PARTAB RAMCHAND | 13 MAY, 2019
IPL – The Teflon Event
IPL has divided the cricketing fraternity
So another edition of the IPL is now part of cricketing history. And what a fitting finale it was to IPL – 12. One cannot get a narrower finish than a one-run margin and that the finalists were the two best sides in the tournament and the most successful teams in the competition’s history added spice to the flavour.
As has been the case since the inaugural IPL in 2008 there was plenty of drama and excitement along with controversies that marked this year’s event too. The preliminary stage was so hotly contested that the last of the four qualifiers was only spotted on the final day of the league. Also the fact that only one point separated the fourth placed team and the bottom placed team illustrated the keenness of the competition.
But perhaps the most noteworthy change in the IPL scenario this year was the fact that amidst the big hits, the huge totals and the outrageous strike rates the bowlers more than held their own. Low to moderate totals were defended and teams were bowled out for a double digit total. The final itself was the perfect advertisement of this aspect as a total of 149 was defended. If there were six hundreds in the competition there were nine instances of bowlers with four-wicket hauls and topping all other individual performances we had Alzarri Joseph finishing with a six- wicket haul which is now the best figures ever in 12 years of the tournament. There were also a couple of hat - tricks summing up the fact that bowlers had their moments and T-20 is no longer only a batsman’s game.
Yes, maybe the bat still dominates the ball but not as emphatically as in the past. The bowlers have been able to come up with tricks of their own in tying down the batsmen. In a format where there is little room for error and every small mistake gets magnified the batsmen are under tremendous pressure if there are two or three dot balls in succession. The result could well be a rash shot and a dismissal.
However the overall image of the IPL that is is the Teflon event remains as strong as ever. Nothing seems to stick to it even if it has had more than its share of controversies, scandals and unseemly incidents on and off the field. Every year it is the focus of much attention. Discussions at homes and offices, at bars or on the streets centre only round which of the eight franchisee teams will win the title. TRP ratings continue to go up, sponsors, advertisers and franchisee owners are all too ready to pour in astronomical amounts of money into anything associated with the IPL. The razzmatazz, the technical wizardry and shameless, almost nauseating hype are all part of the showpiece event. But cricket fans, particularly the young, lap it all up and most of them are fierce supporters of their franchisee teams.
The IPL has divided the cricketing fraternity. Some, especially the elderly who swear by the age old traditions of the game dismiss it as not really cricket. But to many others it is cricketainment – the phrase coined when the inaugural IPL was held in 2008. The fact that some of the owners are showbiz people or big industrialists gives the event that extra touch of glamour.
But there is no doubt that the cricket played is a very serious matter. Each and every member of the franchisee teams wants to win the trophy badly for there is a lot of prestige involved. The huge amount of prize money of course is the additional motivator. For many young cricketers the IPL is the perfect platform to showcase one’s talent and many unknowns have become household names overnight
Like it or lump it there is no doubt that the IPL is here to stay. Every year the cynics predict that the event will not be the same, that interest will decline, that the TRP’s will go down. How long will cricket followers tolerate the same kind of fare day in and day out for six to seven weeks, they question. But every year there is the same frenzied following with no change in the scenario.