit Sharma who still hasn't made his test debut and the fast bowling duo of Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav. Suresh Raina is unfit for the longer formats (a FC average of 42 in a country famous for flat pitches and boasting of at least 25 batsmen at a time with a career avg of at least 55 on the very same pitches).

    Since the IPL is only 4 years old, you can't say that an entire generation has been lost to power hitting.

    And the only thing that irritates me more than Barca's tiki-taka approach is people waxing eloquent about it. When Kobe Bryant calls for the ball, you call him a ball-hog. When a bunch of short men who got picked on as kids refuse to part with the ball because the ref protects them from getting beat you call them the best of their generation

  • Asad Afzal on April 5, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    pretty crap article. for the record, ipl was founded on the sports business model of the national football league (american football in the US). similarities involved: (1) set number of franchises with no demotion/promotion (2) league acts as a cartel to collectively bargain for tv rights (3) cheerleaders, colorful uniforms, general hoopla. (aside) although the second point is also true for the epl in some capacities, the first point radically changes the dynamics. i'm not sure what makes me more upset, the author...or people that always tend to say, 'i agree one hundred percent'.

  • Tom on April 5, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    @Gautam Surya, Manu: The sad thing is that on current performance (last 18 months) no Indian player is even in consideration for a World Test XI. Among specialist #4s, Kallis, Pietersen and Younus Khan have all performed substantially better than Tendulkar, and Ross Taylor has a better average. Among wicketkeepers, Prasanna Jayawardene, Prior and even Brad Haddin have outperformed Dhoni with the bat and in terms of fielding dismissals they're all much the same. The only other Indian player who would even come into the equation is Dravid, but he's retired. A realistic World XI would include mostly players from South Africa, Pakistan and England, and maybe one Australian (Clarke).

    Also, Gareth Bale is Welsh.

  • Luke on April 5, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    -cont Torres does not star for Spain. The style of play in the EPL does not win international tournaments. To those saying that La Liga is poor - Athletic Bilbao thumped Man Utd last month. Yes, the EPL is entertaining, yes the IPL is entertaining, but entertainment and excitement are not synonyms for quality. "If goals/runs were a mark of excellence, there would be thousands queuing to watch school football/cricket.” - Jonathan Wilson. Where the IPL is different to other nations' T20 leagues is the money and the importance. The English and Australian leagues are secondary competitions - the most important cricket is that of the national team. It's not possible to make lots of money just playing in those leagues. Many young Indian players only need to play a few years in the IPL to never need worry about money - or international glory - again.

  • Shiva on April 5, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Neatly put across!!! Loved the article!! Cheers

  • Luke on April 5, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Rahul, Very interesting article, but I think you've conflated two points. Firstly, the sharing of premier league tv money, and the negotiating of a league-wide deal that led to massive amounts of money throughout the league, with even teams in the bottom half of the table studded with millionaires. In this situation, it's possible to earn huge amounts of money at a young age without being world class and little motivation to improve. it's an obvious parallel to make to India, with Yuvraj, Raina, Ishant etc earning more than Javagal Srinath and Vengsarkar ever did. Kohli appears to be a special exception. Why should Ishant spend a season in county cricket learning how to bowl on dead pitches, when he can earn a million dollars for 1/10th of the work? Everyone who mentioned Bale - he's not English! Everyone who said that the EPL has great players - it does. But apart from a few (like Modric, Silva, RvP) they are not stars for top-drawer international teams. --cont

  • Aman on April 5, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    Poor article. Amazing to see so many people praising it. It seems that a person with little knowledge about Football has written the article. Michael Carrick doesn't justify his price tag? What? A player who played integral role in Man Utd's recent success. Football is not about having the most flashy players in all positions. Carrick is a key player for Man Utd. His role in their system is crucial. Jadeja and Vinay Kumar are poor players.

    The quality of the Premier League is quite high. Just have a look at the UEFA league coefficients to see which league sits at the top. The author seems to have written the article based on things he has heard about Football not the reality. The only similarity between Premier League and IPL is that both of them are amongst the best leagues in the World (IPL on the basis of CLT20 results). But both the national teams are not benefiting from the league's success. Both leagues are successful because of their top quality foreign players and managers

  • Jayaesh on April 5, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    First of all i am pleasantly surprised that many of the readers do know there football,I would say IPL n EPL are similar only because respective media in these two countries are obssesed about it plus the marketing blitz.Difference being Indian players especially the batters are much more skilled,attacking and superior than English footballers,i would also add Indian cricket is more comparable with Brazil,Barca or Real Madrid coz they have flair n skill in common.Secondly La Liga is compleately dominating Europe and if Madrid/Barca were to play in EPL they will both be 15 points ahead of other clubs.If just like the IPL number of foregin players is restricted in EPL then England would do a lot better in international arena.

  • Anonymous on April 5, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    When was the last time Aus, SA or Eng won a test series in India? Stop generalising everything and sundry

  • G on April 5, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    La Liga consists of 20 teams and not 2, Barca and Real Madrid.

    I understand you want to give more "impact" to your article, but saying something like that takes away all credibility.

  • Wasi on April 5, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Sated appetites, medicrity of talent, and abundance of booty and glamor are not the ingredients that inspire greatness.

  • Ashish on April 5, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Nice Article. Good Comparison. It also brings to view the sad reality that the structure is not going to change. Just like the EPL, the self sufficient model of IPL will continue to run for many years and in process, gradually diminish the skills of the players to mediocrity. Evey-body wins in this model. The players get more money. Administrators make more money. The viewers get more entertainment. Except maybe the die-hard Indian team fan who hurts to see the team humiliated. But again, who is going to go and change this model ? All those who can make a difference are the ones who are making profit. And ones who are hurting; well they can just blog/comment about it. A solution suggested was that we all should just boycott IPL. Very similar to the scenario when people suggested to stop eating onions because the price had gone to high. Just wouldn't work. It simply violates the demand-supply principle.

  • Dave on April 5, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    Who cares about football? By the way, being from USA and as India has more ties to USA than to UK, the correct term for the sport is soccer, not football. Americans are famous to force the world to follow them, and not caring what the world thinks of them.

  • DaGameChanger on April 5, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Rahul, as an fellow American and avid sports fan, I beg to differ to you. Although you sound more British to me than American. You couldn't have been more wrong in comparing Cricket with Soccer(I am American, I wont call it Football) Soccer essentially remains same 90 minute game always but Cricket has different formats with different rules in each format. IPL never promises that it can produce great Test cricketers. India's First class cricket and state level cricket is suppose to produce that. Regarding flat pitches and small boundaries, not only India but overall whole subcontinent grounds have essentially remain same size since early 80s. Moreover in Cricket, lot depends on Pitch. If India cannot beat England and Australia on their pitches, India have successfully done same to them on their own pitches. The only change I would like is Ground Size. Once boundary size changes, say 80 meters, you'll see lot of good ground fielding skills and bowlers ready to take on batsman.

  • ctrlaltdel on April 5, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    India's inability to win a test series in Aus/SA and Aus/Eng's inability to win in India have existed for many years prior to IPL.

    Dont think India's test abilities have been affected in a positive or negative way since IPL.

  • Anonymous on April 5, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    These are thoughts and arguements...not so structured but relevant I think.

    A last point...Henry amazing to watch for Arsenal not half his worth for France. Still amongst the best ever.

  • Gautam on April 5, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Australia and England also have their respective 20-20 formats. Except for probably the money involved, the format remains the same. Hit long balls. Not all players make it to the national teams. Some are given chances. Few succeed, few don't. They probably continue playing for their respective clubs.

    As far as the pitch, we've always had flat pitches, medium pace bowlers. We've hardly ever succeeded in winning tournaments abroad even before IPL. National team selection and grooming methods should be questioned. But eventually, we've got to make do with the best we've got. IPL probably has the best of the young breed. We still need those 15 right, and they can't all be Sachin, Dravid and Kumble. All teams go through a period of flux and churning. India's time has come. Some players will shine others will be replaced. West Indies never found solid ground after the 90s. Lara Chanderpaul, Walsh don't make an entire team.

  • SriHari on April 5, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    Hmm...bravo. You passed judgement on a competition which is barely 5 years into it's existence, that it is adversely effecting the technique of younger players. Also according to your logic, IPL is the reason for poor performances in tests in England and Australia, where the only Indian batsman to make a debut after the creation of IPL was the sole shining light. May I suggest you to refrain from jumping the gun in future. Also whats up with the weird comparison with the EPL. Was England's National football performing any better before the conception of EPL?

  • Dnyanesh on April 5, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    Apt comparision between IPL and EPL in terms of money and quality of the game. However a few points have been missed. 1. IPL hasnt caused our losses in the tests. We have been losing tests even before IPL. 2. EPL teams and IPL teams have gone out and won Champions League cups. So its not entirely mediocre. 3. If Indian teams struggle against chin music, the players from outside subcontinent cant play on our spin friendly tracks.

    What IPL has done besides fattening the bank balances of some cricketers is give young Indian cricketers exposure. Make players like Valthaty, Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu, R Ashwin, Rahul Sharma household names.Put more pressure on selectors to pick these fresh faces to replace the ageing stars.

    So all in all...not win-win...but not lose...lose like you would have us believe.

  • Gautam on April 5, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    Although I do agree with the basic premise of overvalued players in IPL, I find it difficult to digest the parallels drawn with EPL. 1. All leagues showcase potential talent. Not everybody will be Sachin or Messi but still have a role to play. 2. EPL is like any other league, La Liga, Bundesliga et al. It is not the most popular just because of financial clout. It is also popular because teams are more competetive than other leagues. La Liga always has Barca and Real in the title race. EPL has dark horses. 3. Messi is Argentinian not Spanish. He did not win the world cup for Spain. Neither did he play too well for Argentina. Barca did groom him and he stll is arguably the best player in the world right now. He is a well paid foreign player. IPL has some. 4. Spain itself has players mostly from Madrid and Barca...teams with the moolah right! The rich clubs get better players by grooming or buying. 5. IPL is just a popular format. Something that Ranji trophy could not achieve

  • Vinny Kooomar on April 5, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    lol... you got one legend Sir Jaddu's name right but missed on Vinny kooooooomaar. btw, who is this Vijay Kumar? another millionaire talentless freak from N.Srinivasan and Dhonis camp?

  • Srujan Raju on April 5, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    It's sad that I'm the first one to comment on such an incredible article which had been posted 16hours ago. But it surely is very well scripted with all the skills India has been lacking in the recent times and the approach India has succumbed to forget the ghosts of their recent past(defeats) against England and Australia.I just wish the Indian team would feel more responsible towards their game play and do better in their future away series on grassy pitches.

  • Manu on April 5, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    Sorry..stopped reading at the point where no English player would make a world XI..i think Rooney would take exception to that...maybe even a bale..umm..and a word XI would likely choose a tendulkar..and i dont think there's a better wk in the world than dhoni...if its only recent form we are concerned with..virat kohli would walk into most world XIs..also apart from a bad year..post the 1st 3 yrs of IPL..india won the world cup..was ranked 1st in the test rankings..and beat eng in england...wi in wi..tied w sl in sl..narrowly lost to SA in SA..while maintaining its unbeaten record at home...myopia is the enemy of good writing..India..much like australia 2 yrs ago...is iat the beginning of its transition cycle..where the old are beginning to show their age..and the new are getting their toes wet...sory..but the writer suffers from exactly the same thing that he is writing against...although i'm not a crazy fan of iPL..its a great tournament for an insight into the next season.

  • Zabardast on April 5, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    Rahul absolutely splendor, what a comparision and depiction full marks to you sir.

  • Manu on April 5, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Sorry..stopped reading at the point where no English player would make a world XI..i think Rooney would take exception to that...maybe even a bale..umm..and a word XI would likely choose a tendulkar..and i dont think there's a better wk in the world than dhoni...if its only recent form we are concerned with..virat kohli would walk into most world XIs..also apart from a bad year..post the 1st 3 yrs of IPL..india won the world cup..was ranked 1st in the test rankings..and beat eng in england...wi in wi..tied w sl in sl..narrowly lost to SA in SA..while maintaining its unbeaten record at home...myopia is the enemy of good writing..India..much like australia 2 yrs ago...is iat the beginning of its transition cycle..where the old are beginning to show their age..and the new are getting their toes wet...sory..but the writer suffers from exactly the same thing that he is writing against...although i'm not a crazy fan of iPL..its a great tournament for an insight into the next season.

  • Abhay Sundaram on April 5, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    A batsman's technique will be that much more crucial. You will hear Boycott telling batsmen to keep it on "the carpet" all over again. We are already seeing another positive aspect of T20 affect Tests in a positive way: more world class fast bowlers. Short 4 over work loads prompt more bowlers to give it their all. Not all successful T20 fast bowlers will do well in Tests, but the few who do, like a Hilfenhaus, Steyn, Pattinson, etc will give a new fillip to Tests.

  • Abhay Sundaram on April 5, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    ... with French and African players. This will only lead to a greater improvement among domestic players who otherwise might have never had such an opportunity. Think back to the number of excellent Ranji players who missed out due to the colossal figures of Gavaskars and the Tendulkars, but who now have an opportunity to still rub shoulders with world class players despite not playing for India. The IPL is good for cricket. T20 is good for cricket. ODI cricket helped improve run rates in Test cricket from below 3 to almost 4 on average. T20 will not only improve this further, but will also close the gap between bat and ball due to drastic improvement in out fielding. In T20, bad fielding can make the difference between winning and losing, no matter how impressive the batting and bowling might be. When these fielding standards get transferred to Test match cricket, and there is no doubt they will, it will make each moment of Test match cricket that much more exciting. (contd.)

  • Abhay Sundaram on April 5, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    d) The author mentions that the PL has re-enforced the stereotypical English long-ball game. This could not be more false. While English players themselves may still struggle to come to grips with the technical ability of the Spanish and the Italians, the Premier League has seen an unprecedented influx of foreign players into the league, and today almost 45% of the players in the PL are not English. English clubs' ability to cope with the continental Europe's finest is further demonstrated in the records of the top English teams in the Champions League, Europe's finest club competition. The number of English teams in the latter stages clearly indicate their mastery over the tiki-taka, the catenaccio, et al. e) All of which brings us to the point: The IPL is NOTHING like the BPL. For starters, the cap on the number of foreign players per team ensures that you will never see Delhi Daredevils field a team full of Australians and Englishmen, like Arsenal do (contd.)

  • Vijai on April 5, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Well said and correct on all counts. Question: What can the fan do? If EPL is an example, then all that's left for the fan is to believe in the dope marketed by the championships and hide under the table when the national team tours abroad.

  • Lancy Jacob on April 5, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    What a pathetic piece of an article and the standard of EspnCricinfo is going down on a daily basis. Talking about Michael Carrick hmmmm what a piece of a joke

  • Az on April 5, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    I think RA Jadeja is the most useless player in world cricket today. How do you justify that he is worth $2million to CSK while Chris Gayle who is a proven match winner, single handedly, is worth only 25% of Jadeja's value? Some people have all the luck. In India, we do seem to reward mediocrity.

  • Ashutosh on April 5, 2012, 3:21 GMT

    I'm just happy to see that there were tons of vacant seats in the opening game!

  • Prasanna on April 5, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    The article takes a totally pessimistic view of indian cricket, with which i completely disagree. Are we jealous/envious of cricketers earning large sums? its after all indirectly sponsored by us. we pay to watch them on the television after all, don't we? Regarding the current losses to England and Australia. Can someone tell me how many overseas matches we won between 1995-2001, while the big four were yet to settle in test cricket?

  • sridhar mathrubootham on April 5, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    there is a big difference in IPL and EPL. most teams in EPL hardly have any english players. few years back there was a study identifying this anomaly by english press and they noted 6 of the 20 teams had no english players and the rest had less than 20% ( and some exclusively warming the sub bench). IPL gives opportunity (though i agree the concept was roped in for its money making ways) to lots of youngsters who hardly have a chance to showcase their talent. it is short as far as the duration of the tournament goes and has given rise to incredible talent in the form of viral kohli and ashwin etc. other countries have mimicked this and reaped benefits- david warner for instance in australia, and as far as india doing badly in england etc, the same crop of losing indians in england havent lost a series in england since 1996 till last year and in the case of india v australia- australians did not win a series in india since 1969 till 2004. they cannot be termed a bad side

  • chokkashokka on April 5, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    Please do not insult anything Indian by comparing to anything english? This website does enough to insult Indian cricket and trump english cricket. Just take a look at the comments that get through the moderation process and the headlines and heavily slighted articles against Indian cricket - ironically it is Indian cricket that pays for the running of this website. Shame

  • Abd on April 5, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    Hi. good article. just one thing.. when u compared the great teams of all time.. u probably left out the greatest ever..even better dan dis current barca.. arrigo sacchi's milan at the turn of the '90s. Test is not gonna win u money. Indian cricketers are boosting their CV as being world cup winners so dey r makin da big bucks.. dey know dere job is done for da next 12 years bcoz dey knw deres no way dere gonna even come close to winning it in Aus-Nz.. so.. let the heroes of now bask in all the cream

  • Purav on April 5, 2012, 3:01 GMT

    When will BCCI learn that easing out the rules for players joining county clubs and sheffield teams is the best way to move forward. With the gaining popularity of T20 cricket,it was hard enough for our board to deny the replica of EPL.

  • ElBeeDubya on April 5, 2012, 2:49 GMT

    "Mediocrity – it takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late." Hear, hear!

  • Darius Rana on April 5, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    EXCELLENT, excellent article. Modi and those other clowns in the BCCI should read this asap. However like the Indian cricketers they are too busy counting the moolah. India's current generation of cricketers are nothing but an overhyped bunch of rubbish. I am praying that the IPL runs out of steam and Indian fans stop buying into the hype. This will eventually happen when India are bottom of the Test & ODI rankings. However the BCCI has acted to prevent this by ensuring all cricket over the next 2 years is played in India.

    The fact is the Indian cricketers and the BCCI are more then happy to be a mediocre bunch and rake in the dough. The Indian fan can change this by refusing to buy into the IPL circus. Hit them in the pocket where it hurts.

  • ElBeeDubya on April 5, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    "Mediocrity – it takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late." Hear, hear!

  • Nader on April 5, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    Guy, you're a brilliant sports writer. Keep it up, man. Hope to see more of your blogs in this space.

  • Des Kehoe on April 5, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    Think this is a fair piece and I find cricket having some good players but nobody great.Sachin is on his last legs as is Ponting but who is coming through?Amla Cook are up there.I will be honest and say I prefer tests but I did go to Eng V WI T20 and had a good evening.The problem though is players are going for the quick buck and that's fair play for them but if you are playing T20 you are not learning the art of test cricket. Eoin Morgan has gone to the IPL he will earn good money but will he get his England place back?I don't have the answers but am worried for the sport

  • Kuldeep Singh on April 5, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    Rahul, so much that I hate IPL for having negative effect on Inidan cricket in the longer form of the game. You can not judge Indian cricket team by the last two series overseas.India has done well over the last 10 years in all forms of the game in every part of he world. Winning the world cup last year was one of the finest moment in Indian cricket. Dhoni and Co made us proud on that day for which we will be indebited for the rest of our lives. Let me remind the readers that India is the only hosting country to win a World Cup final. The problem lies with BCCI and their lack of vision. IPL, test matches and ODIs can co-exis together but we need a better administration of Indian cricket.

  • Philip David on April 5, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    Fantastic report. too true my friend, its unfortunate to see our decline in cricket.

  • dhrumit on April 5, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    It already has and it has made other countries to follow thm too with BPL and SLPL. It is just screwing the cricket and there will be a day when there is very few matches btwn two countries. players r choosing to play in IPL rather than playing for their countries and that is very sad to see.

  • Anil on April 5, 2012, 2:15 GMT

    Absolutely true, I agree all the points you have made.

  • Lampard on April 5, 2012, 1:39 GMT

    Its so obvious we are going in the same way. But in case of Football , if you don't perform well at the clubs , then you don't get picked for international duty.

    In case of Cricket until now it has been the opposite. But who knows .. In the next 20 years .. we might have 20 teams with points system , and yes players are making fortunes because they fit for the format and there is a lot of money involved in IPL. Why can't you guys let the players earn ? Its time Indian Cricket should step up and be known to the entire world.

    Who cares about Test Cricket ? Young upcoming players say they want to play Test Cricket and all only for the Cameras .. But in reality everyone wants to earn big bugs. I am sure after 10 years , when the young generation will grow , they will not watch Test Cricket.But they will watch exciting leagues like IPL ~ And I am sure there will be other leagues in the world as well ~

    Its a fast world out there .. no one has time to watch 5 day Cricket.

    Peace

  • Arjun on April 5, 2012, 1:34 GMT

    Spot on...I was thinking along the same lines.

  • Khurram Ahmed on April 5, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    Great piece.

    Footballers don't have to cope with differing conditions, at least to the extent that cricketers do.

    The counter-argument posed by Kuper and Szymanski in Soccernomics is that the English dominance in International play is held back by their league because of how competitive it is. Players have to give so much on the pitch every three days, they burn out during international duty. (Of course, if you consider La Liga superior, Spin being Euro and World Cup champs is hard to explain.)

    Secondly, they say that eventually, the talent will go to big, cosmopolitan cities. Players will care less about the history and legacy of Manchester United, and prefer to live and thrive in London. If the money pool of the IPL were to be duplicated in global capitals, players would owe no allegiance to the IPL.

    India and the IPL have the upper hand right now, but they are paying a steep price outside the subcontinent. They should also be desperate to maintain their monopoly.

  • Vinicius on April 5, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    Very good points. One thing is market, another is playing quality - and what makes EPL more popular than La Liga or Serie A just say that. I just think IPL can focus more in reputation than quaity, gathering more fans, etc.

    And, hey, u didn't forgot that Pelé played at Santos! Being a brazilian myself makes it fun.

  • S.Khan on April 5, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    Jadeja is the multi-million dollar man. What a pitiful figure he was on India's tour. His buddy Dhoni kept playing him over and over agin and each time he didn't fail to fail. Dhoni keeps ignoring tested match winners like Pathan.

  • Kazi on April 5, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    I really like this article, you used your facts very well and in the right places. Test Cricket is the way forward.

  • virat singh on April 5, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    i dont like ipl at all. this is the waste of time to watch daily matches that have no significance to raise indian cricket . Because of ipl india's performance in test matches fall . i want to this tournament to be played once in 4 years and the duration of the tournament should not be more than 1 month .

  • Jason on April 5, 2012, 0:08 GMT

    I think this is the best article on the subject I have read since the IPL came to be. Bravo my friend - I do not think I can agree any more. Wish there were more articulate writers and cricket fans like yourself.

    -Jason

  • Kaz on April 5, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    From this article, it shows you have absolutely no knowledge of the Premier League, or football in general. The 'spanish premier league' you call is actually called the la liga, or ligue BBVA. How you can name the la liga the best in the world is beyond me. Every season it is either Real Madrid or Barcelona winning the league. Not much variety. In the Premier League, you have Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool fighting for the league, making it a lot more interesting. The 'hoofing' of the ball is only done by one team, Stoke, so that generalisation is poor. Finally, Scholes the only person who can pass like Spain did in 2010? Have you heard of people like Jack Wilshere, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Yaya Toure and many many many more? Stick to cricket. You clearly know NOTHING about football.

  • KTron on April 4, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    Yes, English football traditionally has been the long ball and physical approach and that is a grass-roots level thing (schools, early coaching, etc). And for that reason you don't find English footballers at the professional level with a great bit of dribbling skills or fancy footwork ala a Messi or a Ronaldinho. But to say that the EPL is second to any other league in the world is laughable at best. It is the most competitive league in the world. Teams like Man Utd and Arsenal play the same great football in Eng and in Europe.The problem is not the league,it's the national team, the English players. And the issue with the national team is not the style of the football, but the quality of performance. It's the Premier League that is helping create the next generation of quality world-class English players like Wilshere, A-Ox Chamberlain, etc, who are not the traditional breed of the past. Also with cricket it's an issue of very different formats requiring very different skill sets.

  • delvon mcewan on April 4, 2012, 23:57 GMT

    i do believe the IPL league is indeed the renaissance of cricket,and withstanding corruption and improper management within a few years will be compared to English football.

  • Ankit on April 4, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    Sorry to say this but this isn't a very smart article at all & it is a very narrow minded look at Indian cricket. Also how easily you undermine our World Cup victory is amazing, at least give the guys some credit for that.

    The IPL is not all bad, and if guys like Ravindra Jadeja and Vinay Kumar are able to secure their futures by playing in such a tournament then I see no harm in it. They work hard to get where they are and I see this as just reward.

  • sidney sridhar on April 4, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    This is an excellent article and an accurate summation of the Indian Cricket scene. The introduction of IPL has made these Cricket games more a circus than sport. So many freak shots, where the batsmen swing and miss and the crowd roars are features seldon seen in a real game. In true style IPL is Indian Tamasha, with filmstars adding pazaz!

  • kishore on April 4, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    Sooo true. That's what worries me so much.

  • Yogesh on April 4, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    Excellent article, Rahul! And one that I wish the BCCI administrators will read and introspect on. But wait, they - and the players and the media - are all running to the bank in glee, while the poor, besotted, dumb Indian fans are left rubbing their eyes and wondering if they should believe the propaganda machine's words about how beautiful the emperor's clothes are, when their own impression is that the emperor is naked. Come one, come all - O ye miserable fans, the barrel full of BCCI's Koolaid is here. Drink of it aplenty! Ahhh, there you go, isn't the Indian team a team of world beaters, you poor sods?!

  • Uday on April 4, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    Brilliantly written my friend - Well said! You draw an excellent comparison between the English Premier League and the IPL. I dont necessarily agree that the IPL breeds mediocrity - as there have been players that have reinvented themselves by focussing on the shorter version. But yes - mediocrity needs to be guarded against and work needs to be done to have an approach to improve one's performance in all formats of the game.

    Take care, Uday

  • chints on April 4, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    Spot on.. I witnessed the agony of shameless defeat in Aus. It was a joke the way star studded batting line up batted. There was an outcry by Australian commentators, why India doesnot prepare fast/bouncy pratice pitches? BCCI should atleast prepare 2 venues in the country where wickets are similar to Aus or South Africa. Also, there are more issues with the bowling then batting.. We cannot win Test matches without quality seam bowling. It is just matter of time we will start lossing at home. The only postive was the fielding.. which has improved a lot. India doesnt lack skill... but it definetly lacks vision

  • chints on April 4, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    Spot on.. I witnessed the agony of shameless defeat in Aus. It was a joke the way star studded batting line up batted. There was an outcry by Australian commentators, why India doesnot prepare fast/bouncy pratice pitches? BCCI should atleast prepare 2 venues in the country where wickets are similar to Aus or South Africa. Also, there are more issues with the bowling then batting.. We cannot win Test matches without quality seam bowling. It is just matter of time we will start lossing at home. The only postive was the fielding.. which has improved a lot. India doesnt lack skill... but it definetly lacks vision

  • Diptesh on April 4, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    can someone please help stop the ipl it is disgusting taking out all the form for one day international games please stop the ipl it is ruining cricket game

  • Adam on April 4, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    You forgot a bit that talks about the nature of the cricket played in the IPL. In the EPL, they play by the same rules as international football. In the IPL they play T20 cricket, a football equivalent of each team taking 10 corners, one after the other, and the ball isn't allowed outside the box. Sure, some of the skills overlap but it's not good practice for the real thing.

  • Will hinch on April 4, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    What a horribly ilinformed article. Firstly, it was only a few years ago english teams were dominating the champions league, an this year there is 1 english team to spains 2 in the semis, so how it can be said la liga is of higher quality to the premiership is baffling. Plus, speaking of making money, the premiership share there tv money amongst the whole dvision. Each la liga team is able to seel there own tv rights, leaving a two horse race for the title year upon year. Finally, whilst i see such build up to the ipl this year on cricinfo, the same cannot be said for that of the county championship, beginning this week. All in all, i think it can be agreed the ipl has gone well beyond fhe premiership in terms of selling out to the advertises. What with sponsors for simply taking a 'carbon kamal' catch. What a shocker.

  • Tushar on April 4, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    So no English players in world 11? Try telling that to Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney. And also the top earners in EPL are not English versions of Jadeja or Vijay (not even sure who this guy is) Kumar. The top earners are most of the times foreigners... Torres, or in past Ronaldo. EPL is not franchise based. EPL does compete against other domestic leagues. Number of foreign players you can play in an EPL team is not limited to a very small number... That also means Carrick plays because he deserves to otherwise sir Alex can easily replace him with a foreigner. Agreed there are some parallels between the two, but comparing them like this is a little stretch. Also we haven't seen many American Pundits on EPL. we like to believe we know our leagues better than you guys do.

  • Ricky on April 4, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    Cricket is trying to go the football way-ipl and champions league 20-20 illustrate it.however,i cant see ipl or for that matter cricket ever reach the level football has reached.for all money ipl generates,it will always remain in the shadows of football as football is played in 206 countries,the fifa world cup/euro cup are watched more than even the olympics.the big english clubs like manchester united,liverpool were all global brands even before the premier league era started.real madrid,bayern munich,barcelona,milan were all sporting institutes even before la liga,bundesliga and serie a originated.these clubs had a soul even before money came in

  • Shekhar viswanarh on April 4, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    I couldn't disagree with this article more. What is true is that a lot more players are getting discovered due to the massive bounty to be had. I think India is redefining cricket and test cricket will slowly but surely become a boutique event with 3 or 4 targettted series played annually.

  • Anonymous on April 4, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    Spot on mate...you have hit the nail on the head...good read..hope BCCI officials are reading this too...which is way too optimistic of me.

  • Sourabh on April 4, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    "but by and large the younger generation of cricketers have fared miserably in more testing conditions" Indeed.. why are conditions in Australia and England more testing than the subcontinent? Hasn't the England team struggled so much recently in UAE and Sri Lanka?

  • Tahmid on April 4, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    "In other words, the Premier League has propagated and, in many cases, encouraged the power over skill stereotype, and the quality of the average Premier League game is routinely lower than the average game of the Premier championship in Spain, the La Liga."

    That's not true at all, I would say the standard of La Liga games not involving either Real Madrid or Barcelona who old a monopoly on the sport much lower, just take the defending, it's appalling compared to the Premier League

    It does seem like the author is trying to link two different points about the creation of the Premier League with the way that English mentality of football (i.e. big striker to hoof to) has damaged international chances, which are pretty seperate and probably more to do with culture and the way players are brought up and trained in England.

  • Sri on April 4, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    To add to my earlier comment, see what Geoff Boycott had o say in the Telegraph:

    "If we can’t win in the sub-continent then England are a one-dimensional team. We are very good if pitches are true and the seamers can dominate. As soon as the pitch becomes a slow turner and demands adjustment in technique and temperament from the batsmen we make silly mistakes ..."

  • Sri on April 4, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    Firstly, a well written document, bravo!

    I genuinely beleive that 20/20 has definitely spoilt the outlook of cricket and cricketer's attitude, which is very evident in the way Sehwag batted in the Tests in Australia. There is currently an overdose of 20/20s, both at domestics levels (including the likes of IPL, BBL etc) and at T20Is levels. The relevant cricketing boards don't want o do anything about it as it brings in a lot of revenue. Anyone would agree with me on this as hey would on your article.

    What I dont understand that if batting on flat pitches is that easy then why did the so called to teams of the world (Australia and South Africa - based on your statement above) didn't win o win the world cup 2011. I accept India's performance in Aus and Eng was poor, but I am sick and tired of people like you whinging about India's victory in the World Cup 2011. Grow up and try and appreciate an effort that bought WC back to Inia after 28 years.

    JAI HIND!!!

  • Vin on April 4, 2012, 21:33 GMT

    Good stuff. Real stuff. No harm in making good dough...just don't seem worth it.

  • Jack Singh on April 4, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    You mean "Vinay Kumar" not Vijay... But bitter truth whatever you have said and having grown up with Indian cricket for last 20 years, it hurts to this.

  • Chakri on April 4, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    Absolutely spot on Rahul, very well said. The world cup win should be viewed in proper perspective and instead of gloating about it, we better know that our time at the top of test cricket (although brief) was because of a handful of exceptional performers(and performances) almost nearing their end. There is no quality in the ranks, almost all our fast bowlers who shine in a series are inexplicably completely lost the next series rolls around. Irfan Pathan had so much promise, I envisioned the great Wasim in him, now, he is just on the fringe and gets blasted by Bangladeshi batsmen in the final overs of an ODI. RP Singh, whatever happened to him after the World T20 win in South Africa. Sreesanth still thinks he is a 16 year old. Ashish Nehra is already on the wrong side of 30. No openers who have temperament to play an anchor. We have one Kohli, and we are determined to spoil him with comparisons to the greats who played when he still was in his diapers. IPL is as much a boon as a bane

  • Yeshu Aggarwal on April 4, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    Just re-read a bit again and though the quality of Spanish football may be ranked higher but it lacks competition. I mean look past 5 years or so. RMD and Barça have just led the tables, like forever. Compare that to the EPL. We have someone like Man City this year doing well and Spurs did well to fight it out. Look at Liverpool and Chelsea, the way they are struggling.

  • Yeshu Aggarwal on April 4, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    Two 'whys' I have. First why only English Football and secondly why only Indian cricket? It is the whole game of football that has the club format and the culture of 'club over country' (Van Nistelrooy, a Dutch can be a perfect example). I think cricket is unknowingly going towards that way. And for cricket it is just not possible because its roots are in test cricket. Unlike football, it has 3 different formats and I think this is where the problem lies. We are crying as Indian fans and I believe the English would be crying as well (England lost 4 test matches on the trot as well, away from home). So its a global problem and not just about India.

  • Anonymous on April 4, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    congratulation for your fantastic analysis, but sorry gentleman! nothing can stop the great india in this chase.........this is the new india in 21st century when it becomes the largest nation importing arms........runs for money......power.....money...........power......"things fall apart, the centre cannot hold........."

  • Venkat on April 4, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    The author of this article/comment/diatribe does not even bother about the basic invalidity of his argument. Yes, English soccer is mediocre, despite Premier League. But that is in the only version of soccer. Cricket has multiple versions and despite all arguments for the purity of test cricket, shorter forms are here to stay (and grow) and what is wrong if India creates a commercial vehicle and talent around it. Despite all short comings of Indian test team they were No. 1 in recent past (and just 7 rating points short of current leader, with internationally borrowed talent). If England can create a No. 1 test team with its immigration system, what is wrong in India creating a No. 1 short form team with its IPL? No other test team in the last decade had as much pure (test) batting talent as Sachin/Dravid/Laxman/Ganguly. It is funny to see how much our colonial overlords hate when India can think and come up with something original and game changing.

  • vinamr on April 4, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    Bang on. Have been of the same opinion for a while now , mediocrity, complacency and an utter lack of real cricketing skill are the hallmarks of the indian team and cricketing ethos in the nation. Considering that ours is a one sport nation , we run the risk of being the laughing stock of the larger sporting world.

  • Jay Kumar on April 4, 2012, 20:56 GMT

    I can definitely say the IPL is doing good in many ways for Indian cricket. First of all, many young and not so well off players can earn a decent income through the league. Secondly, the sheer exposure when rubbing shoulders with players from around the world is in itself a sensation. Add to that, the bubbling economy of India and we have one handsome package. Many cynics feel Indian test cricket will eventually suffer due to the IPL. I completely disagree with those folks. Simply because T20 is a totally different format to tests. And then you have all the meaningless scheduling of the BCCI and the ICC pushing players to the brink. If we can somehow reduce the number of international fixtures per year then that would produce quality cricket as well as accommodate the IPL. Besides, the IPL is only a month and half long. So no harm done there. Lastly, the Indian test team were never good overseas. It's not like the IPL did anything to worsen it.

  • Giridhar on April 4, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    Spot on! Well written article! But with the amount of money being thrown around (and around mediocrity as rightly mentioned) I cant really see the culture and ethos shift happening any time soon. I hope the new generation of players focus more on winning some test series away from home conditions.

    I do have one qualm about using bowling conditions of only swing as a judgement for skill. Playing spin well is also a skill that is not easily acquired, and by that standard a lot of good English and Aussie batsmen can also be found lacking in skill. So as much as playing in swinging conditions is a good test for skill, do not belittle playing good spinning conditions.

  • ashish on April 4, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    The basic premise of the article is that the "quality" of players (as defined by critics)is somehow more important than the entertainment value for spectators. That itself is questionable. The aim of T20 and ODI cricket is to provide entertainment value. If the purist get offended, its really their problem. Cricket is played in a handful of countries. Did you ever wonder why cricket is played in a handful of countries and sports like basketball (that started around the same time) have more international followers? The primary reason being the lack of entertainment in the traditional format. Dont blame T20. It requires a different set of skills than what is required in Test cricket. The current crop of crickets is not mediocre. They are skilled as per the demands of the format that is going to be the most popular format.

  • neha khanna on April 4, 2012, 20:49 GMT

    Brilliant article and so true.

  • Albert on April 4, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    This is the first time ever i have come across an Indian with an intimate understanding of soccer.

    That aside, the parallels drawn here between the soccer league and IPL are a fact, as is with everything else pointed out. The problem is, the cricket team is as good as the followers in that country, and sadly for India, nothing will change until the followers understand this which is a tall ask.

  • S on April 4, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    continuation from my earlier comment:

    Your observations of drawbacks on Indian players, their technique, state of the pitches in India are correct. But blaming the IPL for that is wrong. BCCI should be the one to take the blame. Having so many pointless games at home, only help is boosting averages and not the skill of the players. Instead, they should let the players go and play for the English counties, as Dravid, Tendulkar, etc. did in the 90's.

    It seems like you started with a premise/idea and started collecting "fact" that suited your premise. After reading this article, I'd like to say, "Is the author sending Cricinfo the English tabloid way?

  • av on April 4, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    ok. totally rubbish what you just said.

    as for the premier league, IT IS the best league in the world. so many teams competing for same spot. Just look at la liga .only two teams ( rm and fc barca)are there, and others are light years behind them.

    Just a few years back, epl teams were dominating champs league, with 3 out of 4 epl teams in semis. MORAL-- every dog has his day.

    as for the english national team, they have their own style..i dont even like them, but lets be honest here refereeing decision cost them that match (vs germany) and they crashed out.

    as for the barca team, they haven't deserved to win anything, I don't care how much they 'deserve', they have got referees on their payroll. period.

    coming to indian cricket. MYTHS: 1.jadeja is an allrounder. 2. Vinay kumar is a seamer. 3. these two are the future.

    TRUTH: 1. The above two are overhyped pieces of s hit.

    nothing is broken, they aussies and english prepared tracks to suit them overwhelmingly, and so will we.

  • S on April 4, 2012, 20:39 GMT

    Your comparison of IPL with EPL is in lines with the half-cooked ideas presented in the British media. The money in the EPL is not the reason for state of English national football team. If so, Spain should be as bad. The amount of money Barcelona or Real Madrid have is lot more. The commercial revenue they generate through independent TV and commercial deals is quite a bit. The lack of technique in English national team is not because of the EPL but because of the poor quality of coaches in England at the youth, infrastructure in the academies, so stupid rules the FA has about youth recruiting players.

    Continued...

  • tom on April 4, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    So very true....after all crass commercial gain has always won in INdia

  • Gautam Surya on April 4, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    Nicely written, but I feel that this analysis is way off base. First, the advent of the Premiership was not accompanied by a change in the format of the game itself. Second, are we forgetting that English teams have been in the Champions League final three of the last four years? This year may be a down year for the EPL, but that hasn't always been the case. And the comparison to La Liga makes no sense, as both leagues have the same format, financing, etc.! Plus, Tendulkar would easily make a World Test XI, as would Dhoni potentially - and if it were a world ODI XI, add Kohli/Raina in the mix. The EPL isn't responsible for the downturn in English football on the international scale anymore than La Liga is responsible for the boom in Spanish football, and neither can be compared to the IPL. The link between the IPL and Indian international cricket is that it is played in the most frivolous and internationally irrelevant format, and clutters an already crowded cricket calendar.

  • AG on April 4, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    Very well said ..Indian cricket after few years will be in disarray.We can already see the new players don't have temparment and patience to wait on the crease while playing test match.IPL was given birth to break ICL's back but people like Modi,used it to his advantage to earn all the bucks..

  • skroegerj on April 4, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    Nice writeup. Only I don't know of a 'ViJay Kumar' playing at the international level. Also, he has actually performed quite admirably at the international level despite his limitations. I'm not too fond of him but was surprised at how well he's done since his inclusion in the national team.

  • Vilander on April 4, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    i agree Indian cricket team is crap now, but please be done with the modest pace bit! Yadav and Ishant operated in 150Ks i am not sure if that is modest who in international level is not modest ? i think its got to do with lack of skill in bowling,batting and fielding on the whole

  • sai on April 4, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    An excellent article.The comparision seems spot on,the only difference being that England is starting to discover really talented youngsters while Indians don't have a hope.

  • Amit on April 4, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    Very well written and perfect analogy.This is indeed the condition of Indian Cricket and unfortunately I do not see it improving in the immediate future. It really hurts to see Indian cricket inclining more and more towards monetary gains than stressing on improving young players skill set. In-fact ,I really do not see why Indian Cricket team should continue to play test matches anymore when they do not respect that version of the game. A loss or a tie simply does not matter to them anymore and they think of covering it up with a win in One-day or T20 match.I think BCCI should opt out from test playing nation title when they cannot take seriously the outcomes in the match anymore.These goons are just after the money involved in the game. Kudos to Australia , SA and England cricket,they are trying hard to keep the test match alive and keep the interests of youngsters in this version.

  • neutralfan on April 4, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    Good article, and agree with most of it, except the Indian world cup win need not be undervalued by saying it is just an outcome of flat pitches. The pitches flat or not, were the same for all teams (and this includes other subcontinent teams - 3 of which made the semis) as were the heavy bats and tiny boundaries. Also worth remembering that several foreign players have also played in IPL and have same exposure. So while the quality issue is definitely valid, IPLs presence does not diminish all other Indian achievements...

  • Attacko on April 4, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Domestic sport competitions should not be designed with the aim of creating a powerful international team, they are part of the entertainment industry, and both the IPL and the EPL are great success stories in providing big global audience with some fantastic entertainment. Of course they need to be careful to preserve a feeling that the games are competitive and the players are exciting to watch, but they both do that. Is daft to claim the EPL isn't entertaining... and also its teams have a fantastic record in european competition over recent years. The reasons for the england football team not being strong are not rooted in the EPL structure....

  • pradeep kumar on April 4, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    it is a awesome article. it shows the future of indian cricket

  • Reshad Sergeant on April 4, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    No Englishman would get in a World XI? Clearly you have never heard of James Perch! In Perchino we trust!

  • arun on April 4, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    Absolutely spot on!! I cannot agree with you more. In fact, I don't follow IPL at all these days after the humiliating losses overrseas. Especially, that point about Jadeja and Vinay Kumar. Both are super-mediocre players. They can only get better, I mean more super-mediocre, via IPL. I don't care they are making hell a lot of money in IPL. If IPL helps at least a bit to reverse the results in Australia and England in the future, then its fine. Otherwise, it will continue to be a heart-break every time India go out of the sub-continent.

  • Abhi on April 4, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    Very well put. The article hits the nail right on the head. Average crickets are being spoilt by easy money and easier pitches. The game in India only stands to suffer. No wonder the recent IPL matches have reduced number of people showing up

  • Prashant on April 4, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    First, lets get out of the way the notion that La Liga is somehow clearly superior to the Premier League. La Liga has a couple of great teams, maybe even a few good teams, but it is by and large comprised of mostly terrible teams.

    I agree that the Indian test team now generally looks like Zimbabwe or Afghanistan outside of sub-continental conditions. But, this is largely due to a complete lack of vision and strategy on the part of the BCCI (mostly because they don't particularly care about winning tests overseas), and not due to some newfound-IPL-riches syndrome. We could actually spend IPL money on doing things like replicating foreign conditions at home. Not to mention giving technically sound young batsmen overseas test experience, and maybe even grooming a real fast bowler or two. I wouldn't hold my breath though.

  • Vipin Prabhakaran on April 4, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    As honest as you have tried to be with the words you have used to compare the leagues, I must point out that you have not entirely been that observant. As a faithful follower of football (i dont like it being called soccer), I do indeed believe that the quality of an average English game is far better than one seen in Spain or Italy or Germany. Bar Barca and Real Madrid, not a single one of the remaining lot has the quality or the determination to fight for anything. As proven by the number of automatic qualification spots that England gets in Champions League. The number is based purely on merit and not based on popularity of the team. So if a particular league does well in Europe it means they are that good. Except Barcelona, which is the other Spanish team to have reached the final of a European championship or won it, in the recent past? NO ONE. The quality of two teams in a league does not make the league better than the other.

  • Siddhesh on April 4, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    Agreed on almost all points except the last couple of lines where the writer seemingly makes it look like it is actually criminal for India to win on subcontinent wickets.... What's wrong in that?? When the English can thrive and win in their overcast swinging conditions suited to even the slowest of the dibbly dobbly bowlers or the south Africans thrive on the bouncy wickets then why can't we thrive on the subcontinent wickets? Although that doesn't mean that we shouldn't perform well overseas when thats something we've done well until very recently

  • Siva Bhaskaran on April 4, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    India has never won a series in South Africa or Australia. How will stopping IPL will help India achieve these goals? MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli will walk into any international Limited Overs team now. Give these guys a couple of more years in the test cricket. The test team will take a turn for the better. I mean it cannot do any worse than it is doing at the moment.

  • JustForFun on April 4, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Not sure this article is worth a comment, still my 2 cents here. I, like most of IPL followers watch it for entertainment value. It's bit of fun in the summer time and that's it. If you don't like it then you are free to watch what you like. Everybody plays well in home condition. Please check Aus, Eng record in India then comment on India's performance outside Asia. 3 world cups in BBCI cabinet is not bad collection you know...

  • Harish on April 4, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Well Said. 100 Percent agreed.

  • IG on April 4, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    2 of the most over-hyped, yet terribly mediocre entities in the world - English Football and Indian cricket. "Mediocrity – it takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late." - perfectly said.

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  • IG on April 4, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    2 of the most over-hyped, yet terribly mediocre entities in the world - English Football and Indian cricket. "Mediocrity – it takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late." - perfectly said.

  • Harish on April 4, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Well Said. 100 Percent agreed.

  • JustForFun on April 4, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Not sure this article is worth a comment, still my 2 cents here. I, like most of IPL followers watch it for entertainment value. It's bit of fun in the summer time and that's it. If you don't like it then you are free to watch what you like. Everybody plays well in home condition. Please check Aus, Eng record in India then comment on India's performance outside Asia. 3 world cups in BBCI cabinet is not bad collection you know...

  • Siva Bhaskaran on April 4, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    India has never won a series in South Africa or Australia. How will stopping IPL will help India achieve these goals? MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli will walk into any international Limited Overs team now. Give these guys a couple of more years in the test cricket. The test team will take a turn for the better. I mean it cannot do any worse than it is doing at the moment.

  • Siddhesh on April 4, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    Agreed on almost all points except the last couple of lines where the writer seemingly makes it look like it is actually criminal for India to win on subcontinent wickets.... What's wrong in that?? When the English can thrive and win in their overcast swinging conditions suited to even the slowest of the dibbly dobbly bowlers or the south Africans thrive on the bouncy wickets then why can't we thrive on the subcontinent wickets? Although that doesn't mean that we shouldn't perform well overseas when thats something we've done well until very recently

  • Vipin Prabhakaran on April 4, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    As honest as you have tried to be with the words you have used to compare the leagues, I must point out that you have not entirely been that observant. As a faithful follower of football (i dont like it being called soccer), I do indeed believe that the quality of an average English game is far better than one seen in Spain or Italy or Germany. Bar Barca and Real Madrid, not a single one of the remaining lot has the quality or the determination to fight for anything. As proven by the number of automatic qualification spots that England gets in Champions League. The number is based purely on merit and not based on popularity of the team. So if a particular league does well in Europe it means they are that good. Except Barcelona, which is the other Spanish team to have reached the final of a European championship or won it, in the recent past? NO ONE. The quality of two teams in a league does not make the league better than the other.

  • Prashant on April 4, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    First, lets get out of the way the notion that La Liga is somehow clearly superior to the Premier League. La Liga has a couple of great teams, maybe even a few good teams, but it is by and large comprised of mostly terrible teams.

    I agree that the Indian test team now generally looks like Zimbabwe or Afghanistan outside of sub-continental conditions. But, this is largely due to a complete lack of vision and strategy on the part of the BCCI (mostly because they don't particularly care about winning tests overseas), and not due to some newfound-IPL-riches syndrome. We could actually spend IPL money on doing things like replicating foreign conditions at home. Not to mention giving technically sound young batsmen overseas test experience, and maybe even grooming a real fast bowler or two. I wouldn't hold my breath though.

  • Abhi on April 4, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    Very well put. The article hits the nail right on the head. Average crickets are being spoilt by easy money and easier pitches. The game in India only stands to suffer. No wonder the recent IPL matches have reduced number of people showing up

  • arun on April 4, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    Absolutely spot on!! I cannot agree with you more. In fact, I don't follow IPL at all these days after the humiliating losses overrseas. Especially, that point about Jadeja and Vinay Kumar. Both are super-mediocre players. They can only get better, I mean more super-mediocre, via IPL. I don't care they are making hell a lot of money in IPL. If IPL helps at least a bit to reverse the results in Australia and England in the future, then its fine. Otherwise, it will continue to be a heart-break every time India go out of the sub-continent.

  • Reshad Sergeant on April 4, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    No Englishman would get in a World XI? Clearly you have never heard of James Perch! In Perchino we trust!