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Commentator, television presenter and writer

Is the IPL still the ticket?

Season five will tell how disillusioned the Indian fan is with the national team's recent performances

Harsha Bhogle

March 30, 2012

Comments: 64 | Text size: A | A

Bystanders gather around a shop window to watch a match, Delhi, March 24, 2011
Viewer fatigue will not be a factor in this IPL season © AFP
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A new financial year and a new test for Indian cricket. The first week of April will give us an idea of what the fan, and those who monetise his passion, think about the future of Indian cricket.

A bit like a mid-term poll, the BCCI has asked for a new television partner midway into the arrangement with Nimbus, which is an acknowledgement, maybe, that Indian cricket was overpriced, given that the last deal was valued at the same price as the one before it. Remember, this is not as much about the price as about the returns at that price, something investors in stocks know very well. A State Bank of India share might be a very good asset to possess at Rs 1500, but not quite as good at Rs 3000 maybe.

People good at assessing risk and evaluating assets will take a call on the valuation of Indian cricket early next week. They will budget for the fact that Australia, England and South Africa are all due to visit India in this contract period; that India play better at home than away, which is a factor; that political uncertainty and the fear of an economic slowdown might hit advertising budgets, even the fear that the big cricket stars are slowly moving on. Why, the future of Tendulkar might be a factor, for there is no denying that he pulls in more viewers than anyone else.

Bidders will have to weigh that against the cost of not having Indian cricket on their channels, for that has a rub-off effect on other programming; it provides bargaining power with cable operators, who, in spite of Direct-to-Home, are significant players in the television industry. Some big names, existing channels, and some who desire to establish themselves, are apparently in the fray, and so the 2nd of April should be an important date.

It is not only the on-field itinerary that counts, though. I hope that there is as much emphasis on the content on television and radio as there is on the price. In good markets, product quality and price have a very close relationship.

The first week of April also sees the start of IPL 5. It is a very important year for the IPL. The viewership and attendance figures will give us an idea of whether it is still the hot property it was in its first three years. The reason for the little suspicion is that IPL 4, by its own standards alone, was a slight disappointment. But it was also a peculiar year because India had just won the World Cup, a deeply emotional event, and the IPL began even before the shadows had lengthened. Not only was there a lot of cricket on television, people had already spent fair sums of money on going to cricket grounds. But there was another factor too.

In the months leading up to IPL 4, the presence of two new teams had necessitated another auction, and that led, however gross the parallel might seem, to mass migration. The relationship between fans and players, at the heart of all sport, was severely affected, and everyone, including commentators, was confused initially about who was playing for whom. Things will be better this year on that front, and given how little India have played in India this year, there might be a greater temptation to head towards the cricket ground. Already the Chennai Super Kings are reporting that all Rs 700 and Rs 1200 tickets have been sold for all home games; apparently internet sales have also been pretty good and these are good signs, even if some commentators have recently been spotted shaking a leg in a promo!

IPL 5 will also test the strength of the disillusionment of the Indian fan over recent performances by the national team. History suggests that such disillusionment tends to be short-lived, that the search for a good meal is rarely hampered by the experience of a bad one. There is also the usual debate in some quarters of playing for money over playing for the country. Most people saying that seem to have few problems with accepting it in football and basketball. Just as there are accountants and politicians and artists of all kinds, so too do we have cricketers of many dispositions. And don't forget, not all of them have the option of representing India. The IPL gives them a stage too. But in the end, like with a free and fair election, the public will vote, and this is a big election for Indian cricket.

Don't discount another factor, though. The front pages of India's newspapers, repositories of bad news, have to outdo themselves these days. Poverty needs to be alleviated as much in public life as in our villages. When the news is grim, entertainment has a chance.

Harsha Bhogle commentates on the IPL and other cricket, is a television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by lgnandan on (April 10, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

Players should maintain balance or consistency in all formats. There is no doubt the playing more number of T20 matches is harming the Test skills of players.

Posted by ooper_cut on (April 2, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

"A bit like a mid-term poll, the BCCI has asked for a new television partner midway into the arrangement with Nimbus, which is an acknowledgement, maybe, that Indian cricket was overpriced, given that the last deal was valued at the same price as the one before it."

Looks like you have got it wrong Harsha, Indian cricket it seems is under priced, ESS has won the bidding at a whooping high price.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (April 2, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

IPL and all the T20 leagues have so many short term advantages , it brings in the cash for boards , entertainment for masses more exposure to domestic players and it will even help the likes of kallis , husseys , tendulkar who are established stars to improve their game further , but the real damage is caused to the next generation of players , kids who are 14 to 18 year old , it affects their technique and motivation to play test cricket , i mean who would really want to play tests when you could earn twice(money and popularity) as much with much lesser efforts... young guys should be prevented from playing t20 atleast until they are 21 year old

Posted by Nampally on (April 1, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

Yes IPL is still Cricket with a different Brand & Rules than those governing Test Cricket + Circus like environment - bit like baseball where every ball is a strike!.It is an open challenge to score as many runs as possible thru improvised strokes, using gaps + location of the fielders. On the other hand it is a test of bowlers' skills in restricting scoring thru' field placement & bowling at the right spots. A good seamer will probably bowl about 2 feet outside the off at a unhittable length to a packed off side field with 3 fielders on the fence. Alternately a tight bowling on the stumps with field placement to save singles & boundaries. For the batsmen his improvisation will include tabooed strokes in test cricket such as paddle sweep, Cross bat slogs & Sixers over the third man + all other infield positions + conventional strokes. A brand of cricket equating it to the American baseball replacing ice cream, hot dogs/hamburgers & chips with Indian equivalents but with dancing girls!

Posted by muh189 on (April 1, 2012, 3:31 GMT)

Same talks last year too, but as the tournament progressed, crowds began to flow in. so there won't be surprises if the first few games do not entertain large crowds and maybe when gayles,rainas and tendulkars begin to lit up the IPL, BCCI would be short of tickets

Posted by insightfulcricketer on (March 31, 2012, 16:28 GMT)

I think IPL has been terrific to cricket as infact franchise based 20/20 been world over. I saw some of the 20/20 in Australia and it was quite a thrill to watch full stadiums and fringe players getting to show their stuff alongwith the best. I sincerely hope IPL and the other 20/20 tourneys get their share under the sun. It has done wonders to fielding standards and made players un-inhibited nothing bad with that. Now India's international cricket performance is a whole different kettle of tea. You can see players like Raina and Rohit Sharma struggle with their heavy bats in bouncy conditions.Coach has to be given un-restrained power to make these players do the hard yards to adapt to alien conditions.Some players are being shown un-due favoritism - the fact they play for the same IPL team which in turn is owned by a BCCI biggie gives a bad taste to the whole thing.Why wasn't the leggie played in ODIs in Oz just becoz that would have made an offie uncomfortable? Need answers for tha

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

Everyone talks about chasing down big totals.. What about defending them? Maybe it also has to be a cause of the fact that bowlling standards are far worse than ever

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

@Harsha - Harsha you got to realize that Chennai stadium cannot sell all the tickets. In fact half the stadium does not have building approval to seat the fans. So whatever figure you quoted is wrong and you will realize that when you see empty stands during chepauk matches.

Posted by m_ilind on (March 31, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

IPL is just entertainment with a commercial value. People who are passionate about the game will want to see the Indian team do well in national colors. Will the players adopt the same attitude?

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

The IPL and 2020 is a bad way to promote cricket or expand the interest in the sport. They will have bad effects on test cricket. All this fame and fortune are discouraging kids to aim for test cricket. Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game, you can not be one of the greats of the game if you can not hack it at test cricket level. IPL is a lot of rubbish. Half of it is down to luck and stupid shots. Bowlers on the other hand have developed variation to a degree and yorker bowling skills. The small amount of overs perhaps encourages quick bowling as well but thats about all the positives. Batsmen decline in technique in my view.

Posted by Wacco on (March 31, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

harsha may not be right here. I think IPL has already peaked! From the posts of the Indian fans everywhere it seems that nobody supports the flaky players - they are busts outside India. kids and the die- hard will flock together.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (March 31, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

IPL is a professional league and not a place to groom young talent. Players are contracted to show their skills. They may hone few skills but for most part it is not for developing skills.

Posted by RogerC on (March 31, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

Test and ODI cricket standards have improved and become more exciting world-over due to IPL. Batsmen can now bravely chase 300+ targets and bowlers have added a lot of tricks to their armoury. Even Michael Clarke is now willing to play in IPL, having seen the improvements in colleagues like Watson and Hussey brothers. Look at both sides of the coin.

Posted by TheReverseDoosra_K on (March 31, 2012, 9:40 GMT)

Also the legend Bishen Singh Bedi says that IPL is just a tamasha. This is not a Indian Youth Development Programs. Here franchises just are to make fame and money. Some same that India have learnt to chases big targets because of IPL, but this is not the reason as India have done this because of Dhoni, Yuvraj and Kohli who were born match-finishers even before the IPL. IPL is okay for uncapped indian players but degrades the international indian players performance. IPL makes fragile Indian players look better but they flunk at internationals. I will prefer to watch an Associate Match rather than IPL.

Posted by TheReverseDoosra_K on (March 31, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

IPL is a backward step to cricket. This can lead to cricket becoming a baseball or basketball type which is only majorly played in America and Japan with few or none internationals. Indian players are not allowed to take part in foreign leagues. And foreign players are asked even to compromise matches for IPL.

Posted by Maccanui on (March 31, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

IPL is not cricket and as a 'sporting' event it ranks alongside ten pin bowling. It's real purpose lies as a commercial operation so it holds little interest for true cricket fans.

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

folks onrething is clear its not batters we have to worry about though short pitch ball is still a solvable problem?!

its the bowling last 10 overs in any one dayer are bleeding runs in 90s and 100s. our bowling is a BIG concern.

as long as we do not find answers for this how long and how continuously the batters can chrn out century after centurey. the day virat and sehwag and even god of cricket switch off we(the team) cant even dream to see who will bowl the opposite team twice that too cheaply.

Ipl is a run feast and who cares about bowling. and what is this cricket where a yorker can be for a six a wide ball can fetch u a wicket and u take the bowlers in to team based on this???

Posted by mohitsamant on (March 31, 2012, 1:13 GMT)

@ Vinit Asher I initially, by mistake, read the title as what you said!

Posted by KingOwl on (March 31, 2012, 0:17 GMT)

"India play better at home than away": What an understatement!

Posted by   on (March 30, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

"Is IPL still cricket" would have been the ideal title!

Posted by Sachinanyday on (March 30, 2012, 22:51 GMT)

@Al_Bundy1 i think this is about ipl....where did the question of removing sachin and laxman from the indian team come from??

Posted by yeh_cheezzz on (March 30, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

how much of a benefit does a cricket gain from this ipl... nobody talks about that... as far as i can say so far it has shown negative impact on the development of cricket..

Posted by   on (March 30, 2012, 21:26 GMT)

@ hulk777 If IPL fanchise makes profit than IPL is followed largely and vice versa.

Posted by Yolk_Eater on (March 30, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

Will watch IPL only for Dravid...

Posted by PradeepR on (March 30, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

In continuation of my earlier comment to dork29's - I think Laxman is done both on fitness and performance basis. He will most probably play one more test match or at most one more test series and retire.

Posted by ProdigyA on (March 30, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Pls do not make short boundaries, its killing the quality of cricket. Edges flying for sixes, makes even a loser look like a great batsman. Pls, we want to watch a good contest between bat and ball.

Posted by PradeepR on (March 30, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

@dork29 - Sachin is not hanging around because he is influential. He is around because he is performing. No one stopped the younger players from taking his position in the team. Players like Raina and Rohit are not performing consistently enough to be in the team for every match. Please show me a player amongst the younger ones that is capable of replacing Sachin even at his age today.

Even if we consider attitude, Sachin is not a problem there, but Sehwag, Gambhir and Zaheer are. I think they are not getting along with Dhoni very well. You cannot blame Sachin for anything, but of late more and more people seem to be holding Sachin responsible for everything and that is because of their sheep mentality in holding his age against him. One says and everyone follows. Age should never be held against anyone, performance should be. Even if fitness is considered I think Sachin is fitter than Sehwag's, Zaheer's and Yuvraj's (before his current ailment) fitness if put together.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 30, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

Agree with @dork29 - IPL is entertainment, kind of like WWE. People watch it for entertainment, not love of cricket.

Cricket lovers will continue to feeling frustrated. Players like Tendulkar and Laxman continue to hang on for ever, because of which the captain gets frustrated, the young aspirants get frustrated and the team morale suffers. Remove Tendulkar and Laxman and let the young guns take over. The first transformation we will see is in MSD. it will then spread to the rest of the team. Audience will naturally develop interest.

Posted by hsingh2711 on (March 30, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

IPL should be short, just like BPL. Not more than 3 weeks

Posted by Romenevans on (March 30, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

@ hulk777 - Awesome suggestion! Im sure only CSK fan boys will vote, because nobody is bothered about this circus anymore. Oh wait, i saw that new commercial on my TV in which they showed IPL as a circus. ROFLMAO that was hilarious and kind of proved me right.

Posted by hulk777 on (March 30, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

why dont cricinfo set up a poll to find out how many will follow IPL this year

Posted by SasiGladi on (March 30, 2012, 12:54 GMT)

I still attracted towards IPL may be because the team I support CSK were consistent enough in performance in all the versions..Fatigue may not be the problem for the supportes whose team is dominating but may be for the others who will get detached by seeing thier team disappointing them consistently certain number of teams were in the list were people expect them to come up in every version but they never reached...But man Harsha I love your writting very much more to learn from you keep writting...

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 30, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

For those who are not Indian or follow Indian cricket then I can't blame them when they feel the IPL is a non event. The Australian Big Bash League is a non-event to billions of Indians because they don't care about the league. Same goes for the English county championship because most Indians don't care about that. As an Indian I care about the IPL because it does bring some sort of value to the average Indian cricket fan. It's entertainment at its best, that's the mantra of T20. International cricket is pure sport so it shouldn't be mixed with club tournaments like the IPL. IPL 5 will be a block buster event this time. And NO we Indians don't care that the world doesn't care about the IPL. Those who say the IPL brought about the poor performances of the Indian team don't know anything about cricket.

Posted by getsetgopk on (March 30, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

A pak supporter here. Where are the good old days where international cricket especially test cricket used to be a treat to watch, where people used to wait for months and even years in anticipation of a series, where cricket used to be played with packed houses, today when I watch an IPL match or anyother T20 for that matter, frankly i dont feel like I watched cricket, after the IPL, the worn of players that landed on English shores one could tell by their attitude on the field, they visibly looked tired and disinterested and wanting to go home and such was the result of that series, India lost every match, isn't that a sorry state of affairs?

Posted by   on (March 30, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

IPL is a waste.Just too much cricket and too much hype.A lot of batsmen are fooled thinking they can bat because they score runs against some poor bowlers (unrecognized indians) on flat pitches. It sucks, internationals is what really matters, and many like murali vijay failed.

Posted by murthydn16 on (March 30, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

Harsha, liked your comment "the search for a good meal is rarely hampered by the experience of a bad one."

Posted by dork29 on (March 30, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

With Indis showing no signs of recovering from the rut it has fallen into, you cannot blame the viewers for feeling frustrated. Players like Tendulkar continue to hang on for ever, because of which the captain gets frustrated, the young aspirants get frustrated and the team morale suffers. As long as we have young, energetic and enthusiastic players in the dressing room and the field, the spectator interest will be there. Once the team gets into a "oh, no not anotehr test match!!!' mode, it shows in the body language and the viewer interest will fade away. We eed to a complete overhaul, like Australia have done. Remove Tendulkar and Laxman and let the young guns take over. The first transformation we will see is in MSD. it will then spread to the rest of the team. Audience will naturally develop interest. if you have a high performance national team, IPL will be a no show.

Posted by SanjivSanjiv on (March 30, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

It is not the Indian fan, but Harsha himself is disillusioned. Fans would watch IPL for the entertainment, not for cricket. And who cares Indian performance except some die hard lovers! Sanjiv Gupta, Perth, Australia

Posted by Rahul_Vasudevan on (March 30, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

Sky has signed a (reportedly) 442million USD deal with ECB for 2014-17 (76 international matches - 7 Tests,10 ODIs,2 T20Is per season) for UK rights only.This amounts to around INR 29 cr.per match.

However the BCCI base price of INR 34 cr. per match (for the GLOBAL Rights), in itself, already seems to be on the higher side as per market/industry reports.

Compare 34 crore for global rights per India match to 29 crores for UK rights per England match.

Has the T20 explosion already started to affect the business of international cricket in India? And would this start devaluing India's away tours and hence the power that India wields in the ICC corridors?

Posted by punter18 on (March 30, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

Indeed. In grim times, nothing would obscure it more than some entertainment, and IPL is the perfect antidote. The argument is self-serving. You admit it yourself, Harsha, it's not cricket; it IS entertainment. Therefore, no matter what reasons are given, IPL could not be the substitute of international cricket, it remains a fomulaic way to attain entertainment potion, in which the same country always wins. To characterize IPL as providing some kind relief to the losses suffered in England and Australia would be to leave yourself in a smoke screen. No, thank you, one would rather pay heed to what Dravid had to say when he mulled over the generation that would succeed Suresh Raina's; how it would cope up in an environment addled with free market capitalism. Remember, after England loss, even Ravi Shastri admitted that there need be a newer way to 'incentivize' players in accordance with the level at which they compete.

Posted by nachami on (March 30, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

Good family entertainment. If 4 family members go to a good theatre for a movie, we have to spend not less than Rs.1000 or Rs.1200 or so. Seeing it in televsion or going to two-three matches is fine. Good time pass - We all become children in that ambience - nice way of throwing away our wories. Good.

Posted by Craggydev on (March 30, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

As long as Sachin is playing, Indian cricket will survive even if the team loses... When he hangs his boots, it's all gonna be dark...

Posted by Mikesh on (March 30, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

Hi, I know my question is irrelevant but Is there an IPL Fantasy League this year and if there is, the website address please? Thanks

Posted by shrini1963 on (March 30, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

According to me the present state in which Indian cricket is can be due to IPL. History suggests that our team always fared badly after IPL. This tournament is boringly long and tiresome for the players, so they are unable to perform in International Tournaments. IPL is good only for BCCI who uses it as money minting opportunity and has nothing in view for the betterment of Indian cricket.

Posted by MAD-1 on (March 30, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

I sense this edition will confirm everyones worst fear that IPL is on its way out. Too much focus on entertainment and less on cricket. the BPL had better quality cricket being played as compared to the IPL.

Posted by rajakumar.venugopalan on (March 30, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

Indian cricket will be good only when

1. No more IPL 2. Slashing Sachin out of team 3. Slashing Srikanth and any one who favours some partiality in team selection.

Until then it will be the same story :-)

Posted by Headbandenator on (March 30, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

If it is on ITV4 I'll watch it!

Posted by chilled_avenger on (March 30, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Its not like IPL has helped Cricketers play well in T20 Internationals either! India won the WorldT20 in 2007 before IPL was introduced and in the last two editions(in 2009 and 2010) of WorldT20 India lost all the matches in the 2nd Stage,even though IPL was introduced in 2008. Pakistani players didn't take part in IPL 2009 but won WorldT20 in 2009 and the winners in WorldT20 2010 were England whose players has been the least active in IPL compared to other major nations!

Posted by   on (March 30, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

I think it is stupidity to think because of IPL India is losing..IPL started in 2008, India became no.1 in tests in 2009 and won world cup in 2011..India didnt lose a test series from 2008 jan to 2011 ,aug england series. They were unbeaten all over the world in those 3 years during this period ,IPL was still there.. Not only Indiains playing IPL , players in countries like SL,Aus and SA all are playing IPL. Moreover if you see last 3,4 years Test cricket,ODI matches all have become much interesting and close because of the T20 skills now teams are able to chase any score..Only thing i dont like in IPL is 16 matches per team is little too much..they should cut down matches by going to a group system or the other way...

Posted by   on (March 30, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

IPL is not going to get much viewership from me. Following the performance of Indian team in England last year, the Champion's league too didn't get many views from me. Glad that the IPL is abominably long this time, this way I can take a longer rest from cricket.

Posted by satish619chandar on (March 30, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

T20 is a quickie cricket where none need to have any serious intention on and IPL is just a entertainment kindof thing and it provides it to fullest.. As a fan, i would rather hope that the game is clean and i don't give it a damn for the financial irregularity or the conflict of interests.. It is for others to take care. There is govt to look into the finance things and the franchises who need to worry about the conflicts or contradictions.. All i care is about the purity of the game and without any malpractice..

Posted by satish619chandar on (March 30, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

I think the fans take it as mistake.. If you are going to brand IPL as destructor to cricket, we need to have the same stand on all the T20 league cricket played.. The players still play a international fixture with IPL only 4 days to commence.. It is the capability of the player that failed and not the IPL.. If you ask me the reason for India's debacle in England and Australia, i would rather point it to failure of top order than Raina/Kohli in batting dept and failure of Bhajji in England as well as Ishant in Australia.. All the guys who were primary responsible started playing long before the T20 format was invented and IPL WONT change their playing style. They have loads of experience to counter formats.. .. We are putting too much pressure on it..

Posted by satish619chandar on (March 30, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

Actually fans do need cricket daily to be fair :-) But we can't afford to watch it at high cost.. If IPL can think of something which will benefit them as well as fans, then they can reduce the ticket price and go by More sale, more revenue policy.. Though IPL is more dependent on television audience, they can afford to maintain their stake by showing increased people in stadium as well.. I am not sure about other country fans but IPL does evoke interest in fans who like the game irrespective of the format or the nation playing it..

Posted by ramli on (March 30, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

IPL is just family entertainment ... or outing ... for fun ... no need for great cricket to be dished out ... only masala needed ... but international fixtures are for sport lovers ... requires some intelligence/commitment to follow ... a keen sport lover follows ODIs, tests vividly ... but when IPL arrives ... the same person turns as a father/brother and starts enjoying it with son/daughter/wife/brother sister/etc. ... Can you fault him? No way ...

Posted by   on (March 30, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

IPL had made more losses to Indian Cricket than what it had given. Players are getting injured in IPL and missing out International games. Though it had given chance in national squads for few players, it had made many main Indian players unfit. See Viru,Zak,Sachin,Gauti all playing well in IPL and getting injured and staying out of national squad.. These are just few examples.

Posted by   on (March 30, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

If the IPL can cut down on the amount of international cricket being played then that is a good thing.We don't need 6-7 tests every summer against 2 teams,we need just 5 tests against 1 team only per season.the short games can be played on a home and away basis with 10 teams per division who then play 9 at home and 9 in each of the other team's countries.Promotion and relegation with lower leagues.Maybe do that for the 20 over games and play a few odi's on the side.rugby has a solid international structure as has soccer.certainty creates emotional and financial investment.that's the advantage ipl has over the international scene is that the games are in context and have a regular slot.if it's march in india,it's time to nag your parents to buy an ipl shirt and get in line for the tickets.over time it'll become a tradition.they just needed a few years to get the bugs out oif the system {lalit modi/shonky business and ethical practices}IPL will work long term and work very well.

Posted by Afrodizzy on (March 30, 2012, 7:14 GMT)

Outside of India, IPL is a non-event. Its just such a huge pity that it dictates where and when other cricket is played around the world. This mindless and overly long event should be rebranded GHD5 (as in Groundhog Day).

Posted by abhitupe on (March 30, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

Bang on Harsha!! all the people who were saying the IPL has disrupted the schedule, IPL has harmed the pure form of the game, will be the first ones supporting their own teams. everybody just takes a shot when team is not doing good and just senseless comparisons, these cant be fans. Anyway, I am a big fan of this concept of IPL which was originated by ICL, I remember how excited I was to see Sachin and Sanath opeing the batting for a team, followed by Uthappa, it was a dream, where I had imagined the world XI teams.

Posted by crikbuff on (March 30, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

We have all seen how IPL has damaged Indian and world cricket. Players play IPL with injuries, and then miss their international matches. There is no longer any incentive to do well in tests and ODIs because the players earn a lot more in IPL.

Posted by   on (March 30, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

What's so significant about April 2, 2012? Is it going to be date when BCCI is going to announce the new broadcaster in place of Neo Cricket? I do agree this year's IPL is going to be absolutely critical, given how badly Indian team has performed it will be interesting to see how viewers take to IPL. My gut feeling is it will be well received the issue however will be when we host some of the big teams this season. Will we have same viewership like we had in the past? Will the spectators throng the venue as before given this is in many ways going to be a new look Indian time? The next 8-9 months will give us an indication where is the Indian team and Cricket in general heading. Nervous times if you are a genuine Cricket lover and this is thanks to the people who run the game.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 30, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

Harsha... my dear, just when I thought you were a decent writer.. you bring out this bomb. Come on, sure the Indian national team has had recent dips in performances. But the IPL is an entirely different tournament. Please don't mix international cricket with a club tournament. Besides, many Indian fans are geared up for season 5. The IPL brings something special to the fans. You cannot deny that. As long as the BCCI and the IPL governing council keep things simple, people won't have a problem. IPL 4 had poor ratings because there were 2 brand new franchises and many players had to be re-shuffled between those 2 teams. People got a bit confused as to seeing some of their favorite players switched between teams. It's only natural when that happens. I am sure the IPL this year will enjoy a healthy viewership. I am huge T20 fan and am certainly looking forward to it.

Posted by VIGNESH287 on (March 30, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

Im soryr Harsha!! PPl memories are too short.... In this day n age u play so much of cricket....Tht winning n losing doesnt create significant things.....may be the fans might get disappointed for one day and will discuss and dissect abt the game..but after tht things will move on!! IPL will be a hit...particularly in home pitches....Flat atting tracks.... N Sachin, dada n dhoni playing....!!!

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (March 30, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

Sad fact, nobody cares for the IPL anymore. Its old stuff, T20's were just a passing by fad for cricketers and a means to attend a cricket match. IPL lost its splendor after the 2nd/3rd season

Posted by nskaile on (March 30, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

last year everyone knew maybe xpt BCCI tht ipl 4 gonna be a flop show cuz it came right after WC but this year, its gonna be a Blockbuster again. My sixth sence never go wrong lol

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Harsha BhogleClose
Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

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