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Twenty20 World Cup unlikely to match hype of IPL

cricket Updated: Jun 01, 2009 01:45 IST

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Even as people speculate about how players, tired after a gruelling IPL, will stand up to the demands of the T20 World Cup, a larger point is being missed. Much more interesting than what happens to individual performers, is the debate about the impact of the two tournaments.

There is no denying that the World Cup is a major event which features the best talent. But it also has sub-standard teams and mediocre players who drag down quality. Ireland versus Bangladesh might be attractive for the ICC but for a fan it is enough reason to reach for the TV remote and switch channels.

The reason for the IPL's stunning success is that it produces top quality cricket, and is intensely competitive. The Kolkata Knight Riders may not have finished at the top but, on any given day, are capable of defeating the other seven sides and are stronger than half a dozen teams in the World Cup.

The World Cup is unlikely to match the hype and buzz of the IPL. While Indian fans will turn out to support M.S. Dhoni's team and have a party by screaming their collective heads off each time Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina smash the ball, the rest of the games could be comparatively lifeless.

Like it or not, the IPL is now the benchmark - the eight franchise teams have huge support and fans expect good cricket from them. Cricket and entertainment, natural allies in this business, have forged a relationship which sets the tone, and anything that does not match up runs the risk of rejection and failure.

In this contemporary world of furious action and instant success, cricket fortunes change in a moment and players realise success can be very transient.

Last season, the IPL made Manpreet Gony, Dhawal Kulkarni and Swapnil Asnodkar stars but they are off the radar now. This time, Manish Pandey came through.

Twenty20 allows veterans to make a mark but it is no fluke that Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Anil Kumble left a huge imprint on the tournament. Ravi Shastri had an interesting observation on the roles of different players.

“It is not by chance,” he said, “that some guys dominate. The successful players are self-driven, for them it is a matter of pride and professionalism. They are not there for money or to make up the numbers, it is for presence.”

In a World Cup, players will put their best foot forward because there is pride and prestige at stake.

But the intriguing question is: without passion, specially for non-India games and the cutting edge of serious money, will the event keep us interested as much as the IPL?