As the IPL grows older and gets more competitive, its owners are becoming more demanding and "cut-throat", in the words of tournament veteran and two-time coach Brad Hodge. "It's pretty brutal (for coaches) in this part of the world (IPL). If you don't make the finals here, you pretty much pack your bags and walk out the door."
Hodge, who coached Gujarat Lions and Kings XI Punjab between 2016 and 2018, was talking to ESPNcricinfo's Talking T20 podcast, in a wide-ranging chat on life inside an IPL team. An IPL regular since the first season, Hodge played for three different teams, including the Rajasthan Royals side that made the playoffs in 2013.
As coach, he took Lions to the playoffs in their inaugural season in 2016. A miserable 2017 season later - the last for the franchise since it had only a two-year term - he moved to Kings XI Punjab for IPL 2018. However, they frittered away a promising start of five wins in their first six games to finish seventh on the points table.
Hodge, who has since parted ways with the franchise as has team mentor Virender Sehwag, continues to coach in the Caribbean Premier League with St.Lucia Stars. However, he feels the culture in the IPL is different from most other T20 leagues, considering the scale of the tournament and the stakes involved.
"Look, it's pretty cut-throat here actually... I sort of said to the Kings XI Punjab (owners), 'How do you define success? What do you actually want to do?' You haven't won in ten years, so if I'm not to win next year, how am I defined?" He cited Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, the two most successful sides in IPL history, as examples of a well-defined long-term vision working well.
"I sort of said to them (Kings XI owners), 'How many times do you want to win (the IPL) in a decade?' And I thought three is realistic. It doesn't matter whether you win this year, next year or the year after. You could win three in a row in the mid-pack. Just that if you've won three in a decade... If you look at CSK, they've won three. Mumbai Indians, they've won three. They've got a successful ten years."
Super Kings, along with Sunrisers Hyderabad, have two of IPL's longest serving coaches in Stephen Fleming (2009-2015, 2018 onwards) and Tom Moody (2013 onwards), while Rajasthan Royals' Paddy Upton and Kolkata Knight Riders' Jacques Kallis are the only other current head coaches who have been around for more than three seasons with the same franchise.