April 30, 2012

The fans have voted with their wallets on the IPL

The tournament now has a following independent of the Indian team's performance
53

It is no exaggeration when I say that the atmosphere at Feroz Shah Kotla the other day, during the Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians game, was similar to those seen during World Cup matches in India. It was, of course, a big-ticket game involving some of the biggest names in world cricket, but the atmosphere for other IPL games played at the Kotla and other metro venues this year has not been too different. I'm not saying this because I am now a contracted commentator for the IPL, but because it is something I have seen for myself: IPL 5 is a big hit.

I don't understand the game of TRPs and ratings; I just look at what's out there to see and draw obvious conclusions. Fans have come in their throngs and they have made a lot of noise, suggesting that they are having a great time in the stands. I keep getting frequent requests for free tickets to IPL games. That's the simple yardstick I use to judge the success of an event.

The IPL has seen some terrific matches this year, and some individual performances have been simply breathtaking. We are seeing the attacking game evolve further, where sixes hit with reverse sweeps and switch hits landing in the second tier of the stands are not as rare as they used to be. (I have a problem with the switch hit and its legality, but that is a subject for another day.)

A strong point of this year's IPL has been the intensity shown by the foreign players, especially the big global stars like Kevin Pietersen and AB de Villiers. One only has to see the intensity on the face of a de Villiers as he faces up to a bowler, or Pietersen's body language on the field, to realise that these guys are not holding anything back - they are giving their all for their franchises.

As for the fans, they react to the intensity of the contest on the playing field, and feel content that they are getting full value for their money spent. They are now feeling increasingly assured that they have bought tickets to games where they will not only see their favourite stars in action but see them giving their best. Sadly, as a cricket fan you did not get that feeling when you watched the Indian and Sri Lankan teams play recently in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, an international tournament. Maybe there is a lesson there for the administrators.

IPL 5 has also thrown up another message for followers of Indian cricket. Many felt that the recent Indian debacles in England and Australia would have a negative impact on this year's IPL, since the success of the IPL depends largely on how Indian fans react to it, and Indian fans were a depressed lot in the weeks prior to the IPL. But as Santosh Desai recently suggested on ESPNcricinfo's Time Out show, Indian cricket fans seem to be actually flocking to IPL games, taking solace in the fact that India cannot lose, come what may.

What has also emerged from the success of IPL 5 is the knowledge that Indian cricket fans have now started following the IPL as an independent event, separate from the international cricket that India plays. This should delight all those who have invested in the IPL; it's a happy learning for them that the success of the tournament is not dependent on how the Indian team performs at the international level. The IPL's success depends on its own performance.

This year's IPL has also established once again that the T20 format and the time when most matches are played (8pm to 11pm) are the tournament's two fortes - and also the two main weaknesses of mainstream international cricket.

This piece is not about glorifying everything about the IPL, so let me now come to a bit of criticism. With every advancing season, the more successful the IPL becomes, the more challenging it will be for the BCCI to sustain its Test cricket. With all its mass following and the money it generates for the players, the undeniable fact remains that the IPL is not good preparation for Test cricket. And we have seen over the years that the image and stature of a country's cricket are defined by its team's Test performances. The IPL may help India become a better 50-overs team but not a better Test team.

This is what the BCCI has to be mindful of. As it watches the IPL go from strength to strength, the board has to ensure that its Test cricket does not become weaker in the process. It is possible: India can have a strong Test team along with a vibrant IPL. More on that in my next piece on ESPNcricinfo.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar commentates on the IPL and other cricket. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 3, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    I keep hearing Pakistani fans saying IPL is unsuccessful. If so why do you keep insisting to include Pakistani players in a unsuccessful domestic Indian League?

  • muthuthewaves on May 3, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    Sanjay u are spot on!!! Even kp said that england are jealous of ipl. Not only england most of the nations are jealous. This is crickets one the biggest tournaments watched from many parts of the world

  • SanjivAwesome on May 2, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    IPL5 has revealed an interesting weakness in India cricket talent. No India bowlers in the top-3. If BCCI has any sense (big if) they will finally start to develop bowling talent in the country.

  • dinosaurus on May 2, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    The IPL will never identify and nurture new talent, and the reason has practically nothing to do with cricket or the BCCI. It is a totally professional game, so it follows universal business practices. Just as you can only get a loan if you can demonstrate that you don't need it (well, at least that you control assets equal or superior to the loan) - the bank doesn't want to "pick winners" - the franchises will invest in proven talent. And the marketers also want to promote known "brands" - that is established players.

  • truth_bearer on May 2, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    I do enjoy following IPL matches, there sure are some exciting performances every once in a while. But if you are a fan of the Indian team you have to wonder why it is that players like Sehwag and Gambhir excel domestically whereas AB de Villiers, the Morkel brothers, Jacque Kallis, Hussey brothers et al perform well not only on flat tracks like the ones in India but also bouncy pitches elsewhere. How short is the attention span of Indian fans and how low do they set the bar for Indian players ?

  • venkat_75r on May 1, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    @K Ravi Shankar - yes. Couple of stands were not cleared by the authorities. Hence, TNCA cannot use them until the dispute is resolved

  • on May 1, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    k ravi shankar @ Chennai and bangalore will never have a full crowd in IPL5.

  • venkat_75r on May 1, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    Sanjay is absolutely spot on. Who cares about the TRP ratings? Do they consider each and every person, who is watching. Just by doing random sample does not mean that whatever they are saying is correct. We have seen lot of exit polls going for toss during election time. People are forgetting about the fact that now the matches can be viewed on internet, which was not the case in the first 2 or 3 editions. Also, if I am watching a match along with 25 friends on a big screen, does TRP count it as one or twenty six :-)

  • ansarri on May 1, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    First of all IPL is not at all independent of India team performance the teams's recect dismal run has made the IPL unsuccessful in spite of exciting matches. IPL could get exciting if the Pakistani players are allowed. Secondly this years Asia Cup was one of the best cricket tournament one has ever seen you just cannot come to the conclusion that teams like Srilanka and India did have the intensity just because they were favorites and did not go to final.

  • on May 1, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Hi Sanjay, adding on to my comments yesterday. Did you watch the match at Chennai last night ?? Or were you there ? Well, i watched the telecast and could clearly see that the camera was trying its darnedest to pan on the spectators that were in. There were large spaces of empty seats. Yes, i know someone wrote in to say that some parts of the stadium were not cleared for security reason !! And it still isnt ?? Inspite of that there were plenty of vacant seats. And this was a crunch match for Chennai. Are you still saying that this IPL is doing well ?? Hmmmm......

  • on May 3, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    I keep hearing Pakistani fans saying IPL is unsuccessful. If so why do you keep insisting to include Pakistani players in a unsuccessful domestic Indian League?

  • muthuthewaves on May 3, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    Sanjay u are spot on!!! Even kp said that england are jealous of ipl. Not only england most of the nations are jealous. This is crickets one the biggest tournaments watched from many parts of the world

  • SanjivAwesome on May 2, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    IPL5 has revealed an interesting weakness in India cricket talent. No India bowlers in the top-3. If BCCI has any sense (big if) they will finally start to develop bowling talent in the country.

  • dinosaurus on May 2, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    The IPL will never identify and nurture new talent, and the reason has practically nothing to do with cricket or the BCCI. It is a totally professional game, so it follows universal business practices. Just as you can only get a loan if you can demonstrate that you don't need it (well, at least that you control assets equal or superior to the loan) - the bank doesn't want to "pick winners" - the franchises will invest in proven talent. And the marketers also want to promote known "brands" - that is established players.

  • truth_bearer on May 2, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    I do enjoy following IPL matches, there sure are some exciting performances every once in a while. But if you are a fan of the Indian team you have to wonder why it is that players like Sehwag and Gambhir excel domestically whereas AB de Villiers, the Morkel brothers, Jacque Kallis, Hussey brothers et al perform well not only on flat tracks like the ones in India but also bouncy pitches elsewhere. How short is the attention span of Indian fans and how low do they set the bar for Indian players ?

  • venkat_75r on May 1, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    @K Ravi Shankar - yes. Couple of stands were not cleared by the authorities. Hence, TNCA cannot use them until the dispute is resolved

  • on May 1, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    k ravi shankar @ Chennai and bangalore will never have a full crowd in IPL5.

  • venkat_75r on May 1, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    Sanjay is absolutely spot on. Who cares about the TRP ratings? Do they consider each and every person, who is watching. Just by doing random sample does not mean that whatever they are saying is correct. We have seen lot of exit polls going for toss during election time. People are forgetting about the fact that now the matches can be viewed on internet, which was not the case in the first 2 or 3 editions. Also, if I am watching a match along with 25 friends on a big screen, does TRP count it as one or twenty six :-)

  • ansarri on May 1, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    First of all IPL is not at all independent of India team performance the teams's recect dismal run has made the IPL unsuccessful in spite of exciting matches. IPL could get exciting if the Pakistani players are allowed. Secondly this years Asia Cup was one of the best cricket tournament one has ever seen you just cannot come to the conclusion that teams like Srilanka and India did have the intensity just because they were favorites and did not go to final.

  • on May 1, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Hi Sanjay, adding on to my comments yesterday. Did you watch the match at Chennai last night ?? Or were you there ? Well, i watched the telecast and could clearly see that the camera was trying its darnedest to pan on the spectators that were in. There were large spaces of empty seats. Yes, i know someone wrote in to say that some parts of the stadium were not cleared for security reason !! And it still isnt ?? Inspite of that there were plenty of vacant seats. And this was a crunch match for Chennai. Are you still saying that this IPL is doing well ?? Hmmmm......

  • johnathonjosephs on May 1, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    Manjrekar, you got it totally wrong. The ratings have dropped not soared? IPL is dead in a couple years

  • 1by0 on May 1, 2012, 0:00 GMT

    There is an apparent contradiction: while the stadiums are full and it seems IPL5 is a big hit, the TRP's are down! Being a physicist, it's pretty easy to resolve the puzzle. IPL has now created a true fan base, meaning I am now a much bigger supporter of KKR than I was 5 years back. But IPL is not a new thing for me that I will leave aside everything and watch any random match. So, while I enjoy watching KKR a lot more, my average IPL watching time has decreased. Thus you see more passion and fan following in the stadiums, but TRP's which is a nationally averaged quantity has dropped, and it will remain that way.

  • on April 30, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    Indian bowlers have proved again in this IPL that they are India's very weak link.................3 Indian batsmen in top 5 batsmen whereas none Indian bowler in top 5 bowlers...............India's so called great bowler Zaheer has taken only 9 wickets as opposed to Morkel's 18 at a very bad economy rate of 7.9..........Zaheer is the most overrated cricketer ever.................As far as excuse of flat pitches goes, foreign spinners and fast bowlers have not only been able to take wickets at a very low average but have also kept very good economy rates..................They say "A poor workman always blames his tools'............so do Indian bowlers, who blame pitches.

  • on April 30, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    Those who criticize Indian batsmen for being bad travelers must see how Aussie batters have failed in WI yet they have won mainly bcz of their bowling .......................The same happened to SA when they toured Aus............................................All these teams win soley on their bowling on bowling friendly pitches-batsmen always fail.................India loses bcz indian bowlers do not perform well enough on bowling friendly pitches

  • on April 30, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    Test cricket don't have a World Cup, neither fans, apart from England, nor the players of most nations themselves are interested int it. Test cricket tests batsman's only temperament and defense - A player with very limited strokes can be a very successful test batsman......As far as bowlers are concerned they are to rely fully on pitch or silly shot from batsman to take wickets which again is no skill...... Cannot figure out why commentators and Indian board are so fussy about Test Cricket.

  • on April 30, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    Who is Manjrekar kidding? He has been on TV for such a long time and professes to not understand TRPs. What a wussy article!!! Own up and call spade a spade...IPL 5 is a bust and the reason is the awful performance of the national Indian team abroad...eventually it had to catch up...

  • bharatavarsha on April 30, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    @Ragav999- Excellent idea,but won't happen: N Srinivasan (& Pawar too, for sure, has his fingers somewhere in the IPL pie) would be solely concerned about his investment, the game of cricket wouldn't even be a blip on his screen.

  • on April 30, 2012, 19:45 GMT

    I would like to see Indian batsmen perform if IPL is played on South Africa, England and Australian pitches. Indian batsmen perform well in ODIs and Tests when played in India. The problem is not with Indian team playing test matches, the problem is with indian team playing test matches on fast bowler friendly pitches....

  • ansram on April 30, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    Indian players have talent, no doubt. But you become good at what you do most passionately. Indian players now have more passion for IPL and their franchises and the passion to win was missing during the last two overseas tours. AB and KP are so good at IPL because they never started as IPL players. Build a strong test team and players with strong technique and everything else takes care of itself. Talent gets nowhere without the right conditions and technical training. India is not prioritizing test cricket, that is all, and it is plainly there for everyone to see.

  • Ragav999 on April 30, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    The cricket boards have every right to advertise IPL and make money. To improve Test performance of Indian cricket, if the BCCI is interested, the money from the auctions could then be distributed to the players in such a proportion where success in Test cricket reaps more money for the cricketers and less for T20/IPL matches. This ensures that cricketers put in their best effort during every Test series and also the slightly average guys still make more than decent money in IPL/T20 games.

  • getsetgopk on April 30, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    So now we have one indian writer willing to admit that t20 is harmful for test cricket, I remember during the last IPL when sanjay was talking about IPL games and was so excited and all in the back of my mind was that all important tour of Eng and 2000th test, the 1st spot in test ranking and while commenting on these IPL games he was sort of aloof to whats coming next and then during the Eng tour he seemed lost for words while doing commentary on sky which was clear to even a blind person that the team that landed on english shores was a borken and tired one that team was no match for england who have been waiting and preparing for this one for a long time, India got what it deserved in the end, and then there was the Aus tour, same story again but understandable they needed time to recover but they are having another IPL and the circle or should i say circus continues...

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on April 30, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    So sick of this IPL joke , its turning cricket , a game of tradition , class , subtlety and perseverance into a circus like joke with its kamaal catches , maximum's , weird and over the top talk shows...whats worse is now even likes of harsha and manjarekar(to some extent) feels they have to come and defend IPL on cric info ..

  • on April 30, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    The opening para is flat-out wrong. Manjrekar will get requests for free tickets and fans will always come in throngs - because its INDIA, home to 1.2 BILLION people, the most intense concentration of humanity on the planet. Does Manjrekar realize that no stadium in any Indian city is capable to seating even 1% of the total population of that city? Obviously television ratings are crucial, because w/o advertising confidence that at least 150-200 million people watch IPL, those ballistic salaries of players (and commentators I expect), will disappear... The only reason why IPL is bigger than BPL (B'desh), BBL (Aus) and other leagues is because India's population is three-four times those of the other countries..

  • PrajithR on April 30, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    There is the saying "JUSTICE IS BLIND" ..... Compare the crowds flocking a TEST match with T20- IPL in India ..... Please give the due value & respect for the cricket fans who flock the T20 matches (paying Rs:500 & above ) ..... Never let the so called "SUPERIORITY of TEST Matches" cloud your judgement ..... As for the fellows promoting EPL (a football league) through Tweets between IPL matches, I have only one thing to say - Read the old story: "THE FOX & SOUR GRAPES", and learn well the moral from it.

  • ZachAd on April 30, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    Whether IPL is responsible for the Indian team's pathetic run is debatable but no one can deny the 'fatigue factor' that the tournament brings.Surely Dhoni is the most overworked captain in the cricketing world. Its just not the 8 successive test defeats but India has flopped in the limited over series in England, CB series and Asia cup. BCCI should really get its priorities right. IPL might be a success but who's really benefiting? Certainly not Indian cricket! It's somewhat like this - If a student fares poorly in studies during an academic year, the school/parents will put him/her in remedial classes during the summer holidays and not make the student read expensive and colorful comic books in the name of reading (and knowledge). Now equate student with Indian cricket, parents with BCCI and comic books with IPL......

  • muski on April 30, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Sanjay- I would go all the way to say that all you have guys have been sold out to the BCCI. However, there seems to a different tone to the language you and guys like Harsha have been speaking of late. There is no doubt that IPL will play a havoc on the techniques of players - especially the batsmen .IPL for all its follies is here to stay and that too in a big way. BCCI being the big bullies that they are can probably do one thing that is unthinkable- list out 10 promising batsmen and 10 promising bowlers and tell them that IPL is out of bounds for them. These guys should be the ones who currently have no contract whatsoever with BCCI and these guys should straight be given a C contract with the condition that they will not play IPL for 3 years. This kind of dramatic action will atleast ensure we dont have jumping jack on seaming wickets and also ensure that we dont have burn out of promising fast bowlers.

  • on April 30, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    So if India loses and leaves the fans depressed, they will flock to the IPL? Huh? Not a bad idea. Guess the WC win gave everything and the team achieved the no 1 test ranking too. Looks like a deliberate attempt to make IPL successful! Of course the money is good so players will accept it. But absolutely right - BCCI must ensure that IPL fever is just once in an year. Then the team should play proper test cricket. With money in the bank the players might be motivated. Needles series should be avoided. After IPL the team should have enough rest. And test season should run from July to Feb. Then the gap should build to IPL excitement. Similarly the IPL aftermath should be sedate testcricket - like getting back home sweet home! BCCI should work with ICC and other countries on this.

  • m0se on April 30, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    Reading articles like this, is there a danger that the IPL will not be financially viable in the future or something? I think the cricket is good but the TV commentary is bad, the incessant product placement is annoying, the camera work is shoddy and I get the feeling that the crowd are incessantly goaded into making noise. If there is one thing I will remember from the IPL then it's that horn riff.

  • athem79 on April 30, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    #Sanjay . . I totally disagree with your statement about the success of IPL . . Firstly - Vacant Stadiums are clear indication where IPL stands . . Lastly - In India, Cricket is way above everything and hence there were hardly any big banner movies getting released till last IPL. However, during this IPL many movies are scheduled to be released like Jannat 2 and few others. Movies which were released in recent past and have done well during the IPL matches include small budget films like Vicky Donor . . So your stand on success of IPL' success stands untrue.

  • on April 30, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    Perhaps you may not care about the TRP game but you would nevertheless appreciate that gate collections by themselves cannot justify the high investments made in the IPL. The fans watching on TV have to vote in favour of IPL too, and the TRPs are a widely used measure of viewership. If players didn't have to be remunerated in the millions, then perhaps, creating buzz amongst spectators would be enough by itself but it's TV programming that creates so much more wealth for the cricketers.

  • satish619chandar on April 30, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    Why do people confuse between formats. .Every format has its own fans.. Just enjoy cricket.. that should be enough.. No fights between formats.. If at all people blame IPL but speak high about English T20, Big bash and BPL (as of now), they are just biased or jealous.. If u r a fan on TEST alone, just ignore T20 cricket at your own peril.. Just save ur precious time!!

  • CricketMaan on April 30, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    Apart from English media (who shed crocodile tears) no one is complaining including SA, Aus or SL circket and media. We miss Pak flamboyance but for various reasons. Lets face it, my son is 4 yrs and as he grows will not have patience to watch Test. Test Cricket will only be played by England and Aus coz of thier history otherwise i cannot see others sustaining with Test Cricket. You see around the world SA, SL, Pak, Windies will all struggle to get crowds all 5 days round the year and in India. The future of Cricket is mostly 20 over and possibly 50 or 40 overs.

  • Simoc on April 30, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    T20 is and has been for awhile, the future of cricket. Buffoons like to put it down but to players it is the ultimate (of course they're not allowed to say that). They play in front of big crowds who like what they see and let them know it. They get paid very well and it is all over in three hours. It is so obviously the future of cricket. TV demonstrates that to all with open eyes.

  • on April 30, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    One of the reasons for the fans thronging the stadium is the lower priced tickets compared to earlier years.

  • Hayat22 on April 30, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    To all those who use the Test match argument, to rail against the IPL. Well it is not IPLs fault if india is losing Tests outside the sub continent. It was always a struggling nation, except for a limited period. The problem is that India has failed to produce the next generation of batsmen to take over the trio, and that should have been addressed before the IPL started in the mid 2000s. there has been no Test cricket find in the previous decade, so blaming the IPL is misplaced. And given a chance these same players will give a run for money to whoever come playing test matches in India, that also another stark reality. Indian players are good on Indian pitches. What can be done to redress this is either to recreate foreign conditions in India or take IPL to different countries, so that local players get to play in foreign conditions.If people like popular music then its no point imposing classical music down their throats, though they can be gradually inculcated to appreciate it.

  • ElBeeDubya on April 30, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    Good international players from both India and other countries are doing well but there is a lot of dead wood in each team so the overall quality of IPL is lower than international cricket. Also, the 'full stadium' thing is an over-statement. I have seen stadia where the administrators appear to have closed half or more of the seating so everyone is forced to sit in one area of the stadium. Then, TV cameras are positioned to show this 'full' section so the TV viewers will get a false sense of 'full-house' excitement. I don't know about you but when officials start taking such measures, it sends the wrong message and raises certain red flags in my mind. Sanjay still remains one of my favorite commentator/opinion piece writer and I hope his comments will remain independent of his obligations.

  • venkatesh018 on April 30, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    You may deny it, but you have indeed spoken like a true contracted commentator of IPL. You pick and choose whatever evidence which suits you, whether it is the TRP ratings or spectators on the ground to trumpet the glory of the IPL. The truth is people have been watching the IPL only fleetingly on TV, usually the last five overs of every innings. The rest of the time they have switched over to their usual entertainment programmes. You clearly must know Sanjay that IPL is the lowest denominator of cricket(Look how terrified are batsman facing upto real Test match fast bowlers like Steyn and Morkel). You are totally wrong on the Asia cup because people have voted out the 50 over game, unless it is a multi-nation World cup, and it is the TV companies who keep serving them to a disinterested audience. Atleast, you have the conscience to concede that the IPL will kill Test cricket in India in the not too distant future. But it will live on with vigour atleast in England and Australia.

  • on April 30, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    Just wanted to know whether yourself, Bhogle, Shastri, Gavaskar or any of the other "UN"biased commentators have ever really criticized the IPL, BCCI, Sachin or anything that your Bosses( Im sorry but technically that's what the BCCI is ) endorse? U guys are all sell outs and make it very obvious

  • Satyamcn on April 30, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Unfortunately, Sanjay, with your association with the IPL commentary team, I see a wee bit of bias. Not just you. Harsha, too. The success of the IPL (the entertainment is unquestionable. Even I am queuing up to watch it; there's nothing better to watch on television!) is the biggest detriment to Test cricket in India. Look at the toll that it's taking on Dhoni. I'm sure your assessment of the situation would've been different were you not associated with the IPL.

  • PureTom on April 30, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Every year I look forward to the IPL final with immense impatience and every year it takes longer to arrive.

  • Gascard_D on April 30, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    The best part of the tournament by far is the super-six-hitting competition. I wish there were more coverage of this. It is the essence of the short form of the game and much more exciting.

    No doubt purists will say it lacks the subtlety of the longer 20/20 format, but who wants to watch batsmen leave balls, nurdle singles or be beaten by in-swinging yorkers? The players clearly love the freedom to express themselves, unhelmeted, unshackled, and unabashed.

    I hope the super-sixes is here to stay, and if batsmen belting balls bowled by a bowling machine for cash sounds the death-knell of 20/20, so be it.

  • on April 30, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    A very honest and straight-forward article by Sanjay, just like himself!

  • on April 30, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    I can see an effort to try and be neutral. But one or two matches cannot be the yardstick when there are close to a 100 matches being played. And lets not fool ourselves when we all know how many free passes have been handed around to fill the stadiums. Not to forget T shirts and flags etc etc.. if you dont take heed of TRPs to try and justify your own views then it is sad. Ofcourse all players need to give off their best - millions of $$$ will not come for free !!!

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on April 30, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Of course IPL will always be a hit , considering the fact that an average Indian cricket fan's idea of a great match involves batsmen (read sachin) hitting a lot of boundaries on some of the flattest pitches in the world , most don't even care about the bowling and simply switch off their tv.. also with IPL now being a big hit any hope of BCCI doing something to fix India's test cricket scene is finished

  • Hayat22 on April 30, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    Well said Sanjay. I don't understand how people say the IPL is going down when the stands appear full, the contest engaging most often, though the local non capped Indian talent is by and large mediocre. This needs redressal.

    The IPL rule has ironically brought greater competition amongst the foreign player contingent due to the four foreigner rule, while made the locals complacent. A case in point being Yusuf Pathan. Something needs to be done to ensure the locals too fight for their places as fervently as the firegin players do, that can be gauged by the intensity on the field. As you said an Abe de Villiers or even a Mc Cullum when he gets out after doing all the hard work, that only shows how much they value and respect the platform.

  • MAK123 on April 30, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    If you know what TRPs are, you surely know the game, Sanjay:-))

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 30, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    The Indian cricket fans would love to see their players perform well in England, Australia and South Africa against quality bowlers who can bowl yorkers well and who bowl at express speed where the pitch has a lot of juice to swing and bounce. Winning a series in any of these countries is the ultimate test. Does the IPL or the ODI format create players with skill sets to survive in these conditions and play against the best in the world? Clearly not. All one has to do is watch Stein, Morkel and Malinga bowl in the IPL at the death overs in IPL and see the way our own bowlers perform. All one has to do is see a Smith of Pune Warriors or Du Plessis of CSK perform and then compare this with an Indian "talent" like Rohit Sharma or Badrinath perform. DeVilliers and Kevin's innovation to generate runs is priceless and of higher quality than the brute force of the uni-dimensional Dhoni. The IPL cannot create quality. Quality is tempered by temperament and Tests is the place to see it!

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 30, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    The Tests have no link with IPL or any other format of the game and this is something very few of the self proclaimed cricket pundits have been able to understand. Tests become important because these are competitions between countries and as a format requires greater intelligence as a team unit to win and maintain a top position amongst the Test playing nations. Indians are records crazy and would always like their players and team to do well. The Indian team needs new heroes. The yester year heroes of India are all jaded and barely capture the imagination of the young. As long as India plays well and creates its heroes, there will always be an audience. Cricket is no different from F-1 or the World Athletics Championships in that respect. Sport will always bring in audience because of the heroes it creates.

  • Rahulbose on April 30, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    IPL has brought cricket to prime time TV in India. The games are about as authentic as the myriad reality TV shows. Truth is that this is the final nail in the coffin of Test cricket in India. Maybe it can be resurrected if IPL ever goes out of fashion. Thats the only hope now.

  • Percy_Fender on April 30, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    This year's IPL has been more about cricket and less about Lalit Modi signing autographs. That and the rise and rise of 20/20 cricket is probably what has caused this popularity. Indians like most people all over the world, like it best when their national team is doing well. The days when one clapped for an opposition batsman hitting a six are over.Everyone as we saw in Australia recently likes to watch matches only when their team is playing.That is probably also due to the high cost of tickets.The IPL on the other hand caters for Indian and foriegn playing together and as part of the same teams.This probably brings about a feeling that what they are watching does not carry any animosity as one sees in regular cricket.I could be wrong but I think that is a major reason for the spectators coming in droves to watch the games despite the weather.India has a major say in everything about cricket.I am sure that if a Test championship is held in India it will provide the lifeline for tests

  • on April 30, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    It appears Sanjay has become BCCI's puppet to save its face..and to counter the reports on low tv ratings.....please read http://www.espncricinfo.com/page2/content/story/563050.html...I was a die hard fan till last year...after the recent debacles in International arena, IPL doesnt attract any interest for me...sure thats the case for many true cricket lovers!!

  • sifter132 on April 30, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    "India can have a strong Test team along with a vibrant IPL. More on that in my next piece on ESPNcricinfo." Perhaps they can, India has a lot of talent but the more Indian players play IPL in their own conditions, the more they will get hammered on overseas Test tours...it's not rocket science. That is the big weakness in Indian Test cricket: performances outside Asia. IPL does NOTHING to fix that weakness.

  • ns_krishnan on April 30, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    ". The IPL may help India become a better 50-overs team but not a better Test team. " I am not so sure about this. Even in T20 India's performances have gone down terribly after the IPL. One of the main problems in the IPl is that it hasn't thrown up any great talent as it promised. Ashwin is alright, but there isn't much apart from him. Most teams rely on foreign players or Indian stars.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • ns_krishnan on April 30, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    ". The IPL may help India become a better 50-overs team but not a better Test team. " I am not so sure about this. Even in T20 India's performances have gone down terribly after the IPL. One of the main problems in the IPl is that it hasn't thrown up any great talent as it promised. Ashwin is alright, but there isn't much apart from him. Most teams rely on foreign players or Indian stars.

  • sifter132 on April 30, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    "India can have a strong Test team along with a vibrant IPL. More on that in my next piece on ESPNcricinfo." Perhaps they can, India has a lot of talent but the more Indian players play IPL in their own conditions, the more they will get hammered on overseas Test tours...it's not rocket science. That is the big weakness in Indian Test cricket: performances outside Asia. IPL does NOTHING to fix that weakness.

  • on April 30, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    It appears Sanjay has become BCCI's puppet to save its face..and to counter the reports on low tv ratings.....please read http://www.espncricinfo.com/page2/content/story/563050.html...I was a die hard fan till last year...after the recent debacles in International arena, IPL doesnt attract any interest for me...sure thats the case for many true cricket lovers!!

  • Percy_Fender on April 30, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    This year's IPL has been more about cricket and less about Lalit Modi signing autographs. That and the rise and rise of 20/20 cricket is probably what has caused this popularity. Indians like most people all over the world, like it best when their national team is doing well. The days when one clapped for an opposition batsman hitting a six are over.Everyone as we saw in Australia recently likes to watch matches only when their team is playing.That is probably also due to the high cost of tickets.The IPL on the other hand caters for Indian and foriegn playing together and as part of the same teams.This probably brings about a feeling that what they are watching does not carry any animosity as one sees in regular cricket.I could be wrong but I think that is a major reason for the spectators coming in droves to watch the games despite the weather.India has a major say in everything about cricket.I am sure that if a Test championship is held in India it will provide the lifeline for tests

  • Rahulbose on April 30, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    IPL has brought cricket to prime time TV in India. The games are about as authentic as the myriad reality TV shows. Truth is that this is the final nail in the coffin of Test cricket in India. Maybe it can be resurrected if IPL ever goes out of fashion. Thats the only hope now.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 30, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    The Tests have no link with IPL or any other format of the game and this is something very few of the self proclaimed cricket pundits have been able to understand. Tests become important because these are competitions between countries and as a format requires greater intelligence as a team unit to win and maintain a top position amongst the Test playing nations. Indians are records crazy and would always like their players and team to do well. The Indian team needs new heroes. The yester year heroes of India are all jaded and barely capture the imagination of the young. As long as India plays well and creates its heroes, there will always be an audience. Cricket is no different from F-1 or the World Athletics Championships in that respect. Sport will always bring in audience because of the heroes it creates.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 30, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    The Indian cricket fans would love to see their players perform well in England, Australia and South Africa against quality bowlers who can bowl yorkers well and who bowl at express speed where the pitch has a lot of juice to swing and bounce. Winning a series in any of these countries is the ultimate test. Does the IPL or the ODI format create players with skill sets to survive in these conditions and play against the best in the world? Clearly not. All one has to do is watch Stein, Morkel and Malinga bowl in the IPL at the death overs in IPL and see the way our own bowlers perform. All one has to do is see a Smith of Pune Warriors or Du Plessis of CSK perform and then compare this with an Indian "talent" like Rohit Sharma or Badrinath perform. DeVilliers and Kevin's innovation to generate runs is priceless and of higher quality than the brute force of the uni-dimensional Dhoni. The IPL cannot create quality. Quality is tempered by temperament and Tests is the place to see it!

  • MAK123 on April 30, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    If you know what TRPs are, you surely know the game, Sanjay:-))

  • Hayat22 on April 30, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    Well said Sanjay. I don't understand how people say the IPL is going down when the stands appear full, the contest engaging most often, though the local non capped Indian talent is by and large mediocre. This needs redressal.

    The IPL rule has ironically brought greater competition amongst the foreign player contingent due to the four foreigner rule, while made the locals complacent. A case in point being Yusuf Pathan. Something needs to be done to ensure the locals too fight for their places as fervently as the firegin players do, that can be gauged by the intensity on the field. As you said an Abe de Villiers or even a Mc Cullum when he gets out after doing all the hard work, that only shows how much they value and respect the platform.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on April 30, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Of course IPL will always be a hit , considering the fact that an average Indian cricket fan's idea of a great match involves batsmen (read sachin) hitting a lot of boundaries on some of the flattest pitches in the world , most don't even care about the bowling and simply switch off their tv.. also with IPL now being a big hit any hope of BCCI doing something to fix India's test cricket scene is finished