The Indian Premier League (IPL), was suspended last week as the BCCI took the call to call it off as India grappled through the second and the more severe wave of Covid-19.
Into its fourteenth season in 2021, the cash-rich league follows the popular American model of city-based franchises. Whenever there’s a round-table about IPL, one tends to debate on crazy money being spent; money that many failed to make sense of; money that some felt was deserved and money that inspires many rags to riches stories too. But look beyond that money… look beyond the IPL and what do you see?
Beyond the entertainment quotient it provides and the money-spinner that it is, the IPL plays a role to streamline Indian cricket’s vast talent pool, a role first-class cricket has played for more than 70 years. So is there a conflict of interest? Do the riches of IPL somewhere overshadow the hard grinds of the Ranji Trophy or the knack of finding a gem from Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy?
For its credit, the Ranji Trophy=the backbone of the Indian domestic circuit draws on a much more complex historical, cultural, and geographic genealogy.
Ranji Trophy: Significance for Indian cricket
Since the inception of the IPL, Ranji Trophy has been slowly but surely losing its significance and sheen. Except for the odd player here and there, most of the Indian squad nowadays is selected on the basis of a player’s IPL performance.
While the IPL comes with big fanfare and star cast, the Ranji Trophy has become an old man in the house. Everyone respects it but no one cares enough to look after its future. As major international cricketers prefer to stay out of the Ranji Trophy, fans also don’t have too many incentives to come to the ground on a hot day to watch domestic cricketers locking horns.
Regardless of the fact that IPL is treated by most as an international platform, performances in the Ranji Trophy should at least reward a player with a spot in the Indian Test squad.
If one has to be a bit observant, players like Yuzvendra Chahal, Sanju Samson, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, and Shardul Thakur all were awarded the national cap. But barring an exception of Shubman Gill, none of the Ranji stars are given a chance in the national squad let alone a national cap.
It is an irony that the man who scored most runs in the 2019-20 Ranji season was Rahul Dalal and most of us haven’t even heard of him, while we’d be familiar with all and sundry from all the IPL franchises, however second string that player is.
IPL and Ranji Trophy: BCCI decides
While no one is denying the IPL is great for Indian cricket as it provides a financial impetus, the BCCI should also make sure Indian domestic cricket thrives, as it is the de facto talent pool, which gives Indian cricket the vibrant
Contrasting to the policies of foreign boards, the BCCI seems to have too many inconsistencies in their selection decision. Sometimes, they look at IPL performances, sometimes they don’t. For a long period of time, the BCCI has maintained that the revenues gained from IPL will be streamlined for domestic cricket and women’s cricket in specific.
Apart from an impressive state-of-art infrastructure in the form of stadia, training facilities, and coaching circuit, little money has dripped down in the domestic circuit.
Contrasting to the policies of foreign boards, the BCCI seems to have too many inconsistencies in their selection decision. Sometimes, they look at IPL performances, sometimes they don’t.
For a long period of time, the BCCI has maintained that the revenues gained from IPL will be streamlined for domestic cricket and women’s cricket in specific. Apart from an impressive state-of-art infrastructure in the form of stadia, training facilities, and coaching circuit, little money has dripped down in the domestic circuit.
The stakeholders have their tasks cut out. It is never too late. The tournament which had folklore surrounding it can be organized and managed in a much better way before it bites the dust.
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