IPL: The Root Of All Evil Or A Convenient Punching Bag? 

Is IPL really such a mess or has it just become the favourite punching bag for all things cricket-related?

5 min read
File photo of IPL 9 (Photo: IANS)

Being in the BCCI’s shoes must be tough these days. Already reeling from a plethora of hurdles, the apex cricket organization is now going through testing times after a recent Bombay High Court ruling asked them to move all the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches after 30 April out of Maharashtra.

The ruling, expectedly, has given BCCI a major headache as they now have to shift 13 matches, including the final, in a very short span of time. While that would still be managed somehow, the reason of this ruling – because of the drought situation in the state – is a little absurd.

IPL- The Favourite Whipping Boy?

Now, one is not saying that the IPL should be played with all its vigor in a state where people are suffering, but is it justified to lay the blame of the drought situation squarely on the IPL? The drought issue is an unfortunate one and a lot factors have contributed to it.

But will moving the IPL matches away from the state help the drought in any way? Just pointing fingers at the IPL seems like a convenient way of shifting view from the real crisis. Blaming the IPL for everything and projecting it as an evil force seems to be a trend these days.

If the Indian cricket team performs poorly in Tests, blame the IPL. If India fails to win the World Cup, blame the IPL. If a good Indian player loses form, blame the IPL. The IPL, apparently, has become a convenient punching bag for all and sundry.

If the player performs poorly, blame IPL . In this picture, Ravindra Jadeja bowled against SRH. (Photo: BCCI)
If the player performs poorly, blame IPL . In this picture, Ravindra Jadeja bowled against SRH. (Photo: BCCI)

Belittling the Core Issue

The Maharashtra drought crisis is a matter of grave concern. Blaming and punishing the IPL for it seems like trivialisation of the issue. Indian batting legends Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid too are thinking along the same lines.

If not having IPL will solve the problem, then we should stop playing cricket,” Dravid was recently quoted as saying. Gavaskar elaborated a little more on the subject and said to a news channel recently:

Is water being saved by not having IPL matches? If yes, how can it be done? The BCCI did guarantee that they will not use potable water. Franchises and BCCI, I believe, also offered to make donations. Those were two significant and good gestures.

What both Dravid and Gavaskar have said does make sense. And delving into the matter a little more would make it clearer. From what has been reported, the shortfall of water in Maharashtra is close to 23 trillion litres. By moving the IPL matches from the state, about 63 lakh litres of water would apparently be saved. That would be like taking out a small glass of water from the ocean.

What could have been done instead was to request the IPL to donate some amount of money for the drought. Wouldn’t that have been more prudent and effective? And while we are at it, has anyone reflected on what other establishments can be blamed for the overuse of water in the state? The golf course and the race course use a lot of water to irrigate their grounds and one should not forget the plush apartments in the state whose water usage is immense as well. But why stop at these? Why not ask the High Court and the Raj Bhavan as well to limit their water usage for the washing of their buildings?

The thing is, the IPL being a high-profile tournament attracts a lot of eyeballs and has its fair share of supporters and detractors. Hence, targeting it is a convenient, albeit short-term, getaway in this situation.

(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)

The IPL Has Done a Lot Of Good

With the unimaginable amount of money the IPL draws, it has proven to be a perfect opportunity for betting and has also affected many young cricketers adversely. However, the championship – even with all its flaws – has done a lot of good for Indian and world cricket at large. One has to accept that it also provides a stable means of livelihood for several unknown cricketers, groundsmen, and a host of other people who work behind the scenes in the making of the tournament every year.

Then, the IPL has helped in promoting world cricket bonhomie like nothing else has. Today, courtesy the league, there is much greater camaraderie among Indian and international players. More than this, though, the IPL has helped nurtured and hone a lot of local talent. Even if the numbers might not be staggering, the championship has given us some very good cricketers, and a lot of international players – by their own admission – owe the IPL for the resurrection of their careers as well.

Most importantly, however, the IPL allows India’s young, local players to share dressing rooms with the biggest names of the world and be steeped in their knowledge of the game. Our local players have undoubtedly become more confident and handle pressure situations much better because of the IPL.

Young players like Sanju Samson are getting good opportunities in the IPL. (Photo Courtesy: BCCI)
Young players like Sanju Samson are getting good opportunities in the IPL. (Photo Courtesy: BCCI)

In Conclusion

One should hence learn to be appreciative of what is positive about the IPL while being critical of it when criticism is deserved. What is happening today is the opposite, and borders on the extreme.

All said and done, the IPL has a long way to go before it can be accepted worldwide. It has to iron out a lot of its shortcomings. But it is unfair to hold it accountable for things beyond its control. That the IPL has so much glamour and glitz perhaps does not go down well with a lot of people. Given the steadfast way the tournament is progressing, even amidst all the controversies, it is likely that it will continue to be divisive. Here’s to hoping, then, that some semblance of reason will prevail regarding this contentious league in the days to come.

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