Drowned in controversy, because of the focus on crores instead of cricket, it is easy to forget that the IPL is a great product, good for cricket and cricketers. Nothing demonstrates this better than the swift and sudden rise of Umesh Yadav — a raw fast bowler fast-tracked from obscurity to prominence.
Without the IPL, this astonishing promotion would not have been possible. Playing for the Daredevils, Umesh regularly hit 140km even at the Kotla, a track that kills speed. His pace caught the attention of the selectors .
This ability to throw up new stars is one of IPL’s great strength. The tournament was conceptualised to create wealth but also on the agenda was the noble objective of developing Indian talent. Manpreet Gony, Abhishek Nayar, Ashok Dinda grabbed this opportunity in previous IPLs; this year Umesh Yadav, Sourav Tiwary and Rayudu have jumped the queue to get ahead of their competitors who are in the slow-moving Ranji route.
For these players, the IPL is a fantastic coaching institute. The IPL puts you on the centre-stage of cricket, and the rewards too are extremely generous — just check what Shikhar Dhawan or Manoj Tewary take home.
Not just players, cricket itself is richer in a broad sense because of the IPL. Before this, money came in only from a title sponsor. Now, with eight franchisees in the business, there is a huge commercial surge.
The IPL has inspired organisations such as the Indian Olympic Association to become financially independent in order to resist the Sports Ministry’s attempts to strike at their autonomy. Emboldened by cricket’s we-don’t-need-you position, sports bodies are now considering taking the extreme brave step of rejecting the government’s financial assistance.