For over one & a half month, the whole of India was feeling the heat of the first ever Indian Premier League. It ended fantastically yesterday with doubtedly the best team winning the trophy. It was an innovative concept of the Zee group that brought up the Indian Cricket League the last year as a domestic 20-20 cricket tournament which included the foreign players also. The BCCI didn’t approve the tournament and started its own with the help of boards of the other cricketing nations and named it the Indian Premier League. The concept of such a tournament was as innovative as the concept of 20-20 game, the newest and shortest approved version of cricket. (Though in India, and maybe in other parts of world also, we, so called, gully cricketers, had invented and successfully executed even shorter and more interesting versions long back.)
No doubt, in a nation like India where cricket is adored as a religion, it had to be a hit straightaway. But, with the presence of so many of the players from the international arena, so much of the glamour involved and, most importantly, so much of the money involved, it crossed every limit and turned out to be a wonderful blockbuster so much so that even a Shahrukh Khan-Karan Johar joint venture would have failed to bring down public to it in the evening and the night show. Undoubtedly, from 8 in the evening to almost midnight, every television in this cricket crazy nation aired only the IPL and nothing else.
It has already become a matter of speculation that “has the IPL done any good to cricket”. The same question arose when Mr. Carry Paker came up with the idea of the commercialization of cricket with the then new version of the game i.e. the one-day cricket. The ODIs were supposed to engulf the test cricket into their ever stretching mouth as Sursa did to Hanuman. Though this didn’t happen and test cricket still managed to hold its ground in many ways but nevertheless lost much of its popularity to the ODIs. The newest adaptation of the cricket is the demand of the era wherein everybody is running and nobody has much time to spend uselessly on things like sports. Cricket had to be shortened from 5 days to 1 day and now from 1 day to a few hours. The 20-20 cricket is answer to this need. Its new, its short, its fast, its interesting, its glamourous, and above all, its crowd puller. I think that everybody who feels that this form is not going to help the cricket should look at the point that what ultimately it has given cricket back. It has given back the crowd which the game of cricket was losing everywhere except for the cricket crazy Indian sub-continent. The crowd has again started to come to the stadium to watch matches. Each and every match of the IPL, irrespective of the teams playing, went houseful.
Should we really condemn the 20-20 cricket when it has given cricket what it required so desperately? Moreover, it has given a great platform for the new talents to come up and rub their shoulders with those of the great players who are their ideals, on whom they have based their cricket. For these new talents it was a great platform to show off themselves and knock the doors of the dressing room of their respective national teams. Adding to this, it didn’t only provide the platform to the youth but also provided all the players plenty of the much needed wealth. Not only this, most importantly, it provided us, the public, with cricket which was the most exciting, most nail-biting, most interesting and most adorable. Looking forward to the next year carnival of the cricket.