For a cricket crazy nation, there is perhaps nothing that can qualify as ‘too much cricket’. No wonder it's raining cricket, a story best told by the current domestic calendar with seven trophies squashed into a meagre six months.
Good sense prevailed, when the BCCI decided to temporarily dump the Deodhar Trophy owing to lack of time. The right wing then stood up to defend the honour of this prestigious Trophy and it was re-instated. The Deodhar Trophy is currently being rushed through in four days flat, as opposed to its regular two-week long schedule.
The IPL ends on April 25, while the World T20 starts on April 30. This roster may have managed to save a clash between the two events; but it has taken a toll on domestic tournaments, Deodhar Trophy being the worst hit.
With only nine days left between the finals of the Vijay Hazare trophy and the beginning of the IPL, the only way out was to convert the Deodhar into a knock-out.
Previously, all teams got four games each in the Deodhar and this meant that the winner was the team which played well throughout the tournament, and the top performers were the ones who did so consistently.
In the current scenario, three teams get to play only a match each, which is not enough to judge a team or a player. One off day means the end of the tournament. Aren't we devaluing what used to be an important tournament?
The Deodhar Trophy is slated to finish on the 9th of March, while the IPL starts on the 12th. IPL teams in turn will be left with only 2 days to get together and strategise. By no means can this suffice before an event of this huge a gravity.
The think-tank's decisions and strategies will now be influenced by reputations and gut feeling, which is not the right way to progress. There will be very little time to have a proper plan in place, where each player has a clearly defined role. And if one tries to do that, like John Buchanan did last year, it will be thrust upon the players with no room for negotiation or debate. This isn't ideal and affects the quality of cricket played in the IPL.
Are we sacrificing quality for quantity?
The first edition of the Champions League may give us some indication in this regard. Not a single Indian team made an impact and it was New South Wales who won the tournament. While we take a lot of pride in the high quality of cricket played in the IPL, our teams’ debacle at the international stage must not be ignored. After all, our teams fielded as many as 4 overseas cricketers as opposed to none by the overseas teams. So what was the difference? Well, all the other teams were playing together as a team throughout the year. On the contrary, Indian teams got together only a few days prior to the tournament and it showed. Aren't we doing the same again?
We may not realise it because all the teams are equally affected by the lack of preparation but we must learn from our Champions League experience. The need of the hour is to either create a proper window for every domestic tournament or else do away with a couple in order to enhance the quality of the remaining tournaments. It's quality that attracts people to the sport and not the quantity.