IPL 2013 April 2, 2013

The carnival's back in town

IPL 6 is a crucial season for the players with the big auction shuffle coming up next year
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It may not be everyone's favourite tournament but an indicator of the IPL's status as the biggest annual competition in the cricketing calendar is the reduced number of bilateral series this season. While there have been plenty of calls for an official window, which the ICC has repeatedly ignored, the only series being played in April is the bottom-of-the-table clash between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. And the next series is England v New Zealand, beginning in mid-May. Sri Lanka have reshaped their scheduled full tour of the Caribbean to a tri-series also involving India starting June, freeing up the Chris Gayles and Lasith Malingas to play the entire IPL, window or no window.

The line-up of controversies ahead of the tournament, several of which are only tangentially related to cricket, underlines the significance of the IPL in India. In Maharashtra, the opposition party doesn't want IPL matches to be held in the state due to the drought in region, claiming each venue will use up 2.16million litres of water during the tournament. In Karnataka, Kingfisher Airlines employees have threatened to disrupt IPL matches in protest at not receiving their salaries from Vijay Mallya, owner of Royal Challengers Bangalore. In Tamil Nadu, the chief minister has barred Sri Lankan IPL cricketers from playing in Chennai, after growing political tensions over the treatment of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka.

For the players, this season becomes particularly important since (almost) all of them go into the auction pool next year. That will mean additional pressure on the players, who will be well aware that a decent season this time could make them millionaires over the next few years. Just ask Saurabh Tiwary, whose 419 runs in 2010 earned him an enormous US$1.6m the following year. He has done little of note in the two seasons since, but continues to earn that fat salary from Royal Challengers. A lacklustre season, especially if you are an overseas player, and you could end up watching IPL 2014 from your couch at home.

Unlike the everything-changes season of 2014, this year fans will at least be able to easily identify with their teams as the core of most teams remains unchanged, and with mainly low-profile signings. Plenty of little-known cricketers earned big bucks - including Sri Lanka spinner Sachithra Senanayake, Australia fast bowler Kane Richardson, South Africa allrounder Chris Morris, Australia allrounder Glenn Maxwell - and there will be plenty of interest to see whether any of them can repeat the star-turn that Sunil Narine provided after pocketing a bagful at the 2012 auction.

The glaring exception to the trend of small names being bought was Ricky Ponting, the Australian legend who returns to the IPL after a four-year absence, and in a delicious twist will captain fellow great Sachin Tendulkar and his supposed bête noire Harbhajan Singh. With Anil Kumble also in as Mumbai's team mentor, most of the central characters of the Bollyline controversy of the 2008 Sydney Test will share a dressing room this season.

Ponting is one of the retired old guard that most fans can only watch at Twenty20 leagues like the IPL. A year after Adam Gilchrist said, "I have played my last game of cricket," he is back leading Kings XI Punjab for another season. There's also Muttiah Muralitharan, looking to prove he has as much guile two years after his international retirement as he did in his pomp. Sourav Ganguly may have finally hung up his boots but Rahul Dravid is still around, more than a year since he last turned out for India.

A new title sponsor has come on board, shelling out $72m for five years, nearly twice what the previous sponsor had paid; Deccan Chargers are no more a part of the IPL after defaulting on payment, but new owners were found for the franchise soon after, sold for a healthy $80m

Dravid is in charge of Rajasthan Royals, who are once again expected to find the going hard. As in the previous season, at the start of the tournament there seems to be two tiers of franchises in the competition - four out of Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers are expected to progress from the league phase, with Royals, Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Pune Warriors generally predicted to be also-rans.

Warriors are the most likely of the second lot to put up a serious challenge, bolstered by the return of Yuvraj Singh and the acquisition of New Zealand's Ross Taylor and Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis, though they will miss the experience of their first buy at the auction, Michael Clarke. Warriors could challenge Daredevils from the first group, as the loss of big-hitters in Kevin Pietersen and Taylor have weakened a team that has typically been among the favourites every year.

There have been plenty of changes in the IPL since tens of thousands of Kolkata Knight Riders fans thronged the streets of Kolkata to celebrate victory last season, several of which showcased how big a draw the IPL remains. A new title sponsor has come on board, shelling out $72m for five years, nearly twice what the previous sponsor had paid; Deccan Chargers are no more a part of the IPL after defaulting on payment, but new owners were found for the franchise soon after, sold for a healthy $80m.

Though the IPL continues to pull in the crowds, the television ratings in the past couple of years - while still very healthy - haven't matched the heady highs of the Lalit Modi years (TVRs of 3.45 in 2012, compared to 3.51 in 2011, well below the 5.51 reached in 2010). Two years ago, among the first lines of commentary in the IPL was about how the tournament had been instrumental in India winning the World Cup. One of the final lines of commentary of the recently concluded home international season before the 2013 tournament was Ravi Shastri informing us how the unexpected and unprecedented whitewash of Australia had "set India up nicely for the IPL".

While the breathless haste with which the IPL followed India's World Cup win hurt the tournament in 2011, India's appalling overseas run in England and Australia hit the ratings in 2012. This season, with the mood in India on the upswing after the Australia victory, the organisers will be hoping for a similar upswing in the ratings.

It still remains popular enough for Bollywood to consider holding back big releases till the end of the IPL season, but the league still has plenty of problems, with several franchises and franchise owners facing financial difficulties. In December, the Sahara group, owners of Pune Warriors and major sponsors of the Indian team, were ordered to pay back Rs 24,000 crores ($4.42billion) to their investors; Vijay Mallya's companies, owners of Royal Challengers, have been weighed down by his debt-ridden airline; in February, Rajasthan Royals were fined Rs 100 crore ($18.77 million) for violating India's foreign exchange laws, while both Royals and Kings XI Punjab were involved in a long legal battle with the organisers after they were threatened with expulsion for violating the IPL contract agreement.

Despite those troubles, the IPL is set to dominate the cricketing landscape for the next couple of months, with its usual mix of cricket, Bollywood and hype.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    @P-Mavs: You are right. BUT in order to combat that, the franchises are allowed to retain up to 5 players I think. CSK and MI managed to retain many key players keeping much of their core elements intact. The rest will be shuffled or traded with regards to performance. Speaking of Ross Taylor, he was hardly consistent with his performances for RCB, DD and RR. So form, performance etc., matter in retention. Still, I feel the IPL should stop a full fledged auction and follow the EPL system. They could also have draft picks instead of an auction like the American model. I hope the IPL governing council listen to fans for the betterment of the league.

  • on April 3, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    The carnival is back !!

    Woww , IPL is something Indians usually look upto as a time when families can enjoy something with common interest for 1.5 months , mothers , fathers , sisters , brothers , girl friends /wives and friends all have one common discussions for 1.5 months and that is wowww xyz hts so huge sixes , cheer girls , IPL parties and all the fun.

    IPL is some thing which has given players all round the globe something to cheer , give them money , safe future ( especially to lower grade Indian cricketers ) and given employment / money generaton to TV / hotel staff / food counter people / stadium owners and almost everyone from parking owners to stall owners outsifde stadium.

    Imagine a fun from 8 pm to 12 pm and then people going homes into party atmosphere. We do not need wars , all world needs is some fun. Enjoy it in form of IPL as it brings laughter / fun and not any killings.

  • Sudhir65 on April 2, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    IPL has not gotten India into knock out stages of T20 World Cups for 3 successive times, after it won when there was no IPL.

    But it has certainly brought riches to players and has provided fun to Indian public who now have an alternative entertainment besides re-made or copied Bollywood movies. And I am sure it has provided employment to many support staff mostly Indians who benefit of having IPL games in their cities- such as hotel staff, wait staff, taxi drivers etc.

  • voice_of_reason on April 4, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster Actually I'm a fan of cricket. If I have time, I will stop and watch matches on the village green as I go by. As with the IPL, I don't support a particular team, I don't know who plays for the teams, I just watch and enjoy. In the IPL, I have no idea who plays in which teams and struggle to recall the names given to each franchise. If I come across a match on television, I might watch it if it's good cricket but I'll move on if I'm not enjoying it and the advert breaks get too much for me. My life is cricket - I coach it - but in all honesty, professional T20 and the IPL in particular is my least favourite format to watch.

  • huffpost on April 4, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    IPL is a win win situation for everyone...thats the reason its so successful and popular...The players love it,the teams love it, the indian fans love it and the sponsors love it...what else do we need. Everyone is happy ..And definetly the quality of cricket is top notch..all the worlds best play and excel here..Only the pakistanis are missing..I wish they would play in the future..

  • abhiyog on April 3, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    @cpt meanster if u hate tests wjhy were u commenting on Test match articles so its just like u...

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    Irrespective of what India do, be it the IPL or as a national team, some people will never acknowledge the good things we as a nation bring to the table. It's always about negativity and minuscule irregularities that draw the attention of non-Indians. They forget the bigger picture which is the dark side of humanity. It's like talking about American foreign policy forgetting about ALL the GOOD things America has given the world like the technology, Hollywood, NASA, basketball etc. So as an Indian supporter, I could care LESS to talk from such people and we have a few examples of them right here on Cricinfo. The IPL may be a cash cow, but it's India's property and we are PROUD of it.

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    @voice_of_reason: Yes, welcome to the fan club of the IPL. We know all of you 'haters' love the IPL. You are here just for some drama and atmosphere. You are welcome always. We all know how you guys secretly check the scores and follow each of the teams on twitter or facebook. So welcome ! welcome !

  • voice_of_reason on April 3, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    @sweetspot is right. It is fun for the masses. A marketing triumph and cash cow for the BCCI. It is not a showcase of high quality cricket, whatever the commentators, administrators or players try to tell us. They wouldn't say anything else, would they? They get paid huge sums of money for their involvement. It can be exciting at times. It has a huge following in India. But it needs to be taken for what it is. A circus and not a showcase of the best that cricket has to offer.

  • DonPerignon on April 3, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Yeah it can only be called a Carnival as there's no intensity in the Cricket which gets played on the pitch. Its a business which has given employment to a lot of professionals who are past their sell by date. Just watch the Big Bash league(Oz domestic T20), the intensity of the players & teams is worth watching and the level of T20 cricket which is played is far above what IPL has. The best international cricketers play IPL but with very low intensity. Guess thats the reason MSD chooses to rest for an International tour rather than IPL as he can make Billions in 1.5 months with no intense cricket!!

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    @P-Mavs: You are right. BUT in order to combat that, the franchises are allowed to retain up to 5 players I think. CSK and MI managed to retain many key players keeping much of their core elements intact. The rest will be shuffled or traded with regards to performance. Speaking of Ross Taylor, he was hardly consistent with his performances for RCB, DD and RR. So form, performance etc., matter in retention. Still, I feel the IPL should stop a full fledged auction and follow the EPL system. They could also have draft picks instead of an auction like the American model. I hope the IPL governing council listen to fans for the betterment of the league.

  • on April 3, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    The carnival is back !!

    Woww , IPL is something Indians usually look upto as a time when families can enjoy something with common interest for 1.5 months , mothers , fathers , sisters , brothers , girl friends /wives and friends all have one common discussions for 1.5 months and that is wowww xyz hts so huge sixes , cheer girls , IPL parties and all the fun.

    IPL is some thing which has given players all round the globe something to cheer , give them money , safe future ( especially to lower grade Indian cricketers ) and given employment / money generaton to TV / hotel staff / food counter people / stadium owners and almost everyone from parking owners to stall owners outsifde stadium.

    Imagine a fun from 8 pm to 12 pm and then people going homes into party atmosphere. We do not need wars , all world needs is some fun. Enjoy it in form of IPL as it brings laughter / fun and not any killings.

  • Sudhir65 on April 2, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    IPL has not gotten India into knock out stages of T20 World Cups for 3 successive times, after it won when there was no IPL.

    But it has certainly brought riches to players and has provided fun to Indian public who now have an alternative entertainment besides re-made or copied Bollywood movies. And I am sure it has provided employment to many support staff mostly Indians who benefit of having IPL games in their cities- such as hotel staff, wait staff, taxi drivers etc.

  • voice_of_reason on April 4, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster Actually I'm a fan of cricket. If I have time, I will stop and watch matches on the village green as I go by. As with the IPL, I don't support a particular team, I don't know who plays for the teams, I just watch and enjoy. In the IPL, I have no idea who plays in which teams and struggle to recall the names given to each franchise. If I come across a match on television, I might watch it if it's good cricket but I'll move on if I'm not enjoying it and the advert breaks get too much for me. My life is cricket - I coach it - but in all honesty, professional T20 and the IPL in particular is my least favourite format to watch.

  • huffpost on April 4, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    IPL is a win win situation for everyone...thats the reason its so successful and popular...The players love it,the teams love it, the indian fans love it and the sponsors love it...what else do we need. Everyone is happy ..And definetly the quality of cricket is top notch..all the worlds best play and excel here..Only the pakistanis are missing..I wish they would play in the future..

  • abhiyog on April 3, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    @cpt meanster if u hate tests wjhy were u commenting on Test match articles so its just like u...

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    Irrespective of what India do, be it the IPL or as a national team, some people will never acknowledge the good things we as a nation bring to the table. It's always about negativity and minuscule irregularities that draw the attention of non-Indians. They forget the bigger picture which is the dark side of humanity. It's like talking about American foreign policy forgetting about ALL the GOOD things America has given the world like the technology, Hollywood, NASA, basketball etc. So as an Indian supporter, I could care LESS to talk from such people and we have a few examples of them right here on Cricinfo. The IPL may be a cash cow, but it's India's property and we are PROUD of it.

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    @voice_of_reason: Yes, welcome to the fan club of the IPL. We know all of you 'haters' love the IPL. You are here just for some drama and atmosphere. You are welcome always. We all know how you guys secretly check the scores and follow each of the teams on twitter or facebook. So welcome ! welcome !

  • voice_of_reason on April 3, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    @sweetspot is right. It is fun for the masses. A marketing triumph and cash cow for the BCCI. It is not a showcase of high quality cricket, whatever the commentators, administrators or players try to tell us. They wouldn't say anything else, would they? They get paid huge sums of money for their involvement. It can be exciting at times. It has a huge following in India. But it needs to be taken for what it is. A circus and not a showcase of the best that cricket has to offer.

  • DonPerignon on April 3, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Yeah it can only be called a Carnival as there's no intensity in the Cricket which gets played on the pitch. Its a business which has given employment to a lot of professionals who are past their sell by date. Just watch the Big Bash league(Oz domestic T20), the intensity of the players & teams is worth watching and the level of T20 cricket which is played is far above what IPL has. The best international cricketers play IPL but with very low intensity. Guess thats the reason MSD chooses to rest for an International tour rather than IPL as he can make Billions in 1.5 months with no intense cricket!!

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    @abhiyog: Well hot shot, what has the ICC done to the game of cricket ? Just look at the UGLY head of the DRS issue even before talking about the IPL. Look at all the meaningless test matches played between unequal opposition. Look at the VAST difference in class between teams playing at HOME and AWAY. Can it get any uglier than test cricket in this day and age ? I mean.. I am being practical. T20 virtually eliminates subtle differences between teams and keeps both parties at play which is HOW it SHOULD be in sport. This is why American sport is the BEST in the world. They keep their teams competitive man to man. The IPL and T20 cricket is like that in many ways. So why all the hate ? If you guys hate IPL so much, then why even bother reading these articles ?! Haha.. makes me giggle to no end.

  • abhiyog on April 3, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    To all IPL fans i agree that IPL attracts lots of fans but it only helps BCCI and sponsors not the game of cricket ,IPL is like a Rajnikanth movie lots of followers but no class but Test Matches are classics like a Kamal Hassan movie, VVS is always admired for his 281,Sachin is always respected for his test knocks not IPL,Dravis is respected for his 233 in adelaide test infact Even Ravindra Jadeja will be respected for dismissing Clarke 5 times in test series ,so all IPL fans,IPL is a reson for National Bias.....

  • Tlotoxl on April 3, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    @anshu.s: You are quite right Cricket is the poor relation of Football but the fact remains that for most tests the ground are usually sold out and could be sold out many times over despite the tickets costing many times more than tickets to Indian test matches, the most expensive ticket to the second IND-AUS test was 750 rupees (£9 UK pounds) whereas you would very lucky to get any thicket for under £50 in England and would quite easily go over £100 for a reasonable seat.

  • on April 3, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    I don't know why but many people hate IPL for no reason. People think that IPL is only entertainment, what they don't fail to see is that there is still quite an amount of skill involved in IPL. People criticize IPL cause of the money involved, but it's not something new and has happened in almost every sport having a huge league.

  • sweetspot on April 3, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    IPL bashers, especially from other nations and countries, face the truth - this tournament is primarily for the entertainment and consumption of the Indian fun consumer. This is entertainment for the broadest coalition of Indian TV viewers. If grandmothers and children, ladies and teenagers, all watch the IPL, it is because it has been able to recruit them - something that in all of its glorious 136 years, Test cricket has never been able to do.

    On its turf, there is no beating the IPL. India has the highest cricket consuming population in the world and there is no ignoring the IPL as the media beast that has been able to cater to this market. There is simply no wishing it away. It is the supermarket, it is the biggest festival, and it is the ultimate money spinner in the world of cricket by far, and none of this is without reason - sound reason. But more than anything it is great FUN. We don't have that much of it these days, so bring it ON, please!

  • voice_of_reason on April 3, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    At a time when the rest of the world was going into a financial meltdown, India's economy was thriving.The BCCI took the opportunity to jump into bed with the IPL and have milked the sponsors and spectators for all they are worth. What a job they have done marketing the IPL, persuading millions of people it is the best cricket in the world. It has its moments but in truth, the quality of the majority of the cricket is poor, with elderly ex-Test players and unknown wannabes fighting it out with Indian make weights, fulfilling the seven home grown players per team quota. The big name current Test players perform as you would expect, although you wonder if their heart is in it. Does it really produce quality players? Narine was the star last year but was a complete flop when selected for the WI Test team. Some will say "so what?" To me, it proves that the standard in the IPL is low.

  • yorkslanka on April 3, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    following my last post, i need to add I am looking forward to seeing the IPL ( as always) and hope that our Sri Lankan players respond to their treatment by tn by giving even getter perfomances than usual...

  • Charlie101 on April 3, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    The cricketers need to make hay as the money available in 2014 auction might not be so great as it is now. Some franchises have paid big bucks for players who have not performed and at the end of the day it is a business and it has to make financial sense to work.

    I am really glad the IPL is shown on our normal UK television .

  • FredJ000 on April 3, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    2 months!? Wow - I don't like 2020 but the IPL is a lot of fun. But it can't go on for 2 months. If only they could trim it to be 5 weeks they could have a window every year. With the Tuskers or another team back they could do 2 leagues of 5 drawn randomly with the top 2 of each going into the semis.

    I don't understand why 6 weeks in - seeing someone smash another six into the crowd is still entertaining. It's all a bit mindless. Will watch the first and last matches and some of the party, then back to the real cricket please.

  • yorkslanka on April 3, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    i am VERY disappointed at the chilidshness of tn and their attitude to SriLankan's but ultimately, it will be THEIR fans who lose out by notseeing our quality players grace their grounds..I used to like CSK also, but now that stops for as i cant toleratte their state's stupid attitude to my countrymen..

  • on April 3, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    Next one & half month due to IPL Happiness Index of the 1.2 billion population will increase. That is very positive.

  • anshu.s on April 3, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    @Paul Rone- Clarke , why i am not surprised that an Englishman is bashing IPL, don't be too optimistic about it's demise because it is here to stay forever and become EPL of cricket, but i seriously worry about cricket's future in England, football is so much far ahead of cricket in popularity stakes in England, most of the people in England would not know who Alistair Cook is but will know tiny personal details about Wayne Rooney !! In India we make cricketers feel like stars not some poor cousin of footballers.England as the founding father of the game had the responsibility to develop a lucrative club structure and popularise the game among working classes but instead they remained elitist and rigid in there outlook, Skysports paying 200 million Euros for cricket rights and 5.5 billion for football highlights the disparity,@ Paul Rone-Clarke, i am eagerly waiting for your response ..

  • cerratic on April 3, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Once again IPl is missing out on some of the BEST & ENTERTAINING cricketers in the world ---- Pakistani players !!!! A serious loss to cricket fans due to politics in sport.

  • Gappistan on April 3, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Can't Wait for IPL to start. My favourite 5 to watch out for are: Laxman Siva Arun Lal Rameez Raja Sameer Kochar & Chris Gayle

  • yorkshirematt on April 3, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    With no sign of summer any time soon here in the UK I'm looking forward to this for my cricket fix.

  • on April 3, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    Looking forward to the ipl circus as usual. Nothing like it. One thought though: restrictions on the amount teams can pay for players restricts the potential earnings of players and ensures that the salary bill remains low in relation to total income. This is an exploitation of players. Perhaps its time that the players had more power. In football, salaries consume at least 75% of revenues but in the ipl this is not the case. Perhaps its time foreign players stand together and demand a greater slice of the pie. Or perhaps the test unions need to put pressure on the bcci. Without the foreign input the ipl is nothing.

  • IndiaNumeroUno on April 3, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    It will definitely wake up people who slept during the "Test" matches... get up folks, 5 days are over :)).. now watch some proper cricket - you will not even need coffee or tea!!

  • on April 3, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    IPL is a wonderful thing that could have happened to a sport in India. Cricket was not this big always...Kudos to BCCI for making it so big. Remember, Hockey is our national sport and I suppose it was made for some reason. But it lost its way somewhere...Every man strives to be at top..so does sport....some succeeds some don't...but the one who is at top can't be held responsible for the failure of others...we must congratulate the topper and wish the others good luck....I hope INDIA emerges as a sporting nation, not only Cricket but hockey, Football, Athletics etc everywhere. But till than I'm enjoying my Cricket and ofcoz IPL!!!!! and CSK .....Keep Calm And Whistle Podu!!!!

  • py0alb on April 3, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Nothing like the IPL to give retired cricketers a final moment in the limelight!

    In many ways its a bit like the Master's tour in tennis. Yeah the standard is obviously not up to much, and no-one really takes much notice of the result, but its nice to see the famous names of yesteryear having a bit of a run around.

  • on April 3, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    With no Pakistani players, very few English players and Sri Lankan players banned from certain area, the bull shine parade of mediocrity that is the IPL is wearing off fast. Sub standard cricket played with the backdrop of political in fighting, legal wrangling and with most of the players from countries that actuallyWON the last two t20 world cups missing. I predict no more than three more years of this melange of mediocrity before politics, cash or irrelevance ends this ipl joke.

  • Rajeev129 on April 3, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    My long term dream is to enjoy the IPL by watching in 18 degree A.C. bed room on a 40" Full HD channel. I got all of them now. Looking forward to this. I love test cricket but i dont hate IPL because it is for entertainment. Sit and enjoy this mega event leisurely in your home after finishing your day by day duties in hot and humid summer.

  • pholpin on April 3, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    My favourite tournament of the season. Not because it is my favourite format or the franchises have any particular interest for me, but because in the UK it is the only cricket on terrestrial TV. I hope it inspires kids to actually want to play the game here - it is a minority sport about which I am passionate. Sadly the ECB have sold out 100% to commercial interests, for the benefit of themselves and the elite in the game, at the expense of the grass roots and the future of the sport. Bring on the IPL!

  • Remoz on April 3, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    4 Indian Captains, 3 Sri Lankan Captains, 2 Australian Captains. As a Sri Lankan I am proud because 3 out of 11 players are team captains

  • warneneverchuck on April 3, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    Finally the real cricket arrives instead of boring cricket

  • TommytuckerSaffa on April 3, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    T20 IPL cricket is back. Time to turn off cricket for a few months and wait until Test cricket starts again. Its great that players can make good money out of it but as a cricket purist, its not as demanding on skills and technique as test cricket is. Wake me up when the circus is over!!!

  • EndGamer on April 3, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Can we see some new TV Commentators for this IPL...really bored to hear the Commentaries from all those regular folks who are dare to make any positive judgments or comments about their dear super star players....Need to give a chance to try some new faces in cricket commendatory to make it more interesting and fun filled rather than the same dialog and comments from our well established folks.

  • Pak_suleman on April 3, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    pakistani players also deserve to play in IPL as they are the best T20 players in terms of records

  • binu.emiliya on April 3, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Some young Indian players to watchthis year 1.Rishi Dhawan-MI (if he get chance to play) 2.Sidharth Koul DD 3.Shammi Ahmad KKR 4.Jalaj Saxena MI 5.Sachin Baby -not sachin's baby :)RR 6.Biplab Samantray SR ( but he was not in good form this domestic season) 7.Parvez Rasool PWI 9.Iswar Pandey PWI 10.Sandeep Sharma KXIP 11.Harmeet Sing RR 12.Lokesh Rahul RCB 13.Sanju Samson RR 14.Manpreeth Juneja DD 15.A Rajput CSK

  • on April 3, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    i wonder about it that ICC is also supporting IPL and not other domestics tourmant aroud the world ICC should equaly prefer all the coutries as it will be good for international cricket. no Doubt IPL is a big stage for entertainment but you cant say that your domestic team is very good because 5 out of 11 are foreign player & all 5 are best players in their camps.

  • on April 3, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    Love it or hate it. You just can't ignore it. thats what it makes IPL so popular, even those who hate IPL can't really resist taking a glance at the results or scores. with every passing year it has only one direction to go.

  • on April 3, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    money money money muaaaaah

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on April 3, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: Well spoken and I completely concur. The IPL is something all Indians are proud of. In many ways it is a symbol of India's neo-capitalist bull run. Why, even in West Bengal, a largely left leaning state, tens of thousands of fans thronged the streets of Calcutta after the Knight Riders won last year......

    @ kingsland: let Pakistan become a stable democracy. Then their players can be considered for the IPL. Currently, the risks are too high.

  • P-Mavs on April 3, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    All the players going into auctions again is plainly ridiculous. And this the very reason IPL would never match EPL. A player like Ross Taylor has already played for 4 franchises.

    Ok, IPL is fun, strongly agree! But if a player continue to hop from one team to another, how is he going to connect with the audience? One of the major reasons for the success of CSK is their player base. They have been playing with almost the same team from the 1st season. And also they have the strongest fan support among all the IPL teams.

    There should not be an auction every three years. If a team want any particular player, they should negotiate with the player and franchise directly. I cant imagine auctions happening every three years in different soccer leagues. That would be gross. It is going to be very difficult for franchises to retain the loyal fans.

  • ghtvnath on April 3, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    U know what would be a great carnivel? A T20 series India vs Rest of the World. Or even a ODI series for that matter as they are the World Champions.I knw they tried it with Australia and did not work as they expected, but India is the great stage for that. People will love to see that.

  • on April 3, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    IPL carnival is good for Indian public looking for cheap entertainment. It is not cricket simply junk.

  • satishchandar on April 3, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    @RAMSPAK666 : Sorry mate.. Your best 11 includes 6 foreigners..

  • getsetgopk on April 3, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    All Hail Hoopla, welcome...

  • Crick_Expert on April 3, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    without world class PAK players its a club level series, nothing else.....

  • YS_USA on April 3, 2013, 1:21 GMT

    Playoff matches must be best of 3 and the final must be best of 5. The real contest, passion, money, sponsors, competition, fan interest and excitement are in these matches

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 1:14 GMT

    Siddharth Ravindran, I would like to make a correction to your opening line. The IPL DOES NOT need to be liked by everyone. It's INDIA's baby and it would be sufficient if INDIANS love the league, which they DO ! We are a nation of a BILLION and the richest cricketing nation on the planet. What more do we need ? or whose support do we need ? Needless to say, players LOVE playing in the IPL. Apart from the popular cliche of 'from rags to riches', it's also a tournament of prospects. Yes, the IPL has introduced many players to Indian cricket. Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin etc. have all been products of the IPL. Even International teams have unearthed talent thanks to the best T20 league in the world. So what else do we need in terms of reputation ? Nothing. If the IPL can distance itself from controversies off the field, then it will complete a beautiful story of India's financial might in cricket. Looking forward to a great season this year.

  • on April 2, 2013, 23:13 GMT

    The circus is back, you mean? I feel sorry for those who pay money to watch these games.

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 2, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    Ive played & watched cricket all my life but if the IPL played in my back garden, i wouldnt open the curtains.

  • vish2020 on April 2, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hate you, then they fight you, and then you win." -Great Mahatma Gandhi. Fits IPL perfectly. You can say whatever but one T20 tournament you want to see or read about is IPL. Money talks, not typing on your keyboard.

  • desiboy454 on April 2, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    People hate on the IPL, but its good chill cricket entertainment, you dont even need to support only 1 team. U can pick who you want to win, you get to see stars playing even after retirement.. Gilchrist slog sweep SIX, thats still awesome to see. Murli messing with batsmans mind, the Ponting PULL? its still fun to see. Yes it has its fair share of drama and advertising but its still fun to see.

    With that said, what I think will happen in this years IPL. Final four: CSK, PUNE, MI, KKR... DD/RCB will just miss out, deccan and punjab will be on the bottom.

    I expect a PUNE vs CSK final with CSK winning.

    I want Pune to win!

  • on April 2, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    ".....but the league still has plenty of problems, with several franchises and franchise owners facing financial difficulties...". If the IPL is apparently so rich - why are so many franchises in financial difficulty ?

  • shot274 on April 2, 2013, 22:22 GMT

    IPL-the biggest annual event in the cricketing calendar!!! Did someone miss their medication???!!

  • Huggakhan on April 2, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    "All but England" *and Pakistan? perhaps? Sadly, everyone bends over to money and no one is willful or courageous enough to criticize systematic discrimination even when it is so powerful. Disgusting stuff, from the administrators and our "journalists" as well.

  • on April 2, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    Hail the circus - it is back in town.

  • hhillbumper on April 2, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    place your bets now. There will be the usual owners poncing for the cameras. The repeated number of sixers being proclaimed as a something maximum and commentators who do subtle the way that Top Gear do diplomacy.Welcome back IPL. You continue to show the world how it should be done.Or rather not it your case.

  • on April 2, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    Wait for Kusal Perera. He can be a revolution. Ranjan Rodrigo

  • khansss on April 2, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    hope to see again bravo ...dance

  • on April 2, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    @RAMSPAK666 we cant play with six overseas players. change your team :P

  • Strathclyde on April 2, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    You have six foriengers in your team, you can only play four. RAMSPAK666.

  • Anubhav-the-Experience on April 2, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    I was watching the match when that comment by Ravi Shastri came and hit me in the face, I realized why he gets so much flak from cricket fans...International cricket is the cricket, IPL is just entertainment.

  • warneneverchuck on April 2, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    Finally the king of all the leauges arrives.

  • on April 2, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    I do not love T20... but I do follow IPL from a distance because of the number of star players involved. I am looking forward to Ponting and Harbhajan sharing high fives after dismissing Warner or Kohli. Where else would you get that? I wish the politicians stayed out of it... What they did with SriLankan players is disgraceful to say the least. As a fan I am glad I still get to see Malinga, Murali and Mahelaa in action and they did not pull out.

  • on April 2, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    The masala cricket is back.So are the controversies .but still l ipl was loved and will be loved by every Indian .

  • on April 2, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    hopefully it rains everyday all over the IPL cities to bring down the scorching heat and it brings down water problems in India this summer ...anyways i hope all Indian Players playing for their respective IPL teams to save their energy for Champions trophy and South african tour instead of a tournament which brings regional bias among Indians.......

  • RAMSPAK666 on April 2, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    yes well cant wait for Rcbians to start my best xi Gayle, Dilshan, Kohli, De Villiers,Christian, Mayank Agarwal, Vettori, Vinay Kumar, Ravi Rampual, Zaheer Khan, Murali Karthik

  • RAMSPAK666 on April 2, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    yes well cant wait for Rcbians to start my best xi Gayle, Dilshan, Kohli, De Villiers,Christian, Mayank Agarwal, Vettori, Vinay Kumar, Ravi Rampual, Zaheer Khan, Murali Karthik

  • on April 2, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    hopefully it rains everyday all over the IPL cities to bring down the scorching heat and it brings down water problems in India this summer ...anyways i hope all Indian Players playing for their respective IPL teams to save their energy for Champions trophy and South african tour instead of a tournament which brings regional bias among Indians.......

  • on April 2, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    The masala cricket is back.So are the controversies .but still l ipl was loved and will be loved by every Indian .

  • on April 2, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    I do not love T20... but I do follow IPL from a distance because of the number of star players involved. I am looking forward to Ponting and Harbhajan sharing high fives after dismissing Warner or Kohli. Where else would you get that? I wish the politicians stayed out of it... What they did with SriLankan players is disgraceful to say the least. As a fan I am glad I still get to see Malinga, Murali and Mahelaa in action and they did not pull out.

  • warneneverchuck on April 2, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    Finally the king of all the leauges arrives.

  • Anubhav-the-Experience on April 2, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    I was watching the match when that comment by Ravi Shastri came and hit me in the face, I realized why he gets so much flak from cricket fans...International cricket is the cricket, IPL is just entertainment.

  • Strathclyde on April 2, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    You have six foriengers in your team, you can only play four. RAMSPAK666.

  • on April 2, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    @RAMSPAK666 we cant play with six overseas players. change your team :P

  • khansss on April 2, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    hope to see again bravo ...dance

  • on April 2, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    Wait for Kusal Perera. He can be a revolution. Ranjan Rodrigo