IPL remains the gold standard for T20 leagues | Opinion
Big ticket events strengthen local cricket by giving domestic talent an opportunity and also start a chain of non-cricket activities that gives economy a boost and the image of the country is enhanced.cricket Updated: Jun 22, 2017 09:12 IST
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is huddled in London this week for its annual chintan to take stock. In the backdrop of a successful Champions Trophy, it will address key issues and challenges, notably the urgent need to protect Test cricket. For Tests to remain relevant, the ICC is looking at four-day matches, night games and a world Test championship to give bilateral contests more context.
The ICC will surely consider the growing threat Tests face from T20 leagues popping up.
At the launch of South Africa’s T20 tournament (in London) many spoke about the potential benefits of cricket’s newest league.
Big ticket events, they said, strengthen local cricket by giving domestic talent an opportunity and also start a chain of non-cricket activities that gives economy a boost and the image of the country is enhanced.
But are these assumptions valid ? The cricket benefits of a competitive domestic league are for all to see. For South Africa (SA), starting the new league is a no-brainer. As all cricket-playing countries (even Bangladesh and West Indies) have it, SA couldn’t be left behind. Also the league is expected to provide much needed financial security to domestic players who otherwise are tempted to migrate to England using the Kolpak route.
Now, with lucrative contracts on offer, the talent drain will be reversed as international T20 mercenaries/ambassadors ( the likes of Kieron Pollard and Kevin Pietersen) show up . Not surprisingly, the eight franchise owners (all with an India/Asia background) were ‘excited ‘ about the opportunity of being part of cricket in SA. Interestingly, all repeated the standard augments.
These sentiments are repeated for every major sporting event. Countries and big cities use events to build their brand and justify investment. In most cases, sporting events fail miserably to achieve these objectives. Rio is the latest example of this convenient myth of rapid economic regeneration.
All that a major event does is drive incremental business to the airline, entertainment and hospitality industry.
Actually, it was the players (both international icons and South African marquee stars) who touched upon the practical and real benefits of the league.
AB de Villiers said the league was important for developing young talent. Faf du Plessis was clear the presence of top players will reduce the gap between domestic and international cricket in SA. Du Plessis, inadvertently, paid a massive compliment to the Indian Premier League (IPL).Good performances in the SA Global League would get youngsters noticed, he said, and help them land IPL contracts!
This is proof that despite ten years of a bumpy ride, the IPL remains the benchmark and the gold standard -- irrespective of competing leagues sprouting everywhere in the cricket world.
Note: Amrit Mathur is a senior cricket writer and has been involved with IPL in official capacity
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author