What he said:
“We were at airport and I said, ‘Baby, grab my bag’, two women started staring at us.”
Royal Challengers Bangalore opener and wicketkeeper K L Rahul recounts an unusually hilarious anecdote about his left-handed teammate Sachin Baby.
What he really meant:
“Was I looking at you, ma’am, when I said that? Was I, ma’am, was I? Owww!”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Baby, don’t Blush when I call you by name.”
What he said:
“When we go out to field and I’m standing at point, they ask me if I’m going to start eating the grass or not. “
Kane Richardson, South Australia and Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer, has turned vegan with a vengeance.
Terming the perception that a fast bowler has to “eat meat and drink alcohol” a stigma, the Aussie said:
“I didn’t want to eat animals. I challenged myself to stick to it, I guess it’s a diet but it’s not really a fad, it’s something you believe in.
I’ve done it for a year and-a-half, two years now but over this pre-season I’ll probably challenge myself to go vegan (a person who does not eat or use animal products) and train hard and see if I can do it and perform in four-day cricket.”
Richardson still enjoys his beer though.
“I’ve watched a lot of documentaries on it, and whether it’s right or wrong, I don’t know if that can be sustained the way people are gorging through food.Especially in Australia, we’re pretty spoilt with what’s available.
It’s just something I thought long and hard about and tried to change and have stuck to it since.
It’s just something I had to change with all the injuries that I had.
I did a lot of research on it. If it’s something that’s going to help me play for longer than I’ll definitely try it.
I’ll be vegetarian the rest of my life, it’s whether I can go full vegan, that’s the question.”
Peter Siddle is the other Australian bowler who embraced vegetarianism.
“I know Sidds (Peter Siddle) is the same, he’s quite big into that.
He’s got a platform in the media and he can try and help the way people treat animals, especially in India, it’s quite tough to see.”
What he really meant:
“My teammates can’t tell wheatgrass from any other kinds of grass—including weed!”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’d chew the cud if I weren’t clever enough to carry veg snacks in my trouser pockets such as raw carrots and fresh mini-tomatoes.”
What he said:
“Well, i am eating the same breakfast as Virat Kohli. I think it is all about being consistent and about keeping my mind fresh.”
David Warner is quite competitive with his text messaged war of words with Virat Kohli mirroring their battle for the Orange Cap in the Vivo IPL.
“It was a vice versa about the orange cap for being the highest run-getter. He texted me the other day, saying he’s coming for the orange cap – and my reply was, i am going to come back and get it off you.”
Warner also elaborated on abstaining from alcohol:
“Look, it’s been almost a year now since i stopped drinking alcohol. I will complete a year on May 20. My wife was pregnant at that time and i thought, why not go the whole nine months without drinking too. It was just to give myself a goal, something to achieve away from cricket. I have been fortunate enough to do that so far.
Once i get to the one-year mark, i will see what to do. I might keep not drinking or i might drink, who knows.
But it’s not about drinking. It is about giving myself the best opportunity to recover and to play cricket.
I have two daughters and a fantastic wife and they provide me all the support i need to achieve goals with. There is a life after cricket as well. Cricket is not the be-all and end-all and it is about setting myself up for after cricket.
Having stability off the field is always fantastic.”
What he really meant:
“A hearty breakfast for a healthy body makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise and a contender for the Orange Cap. I’m certainly not eating text messages for breakfast.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Kellogg’s—Breakfast of Champions.”
Sports is entertainment.
Music is entertainment.
And always the twain shall meet.
Right from songs performed at opening and closing ceremonies to stadium songs, music and sports co-exist to create harmony and melody.
Even Sachin Tendulkar was never without his headphones when not on the playing field or in the nets.
And let’s never forget the national anthems.
IPL 2016 has begun. Theme songs for the eight sides occupy prime time on television as a precursor and sideshow to the bawdy spectacle.
The following are the anthems of the eight teams in this year’s edition of the Indian Premier League:
Does using an on-field microphone to interact and engage with the telecasters make you a chatterbox?
Virat Kohli certainly thought so when he gave Steven Smith a fiery send-off in the first T20 against Australia.
The Test skipper—relieved of captaincy duties—was back to being the animated fury on the ground he usually is.
The Delhi cricketer is all aggro as a player and mouths expletives at the drop of a hat.
Kohli saw red when his opposing Test counterpart lost his wicket cheaply while commentating live for Channel 9.
Australian viewers were not amused with the manner of Smith’s dismissal blaming the broadcasters for disturbing his concentration.
They took in hordes to Twitter to deplore the broadcaster’s unwelcome intrusion.
What’s really going on?
Do fans really need insights from batters about what’s happening on the field?
This kind of circus is part and parcel of the Big Bash League and the Indian Premier League.
The purported purpose is to make the the viewers and the expert commentators feel part of the action.
It would be better if mic’ing up players was restricted to fielders and umpires. Bowlers and batters need to be able to focus and concentrate on how they’re to be delivering or playing the next ball. Fielding is a much more instinctive chore consisting of reacting to on-field events as they occur. Similarly, umpiring.
Batters and bowlers, however, need to plan and pace their innings and overs.
But what was the actual reason for Kohli’s acrid mouthing off and signing?
Could it be that the Indian was not pleased that Smith was shielded from the banter fielders engage in when rival batters are at the crease?
Kohli has mentioned that he sees nothing wrong with sledging the opposition.
His young Indian side is not known to hold back unlike previous Indian sides.
“The opposition has every right to sledge as long as it doesn’t not cross the line and you have every right to reply as long as it is doesn’t cross the line. There have been lot of smart comments of late and mine turned out to be a perfectly timed one.
I did not intend to do that. I just said what came to mind. It was actually not far from the truth. That banter is enjoyable but at the same time, you need to focus on the game.”
Sledgers wouldn’t enjoy their choicest jibes drowned out by commentary from the press box. Why would they? Additionally , they would have to be careful around the boffin with the microphone lest their tomfoolery be caught by the sensitive microphones.
Not much fun for the fielders. The boot would be on the other foot with them forced to be silent around a jabbering Steve Smith.
Can you see the irony in the situation?
And assuming that what the fielders said did carry to Steve Smith, how would he be able to focus with three or more sets of sounds in his eardrums?
Fielders’ banter, experts’ questions, noise from the crowd and finally the sound of his own voice.
That sounds like a lot to take in—even for a man who has scored a mountain of runs in every format over the past two years.
Kohli was the man who had a hand (and mouth) in Smith’s dismissal. Steven Smith was out for 21 off 14 balls caught by Kohli bowled Ravindra Jadeja.
Smith immediately shut up giving no further feedback to the Wide World of Sports commentary team.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni had earlier criticised Spider Cam and intrusion from TV gimmicks.
Spider Cam obstructed Virat Kohli’s first scoring shot in the final ODI preventing a sure boundary. The ball was declared dead.
The operators of this novelty are known to thrust the lens right under the face of departing batsmen hoping to capture their visible disappointment for television viewers. Aussie players are accustomed to such paparazzi-like behaviour from cameramen but Indian players are disturbed and irate.
“I am quite a traditional guy. I have always felt that… anything that disturbs the game of cricket I don’t like it. It all started right from the T20 where people would be like, ‘Why don’t you wear a mic?’, ‘Why don’t you wear a camera?’
I have always felt there is a need for balance. At the end of the day it is a spectator sport, people watching on television, but at the same time four runs can matter, especially when it is a close game. Those four runs can be crucial. Everyone gets penalised, why not have the same system for the spidercam? Say, ‘Okay if you get hit, 2000 dollars per hit.’ Let’s make it interesting.
People [broadcasters] are striving for more. When you have got out and walking off, the cameraman goes right under your face. The same way the spidercam is right next to you. You have seen players, they are like, ‘What is happening?’ It makes a lot of noise. At the end of the day it is also about the spectators. If spectators are not there, cricket won’t be played. It is a mix and match; 2000 dollars per hit is a good option.”
Steve Smith called the Spider Cam “his best fielder.”
Smith was unrepentant about his mode of dismissal in the first T20 denying that his on-field commenting had anything to do with his early exit.
“It [the commentary] was on at the time, but for me it was just a bad shot.
I tried to chip one over the top for two rather than trying to hit him for four or six.
It was my fault and I got to do better next time.”
Of Kohli’s send-off, he added:
“He gets pretty emotional out there, doesn’t he?
I don’t think you need to do that kind of thing when someone gets out.
It’s fine to have a little bit of banter when you’re out in the field, but when someone’s out I don’t really think that’s on.”
Virat Kohli finally disclosed the reason for his heated reaction at Steve Smith’s dismissal.
It had nothing to do with Smith’s on-field commentating but his verbal targeting of young Indian pacers after hitting a boundary.
Kohli felt it added to the pressure on them and was simply not on. He felt that he had to step in and make his displeasure known.
Hence, the expressive ‘farewell‘.
The Lodha Commission describes the IPL as the BCCI’s ‘cash cow’ and calls it a ‘premier league’ for the very same reasons.
The existing IPL Governing Council consists of twelve members but has no representation from the franchisees; neither does it have any independent members.
The Lodha Panel recommends a committee of nine members “comprising of three ex-officio members (the Secretary, the Treasurer and the CEO of BCCI), two representatives of the members of BCCI to be elected by the General Body, two nominees of the Franchisees, one nominee being the C&AG’s Councillor on the Apex Council and one being a nominee of the Players’ Association. “
Thus four members are independent. Only a General Body elected member can be chairperson. Members from the IPL teams are to be rotated annually and every franchisee has to have a turn on the council.
A panel presided by the Ombudsman and consisting additionally of the Ethics Officer and the CEO will appoint any other Committees/Commissions under IPL regulations.
The Lodha Commission also remarks on how some players who are modest cricketers are paid highly in the IPL while more accomplished cricketers who “don India colours and bring laurels to the nation are remunerated less”.
It adds that the path trodden by Indian cricketers is not in Team India’s best interests pointing out how many international cricketers from other nations have opted out to preserve themselves for national duty.
The Commission also recommends a gap of 15 days between the IPL season and the national cricketing calendar.
The Lodha Commission recommends formation of a Player’s Association and a strict set of rules and regulations to govern Players’ Agents.
Almost all Test-playing nations excepting India have cricketers’ associations.
England and Australia have agents’ accreditation schemes.
The national boards and players’ associations administer these systems.
An independent Players’ Association is to be comprised only of retired cricketers.This association will nominate members to the Governing Body and Apex Council.
The BCCI shall fund the association.
The Lodha Commission specifically recommends formation of a Steering Committee of four members who are explicitly named as the following:
The Steering Committee will “identify and invite all eligible Ex-Cricketers to be members of the Association, to open bank accounts, receive funds from the BCCI, conduct the first elections for office bearers, communicate the names of BCCI player nominees to the Board and take all necessary steps in this regard. “
The players’ association is to be called the Cricket Players Association (CPA).
“Membership of the CPA shall comprise:
The Executive Committee will consist of a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and two Members—at least one a woman; the term of office is two years and members can hold office for a maximum of two terms only.
The Lodha Commission expressed grave concerns about the backgrounds of player agents.
It is up to the player agents to apprise their clients on applicable principles and ethics governing the BCCI, the IPL and the game.
Player agents are also to protect their clients from “any suspicious contact or questionable overtures”.
No person other than a player representing himself/herself or his agent can conduct individual contract negotiations.
The BCCI shall form a committee to regulate registration of Player Agents. It shall consist of 5 members, of which 2 shall be nominees of the Players’ Association and 3 (including the Chairperson) shall be nominees of the BCCI. The registration committee will have the power to discipline Player Agents who violate its notified norms.
A Player Agent has to be a natural person; the Committee cannot certify any company, partnership, corporation, or other artificial legal entity.
An applicant cannot be less than 25 years in age.
The applicant must secure a clearance certificate issued by the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
He should not have a criminal record.
The Committee will be authorised by the agent to conduct a background check.
The maximum agent fee is limited to 2% of the total revenue earned by a player.
The formation of the CPA will assist cricketers with their grievances. The existing Indian Professional Cricketers’ Association (IPCA) has never been recognised by the BCCI. Membership in the ICPA is open to all present and past first-class cricketers. The IPCA was formed in September 2002 in response to strictures imposed by the ICC concerning ambush marketing that would have affected Indian cricketers’ commercial interests. A similar cricketers’ association was formed in the seventies with Sunil Gavaskar, Bishan Singh Bedi and S Venkatraghavan prominent office bearers. The The ICPA’s long-term plans include involving players in raising funds for charities, floating a pension fund and an insurance scheme for players and the widows of cricketers and organising benefit matches for them. Arun Lal was the founder-secretary of the IPCA. Kapil Dev was another who formed an Association of Indian Cricketers in 1989. None of these bodies were ever recognised by the BCCI.
The regulation of Player Agents will help in curbing practices such as match-fixing and spot-fixing. It will also add an additional layer of professionalization to the existing cricketing set-up. Young cricketers need to be guided when it comes to choosing sponsorship deals and signing contracts with IPL teams. Experienced cricketers, too, will benefit.
Once upon a time, Ashish Diwansingh Nehra, was the pick of the Indian pace bowlers even ahead of Zaheer Khan.
But he was plagued by injuries and inconsistency throughout his career.
Some would even term him India’s Bruce Reid.
Reid turned out in Australian colours in a total of 27 Tests bagging 113 wickets at an impressive average of 24.63.
Nehra played 17 Tests for India bagging 44 wickets at 42.40.
One would have imagined that you had seen the last of the lanky Delhi left-armer since he was left out of the Indian side post the 2011 World Cup victory.
But, no, the fast bowler is back in the selector’s scheme of things selected for the T20 side for the ongoing tour of Australia.
Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag may have called it a day.
But the comeback man soldiers on.
Nehra performed exceedingly well in IPL 8 securing 22 wickets in 16 games at an average of 20 with an economy rate of 7.2.
“I was surprised when they weren’t picking me for the last two-three years to be honest. Better late than never, hopefully I can do well, I am just working hard. If I go to Australia and play the World T20 and deliver, people will say ‘Oh he should have been there earlier.’ If I don’t, people will say, ‘It was right that they didn’t pick him!’ That’s how it works in India. Whatever is gone is gone, I am just looking forward and hopefully everything will go my way.
I have always worked hard to play international cricket. Once you have been there, you know how much pleasure you get playing for India. There were times when it was very difficult for me to motivate myself, despite not being picked, to go to the gym or ground and train. It was difficult. Age is just a number for me. If you can keep yourself fit, you can keep playing.”
Perhaps, it’s the on-off nature of his career that has ensured his longevity. And the fact that he opted out from playing Test cricket a long time ago to preserve his body.
“Some people really want match practice, I am among those who wants a lot of practice. Most of the time I like to practice in open nets, so I get the same kind of feeling. If I am bowling well in the nets or to a single wicket, I get that confidence, that’s how I have been playing for the last seven-eight years, this is not the first time I will be doing it.
People say T20 is a young man’s game, all those theories I don’t believe in. You have to be on top of your game, especially as a bowler and the kind of job I do, bowling two-three of the first six overs and one or two in the last four. In the sub-continent or outside also these days, wickets will be flat. You have to be physically fit and mentally strong, especially as a bowler. It’s a fast game but I have been playing IPL, and that’s a big boost. The intensity is as good as international cricket.”
Nehra hopes to be a mentor to the younger crop of bowlers, a role performed earlier by his partner-in-arms Zaheer Khan to perfection.
Maybe the selectors felt the need for his wise head in the camp given that Ishant Sharma has yet to fully deliver on his promise since his debut in 2008.
“This is a short tour, but whatever little I can help the youngsters, I will. If I can play till the World T20, I will definitely look at that job, I have done it for CSK and I really enjoyed it. Most of the bowlers have different strengths, but you can’t buy experience.
I made my debut 17 years ago. In the sub-continent, somebody like me, who has had so many injuries, undergone 10-12 surgeries, still standing there and playing the fastest format of all, it has taught me something which I can pass on to the youngsters and give my experience.”
Does Nehra regret giving up Test cricket?
“My biggest regret is that I couldn’t play too many Tests because of my injuries. I played my last Test match some 11 years back. I was 25. In 2009-10, Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni asked me to play Test cricket but that point of my time I was not sure about my body. I look back now and I regret it. I should have said ‘yes’ because couple of years ago, when I was 34, I played six four-day games for Delhi in six weeks. I could have easily done it in 2009, I was than just 30.”
Harbhajan Singh , the Turbanator, another ageing player returning once again to the Indian side, supported Nehra.
“Ashish Nehra has been a match-winner for India…..Just check the scorebooks as to how many matches Nehra has won for the . He played a big part during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa and he was our unsung hero in the 2011 World Cup campaign.”
There’s a twist in this tale.
Nehra is considered good enough to represent Team India and his IPL side Chennai Super Kings (under suspension) but not for his state side Delhi.
The classy bowler was omitted from Delhi’s squad for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament’s Super League stage.
A Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) official said:
“Nehra’s got a bad habit of picking and choosing domestic games, which disturbs the balance of the team. It’s not good for the youngsters in the team either, and certainly not fair on the selectors, who were upset with him after he played just two games in Baroda before leaving the team. And this has happened many times in the last few years. In recent years, no one had a clue about when he would play and when he wouldn’t. This time, though, the selectors seemed to have put their foot down and said this can’t go on. Hence, he was excluded from the team. They feel that while he can play for India and the Chennai Super Kings, he can’t play for Delhi as long as he doesn’t show enough commitment for his domestic team, which in the first place helped him become an India player.”
Nehra will thus be undercooked for the Indian tour of Australia.
He has played just three games this season.
Former Indian wicketkeeper Vijay Dahiya was non-committal.
“You’ll have to ask the selectors (about Nehra). He didn’t play after two games in Baroda because we wanted to give a chance to the youngsters. He’s bowling every day at the nets in Delhi.”
Ex-India pacer Sanjeev Sharma, though, backed Nehra.
“He played 70 percent of the games when I was the Delhi coach. His commitment to the game, even at 37, is 100 percent. I saw him roll over Punjab with a deadly six-wicket spell at the Roshanara. He will strengthen the Indian pace attack with his experience. In the IPL, he was the second-most successful bowler this time.”
The BCCI can be creative.
They’re also very intent on playing it safe.
For some reason, they do not intend to let Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) suffer when they return from their suspension in 2018.
The country’s premier cricketing body have decided to float two fresh teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but only for two years.
The new franchises will not find it easy to be profitable within those two years. It is definitely not a sustainable proposition for them.
Hence the BCCI, in all its wisdom, have decided that ‘Reverse Bidding’ is a distinct possibility that could be offered to its new suitors.
A senior BCCI office-bearer said:
“If there is lack of interest in conventional bidding because of this two-year span, there is a possibility of reverse bidding that can happen where in an investor, who bids the lowest amount will be owner of a team. For example, if BCCI plans to pump in Rs. 70 crore, it might be the potential investor can buy bidding at Rs. 50 crore, Rs. 40 crore or Rs. 30 crore depending on the lowest.”
Players from the suspended franchises would be made available in the auction pool.
The BCCI is keeping its cards close to its chest.
When queried whether there would be a 10-team league from 2018, the official replied:
“Look, our contracts with all the sponsors and the official broadcasters ends after the 2017 edition. Post that, we will start with a clean slate and all players would go back to auction.”
Investopedia defines a ‘Reverse Auction’ thus:
“A type of auction in which sellers bid for the prices at which they are willing to sell their goods and services. In a regular auction, a seller puts up an item and buyers place bids until the close of the auction, at which time the item goes to the highest bidder. In a reverse auction, the buyer puts up a request for a required good or service. Sellers then place bids for the amount they are willing to be paid for the good or service, and at the end of the auction the seller with the lowest amount wins.
Reverse auctions gained popularity with the emergence of Internet-based online auction tools. Today, reverse auctions are used by large corporations to purchase raw materials, supplies and services like accounting and customer service.
It is important to note that reverse auction does not work for every good or service. Goods and services that can be provided by only a few sellers cannot be acquired by reverse auction. In other words, reverse auction works only when there are many sellers who offer similar goods and services.”
The BCCI does not believe that its two year revenue model is sufficiently attractive to any prospective parties.
The reverse auction indicates that the BCCI is willing to subsidise some of the costs that will be incurred by the franchises; the auction is an attempt to minimise the BCCI’s losses.
This is not substantially different from one of the suggestions floated earlier that the BCCI manage the suspended franchises for the said period. The difference here is that two new teams will be floated but they will be allowed to choose any other cities not allocated to the other six sides including Chennai and Jaipur.
This is probably a response to the newly drafted conflict of interest rules to be tabled at the AGM.
The interim solution allows CSK and RR to pick up the core of their current set of players when they return to the IPL fold in 2018.
(N Srinivasan, the BCCI gods still shine bright for you.)
A base price will be set for potential buyers of the interim franchises.
K Shriniwas Rao explains:
“If the BCCI, for example, sets the base price of the franchise at Rs 100, bidders will be allowed to quote an amount lesser than Rs 100. The lowest bidder will be given the franchise. BCCI will pay the winning party the bid amount that will partly cover for the franchise’s operational costs heading into the tournament.
The bidder can also quote a figure running into negative. For instance, if the bidder quotes a figure of Rs -10 or Rs -5, he she will have to pay that (negative) amount to BCCI. The board expects potential bidders to like this idea if they have a specific two-year marketing or branding initiative in mind for which they won’t mind spending from their pockets.
The interim franchises will not receive a share of the central revenue pool unlike the other six existing teams but will be eligible for a substantial amount in terms of prize money (for players) and additional performance-based incentives from the central revenue pool if they make it to the top-four in the tournament.
In turn, these interim franchises can earn from local revenue pools – gate money, sponsorships, merchandising and hospitality management – to further cover their operational costs. The 50-odd players from CSK and RR, who’ll be up for sale at the auction, will first be part of a draft for the new franchises to retain. The number of players that could be allowed for retention through draft hasn’t been finalised yet. After the draft, once all franchises are on a level playing field, an auction will take place for the remaining players.”
As highlighted above, negative bidding is a possibility but unlikely. IPL teams have struggled to be in the black right from the start until now and it’s improbable that any franchise can turn a profit in just under two years.
Reverse auctions have been used in India before notably while awarding Coal India’s captive coal blocks to power producers.
These type of auctions are also preferred by corporate purchasing managers using them to procure paper clips to employee health care plans.
Procurement professionals love them; suppliers hate them.
Max Chafkin writes:
“Despite the fact that bids are generally ranked by price, reverse auctions are not binding for the buyer. Companies will sometimes go with the second- or third-lowest bid based on qualitative factors such as reliability, customer service, and the cost of switching away from an incumbent supplier.”
“If, for instance, you know you’re bidding against a low-margin supplier with a history of quality problems, you may chose to aim for second place because the purchaser is apt to shy away from your opponent. If you’re bidding against a supplier that already has the account, assume that you’ll have to beat the supplier substantially on price to offset the cost to the customer of switching vendors.”
What this implies is that should the BCCI opt for this model, it is not bound to choose the least two costly bids. Other factors such as business plan,revenue model, finances, and reputation in the market would also have to be considered.
The die is set. May the blacker ink win.
Newly elected BCCI President Shashank Manohar hit his straps and struck the right notes at its Working Committee meeting last Sunday.
The decisions that the general public evinced most interest in were the ones pertaining to who would replace Pepsi as the title sponsor, whether the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royal franchises would be terminated or suspended and what would be the particulars of the newly framed conflict of interest rules within the cricketing body.
The Board did not disappoint.
Pepsi are expectedly out.
Surprise, surprise, it’s not Paytm replacing them but Vivo mobiles. That’s pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Fair enough, given that Vivo agreed to the deal at the same price that Pepsi signed on.
Paytm would have been hard-pressed to match that.
The BCCI, after all its fulminations and discussions with the franchises’ owners, submitted to Justice Lodha committee’s dictates suspending the CSK and RR franchises for two years. The show must go on though—with eight teams.
Tenders will be floated and bids invited for two fresh franchises—once more making it a 10 team league in 2018.
It is the proposed conflict of interest rules that have raised a hue and cry within the BCCI and the state associations.
Shashank Manohar has taken a leaf out of his judicial textbook and drafted a stringent set of stipulations for administrators, selectors, commentators and players.
You could swear you heard a collective groan within the cosy cricketing fraternity.
To the highest bidder goes the spoils.
And you can rest assured that ex-cricketers will be scrambling to join the IPL band-wagon where the highest paymasters reside.
The guidelines will be tabled at the Annual General Meeting on Monday, 9th November 2015 at the BCCI Headquarters in Mumbai.
Manohar certainly means business when it comes to cleaning up the IPL mess.
No further comment.
In a recent article on the ISL, I briefly expounded on the J-League and how it has two sections in a season. There are two champions in a year and the league champion is decided by a series of playoffs between the winners of each section and the top two point accumulators in each phase.
This also happens to be a feature of Latin American soccer leagues with the traditional season from August to May divided into two parts termed the ‘Apertura’ [aperˈtuɾa] and ‘Clausura’ [klawˈsuɾa] tournaments. These words are Spanish for ‘opening’ and ‘closing’.
In Haiti, where they speak French, it’s ‘Ouverture’ and ‘Fermeture’. In Belize, where English is the pre-dominant tongue, it’s simply the ‘Opening’ and ‘Closing’ seasons.
The National American Soccer League also adopts a similar regime dividing the second-level league into ‘Spring’ and ‘Fall’ championships.
The terminology varies across different countries.
In Argentina, it’s ‘Inicial’ and ‘Final ‘(Spanish for “initial” and “final“). In Colombia, ‘Apertura’ and ‘Finalización’ and in Costa Rica, ‘Invierno’ and ‘Verano’ (Spanish for ‘winter’ and ‘summer’).
In some countries, these tournaments are national championships by themselves. In others, there is a final stage much like the J-League where the top teams play each other to be crowned the season’s winners. In yet others, the two league winners play each other in a curtain-raiser at the beginning of the next season.
Most tourneys with fewer teams utilize a double round-robin format while in leagues with many more sides participating, only a single round-robin format suffices.
Relegations, if any, are usually on an aggregate basis.
This year, the Champions League Twenty20 was scrapped by the Australian, English and Indian boards jointly.
The reasons given were poor viewership and lack of sponsorship.
Franchises from India, Sri Lanka, West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and England take part. England have not participated since 2013 citing clashes with their domestic season.
Amongst all the T20 leagues taking place today, the Indian Premier League is the richest, most glamorous and most successful by far.
However, the competition is plagued by player withdrawals and injuries as well as viewer fatigue given the sheer number of matches over a period of two months.
This year, the IPL followed the ODI World Cup. It was difficult to attract television sponsors given their budgets had already been exhausted on 2015’s premier cricket tournament.
This is a perennial problem with the IPL when international tournaments are scheduled either before or after it. The BCCI, with its clout, may have cleared the ICC calendar for its showcase tourney but it has no control on the purse-strings of corporate sponsors and where they choose to spend their advertising money.
The splitting of the IPL into two phases can be the solution to these worries.
A shorter tourney would be more attractive to sponsors, cut both player and viewer fatigue and keep interest right from the beginning without having the audience tune in towards the end of the league to clue in as to which teams would finally qualify for the knock-out rounds.
The current format is a double round-robin league featuring home and away games.
Each side plays a total of 14 games. In a single round-robin league, this would be reduced to seven each.
Seven is not an even number. Half the teams would be slightly advantaged, playing one game more at home. This, of course, is offset by them playing one less home-game in the latter phase.
The division into two pieces would allow for a much tighter ship. Interest in the next phase would be retained by the addition of a playoff round deciding the eventual victor.
This would also allow players to make themselves available for at least one phase of the tournament and not have them either arrive or leave abruptly midway through the tournament. The first phase could be scheduled for April and the second in October using the spot vacated by the Champions League.
An addition of four more games as a season closer can always be accommodated. This, of course, may entail expenditure on two more trophies but that is a small price to pay for a much more streamlined event.
The clamour for reform in the IPL ought not to be confined to spot-fixing allegations, conflicts of interest, transparency and probity in ownership.
The tournament itself needs to be examined and vetted to see that it can withstand the wares from mushrooming leagues in other sports that slowly but surely will erode their viewership.
Standing still on a moving treadmill is never a good idea.