Sunday, May 9, 2010

The story of the great Indian T2O game

The format is considered the shortest. The event is considered the most flamboyant of all. The brand is considered the costliest of all sporting events. It has achieved in recognizing cricketing talent. Not for India, but for outsiders. The tournament that gave recognition to the talent of Sohail Tanvir, Shaun Marsh, Albie Morkel etc, the tournament that brought back to form players like Dilshan, Kevin Pietersen, the tournament that gave a new lease of life to Gillie, Warnie, Haydos etc, failed miserably in finding local talent. One must remember that the 1st T20 World Cup was won before the advent of IPL.

So what has IPL done to Indian cricket? The already rich cricket board became richer. People from different regions got to see atleast one international level event being hosted by a city nearby for a month.

When Modi was given the task of starting a desi T20 league that could throw away the slowly establishing ICL, his main aim was reach and money and not cricket. So he went the same way as the most popular sporting league event in the world. The English Premier League(EPL). But one must understand that though EPL is the most popular league the national team has won only one World Cup in the long history. That doesn't matter to football fans. National level matches happen occasionally, either the World Cup or Qualifiers or the Euro Cup. Fans have seen loads of club football and are devoted to it much more than to national football. They've grown up enjoying these.

But that is not the case in cricket. For ages we have seen only national and international tournaments at that level and never club tournaments. Also had every team been under the respective state associations, cricket would have taken centre stage and not money. But Modiism isn't about that. Its about extravagance, glamour, money and entertainmant rather than cricket. In what was supposed to be the pitch that should be under spot light, the dugouts and parties became the centre piece and the cricketing part just an add-on but a necessary one. Money ruled the roost.

Also cricket has other aspects of it that needs to be looked into. For example, in the sub continent the pitches will be flat, dusty and the grounds rather small. So the kind of cricket that one plays here is different from the one that he plays Down Under or the Carribean. In a format that is already a batsman's heaven, flat and dusty pitches add more voes to the bowlers. They fail to bring out the best possible talent in the circuit as a batsman is not tested fully and a bowler is let down by the wicket. For example, the Chennai pitch for the CSK-RR match this season was a belter. More than 400 runs scored on a day may be good for entertainment but not for the sport. So there is no point complaining about the T20 debacle.

Including 4 foreign players in a team should be instrumental in mentoring the young players in the team. But from all the three editions of IPL it is clear that the foreign players have been largely responsible for a team's victory.

Case in point is M.Vijay. The day before he had a 400 run opening stand with Abhinav mukund in a Ranji league match. The next day he opened batting for India along with Sehwag against Australia and scored a brisk 40 and 33. This was in India. An year later he scored an audacious 127 against RR that followed another match winning 79 against RCB in IPL-3. But apart from the 48 against Afghanistan, he was struggling in all other matches in the carribean. Definitely his test performances show that he is of international material but he hasn't been exposed to international conditions. This is a very important element.

We have a flamboyant domestic extravaganza that has cricket as a part of it. We don't have proper domestic T20 league like KFC T20 league in Australia. Only when cricket takes centre stage, can we blame that inspite of IPL our players sucked.