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Scheduling woes make it an unequal league

When the Pune Warriors took on the Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday, they were facing the same opposition in successive games for the second time in three weeks. Amol Karhadkar reports.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2012 02:21 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Delhi-Daredevils-bowler-Irfan-Pathan-R-celebrates-the-wicket-of-Pune-Warriors-India-batsman-Jesse-Ryder-L-during-the-IPL-Twenty20-cricket-match-in-Pune-AFP-Photo-Punit-Paranjpe
Delhi-Daredevils-bowler-Irfan-Pathan-R-celebrates-the-wicket-of-Pune-Warriors-India-batsman-Jesse-Ryder-L-during-the-IPL-Twenty20-cricket-match-in-Pune-AFP-Photo-Punit-Paranjpe

When the Pune Warriors took on the Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday, they were facing the same opposition in successive games for the second time in three weeks.

The same teams playing each other in back-to-back games isn’t a one-off case in IPL V. While Pune took on the Kings XI Punjab twice in three days, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI locked horns in back-to-back games.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/4/25_04_pg19d.jpg

Ridiculous schedule

In a tournament, which is played on a round robin league format — where every team plays the other on a home-and-away basis, it is ridiculous for a team to face the same opposition twice in the first half. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/4/25_04_pg19c.jpg

By the time Pune reach their halfway stage, they are done with facing three teams. This effectively means that they wouldn’t have met three teams at all till the halfway mark of the league stage.

This has been the case with most teams (see box). Barring the Mumbai Indians, no team has faced different opponents in each of their matches so far.

No doubt, with 72 league games squeezed into 47 days, the organisers had their task cut out. But many players feel the scheduling could have been better and that the IPL should follow the European football leagues, where barring exceptional circumstances, every team plays the other once each in every half of a tournament.

“In an ideal world, that’s the way you would want it to be — everyone playing everyone once at the halfway stage,” said Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist.

“But let’s not get into the scheduling bit. It’s way too difficult to slot so many games in so little time.”

The organisers, however, cite the nine-team format to be the reason for the glitch. “Had it been an eight or 10-team affair, what’s happening this year could have been avoided. But as of now, we have to live with it,” said an IPL insider.

Doesn’t matter

However, there is also a section of players which believes that such weird scheduling does not matter. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/4/25_04_pg19e.jpg

“We have to play them at some point during the course of the tournament, so it doesn’t matter whether we play them now or later,” said Robin Uthappa, Pune Warriors’ leading run-scorer.

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