For cricket and football buffs, it was interesting to have the Indian Premier League and the Champions League finals on the same night. The idea of the club cricket tournament after all is based a lot on the football club competition in Europe.
It was interesting to note that the Champions League remains a global spectacle despite the focus being purely on the game.
The IPL, too, after briefly flirting with glamour, has this year tried to keep the focus on the game. The current regime is convinced the sport’s appeal in the subcontinent is strong enough to attract sponsors and supporters.
But it was not exactly the success the Indian board president Shashank Manohar and his team expected it to be. The TRPs were not good and the stadiums did not fill for many games. But what is good for one sport should work for others too.
Overkill of cricket, with IPL starting a few days after the World Cup, was one of the reasons which affected the crowd interest, but the organisers erred in not providing the best conditions for the players to put their entertainment shoes on.
Even accepting that the wickets were slow because of the hot conditions and it being the end of the season, the playing surfaces were still poor. The wickets for the qualifiers at the Wankhede Stadium proved that. It was no fluke that the best chase of the tournament came in the qualifiers, when Chennai Super Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore.
People come to Twenty20 cricket to see ‘boom-boom’ batting and not to see batsmen struggle against the slow bowlers. Ironically, the earlier matches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, the home association of the BCCI president-elect, were a poor advertisement for the game as the struggle on the sluggish surface put off viewers. The wickets at Jaipur and for the league stage matches at the Wankhede Stadium were also not conducive for strokeplay.
One of franchises blamed the BCCI’s pitch committee. “The pitch committee should have monitored the wickets; some of the home teams were purposely preparing wickets to suit their game. It adversely affected the tournament. People come to see entertaining cricket, good all-round show.”