There was quite the lively debate on Twitter last night after I put up my post about the IPL, and it inspired one subject that is worthy of further discussion:
Is the IPL an international tournament, or a domestic tournament?
And if it is a domestic tournament, why does it receive the kind of negative attention that it does, while other domestic T20 tournaments, the FLt20 and the BBL for instance, do not?
My opinion is that it is an international tournament.
It is international because of its worldwide appeal; an appeal which exists, for the most part, thanks to the players it attracts – these are not just your run of the mill cricketing mercenaries, in other words, these are the best players in the world, and therefore the whole world is going to tune in to watch, despite the fact that the teams are, for the most part, Indian.
And just speaking anecdotally, as Twitter user Jamie Harrison put it, the FLt20 feels like county cricket, and I agree. I will also add that the IPL feels like the World Cup, the BBL, as one example, does not.
And because it is an international tournament, not a domestic one, it leaves itself open to the kind of abuse and hand wringing and posts like mine last night that all big international tournaments receive.
The Champions Trophy
The 2007 World Cup
I have been watching the replay of the opening IPL match in the background tonight as I wrote this post and did some other work, and here a couple quickfire thoughts:
1. The cricket itself has this sloppy feel to it that, in a lot of ways, I like sometimes. Test cricket can feel very rigid occasionally, the IPL has a bit of swagger.
2. Great atmosphere in the ground.
3. Brett Lee’s ball to get Unmukt Chand was something very, very special.
4. Hoping things get better for Chand. I have had my eye on him since the U19s last year. Part of me feels that the IPL is going to hurt his young career, not help it, despite the exposure.
5. Love watching Sunil Narine bowl. Barely 24 years old. Bright future ahead of him.
6. A lot of cricket fans outside of India lament the pop music and the theatrics and the dancers and the light shows that the IPL employs. What a lot of cricket fans do not realize however is that these are not conventions merely of the IPL, these are American sporting conventions, as well. Every professional American sport, all four of the big ones anyway, play pop music between every break in play, and often times during play itself. There are light shows and mascots and dance troupes – even during the most important games. Attending a game in America is more about the overall experience and less about the actual match.
Therefore, in that respect, the IPL feels very, well, American.
All of the above said, I am still counting the days until Test cricket is back.