5 things to make the IPL more interesting.

5 things to make the IPL more interesting.

6 minutes read

The franchisee model of the Indian Premier League is nothing new to the world. There have been long-running franchisee-based leagues in Basketball, Football and Baseball (something we Indians know as ‘America’s Cricket’). Since these leagues have been going on since around 70 years, over time, they have implemented several ideas that made the leagues more exciting and eye-catching.

As our very own IPL completes 10 years of its life, we too must introspect the existing condition of the league and try to incorporate some new ideas that would only make the IPL more exciting and push it close to the major leagues (pun intended).

5 things to make IPL more interesting

Here are 5 things I think can be incorporated into IPL to make it more challenging and worth watching.

(Disclaimer: These are all ideas here. Don’t kill me if some rules mean that your favourite players can move to different teams or your favourite team faces a disadvantage in winning the IPL.)

  1. Mid-season Transfers
  2. How often have we seen 1 team having an abundance of good players warming the bench while another team struggling to even form a suitable playing XI midway through the tournament? Take for example this year’s edition. Teams with a lack of solid bench strength are easily seen at the bottom of the points table while those on the top of the table have some quality players warming the bench, finding no way to contribute to their respective team’s success on the field. Or, there even are situations in which 2 teams could do away by exchanging players of certain trade that they have in their arsenal. Take for instance KKR and GL; while the former has numerous quality spinners which they could trade with GL for a quality top-order overseas batsman. Before the start of the season, RCB was plagued with injuries to players who could be termed as important cogs of the wheel. In such a scenario, RCB could have benefited from such a rule to at least replace them with players who were not ignored in the auction by all the 8 teams.

  3. Minimum 2 uncapped Indians in the playing XI
  4. It has always pained me to see teams with no uncapped Indian in the playing XI, for no apparent reason. Especially when on the IPL trophy is engraved “Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi“, which means “where talent meets opportunity“. Not having even a single uncapped played in your playing XI kind of moots the whole engraving. Let me throw some numbers at you, pertaining to uncapped players in IPL over the yers – out of 631 matches that at least had a toss, so far, 228 teams have turned up with 0 or 1 uncapped players in their eleven. So, of these 1262 innings, 228 innings have been played by teams with less than 2 uncapped Indians in their playing XI, which comes down to a whopping 36.1%. On the top of it, it looks like Rajasthan Royals is one team that uses an abundance of these uncapped players, while Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders seem to do away with 1 or no uncapped players altogether. A rule which mandates the teams to have at least 2 uncapped Indians in the playing XI would be ideal to ensure that while the teams look to strengthen their playing XI by experienced players, they also give opportunities to youngsters and fresher’s. If such a regulation is not brought up soon, teams, in a quest to win, would forget the very purpose of IPL. Like a company refraining from hiring freshers; someday experience is going to leave, isn’t it!

  5. Fresh Auction pool with no retaining or RTM
  6. Virat Kohli, Harbhajan Singh, Shaun Marsh, Lasith Malinga, Sunil Narine, Manan Vohra, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu. This is an elite list of players, for these are players that have only played for 1 IPL team ever. Wouldn’t we like to see some of these players in different jerseys! After all, wasn’t watching Suresh Raina against M S Dhoni in 2016 and 2017 one of the many pleasures we derived from IPL! While the news has been going on for quite a while now that the auction for the 11th season of IPL is going to be a fresh auction with no retaining, it would be exciting to see it made official. If this is done, believe me, the auction will be more watched than the matches themselves. No one will know if Dhoni dons the yellow jersey again or for what price Virat Kohli is sold. Rest assured, the costliest buys ever will be seen in this auction.

  7. Playoff Series
  8. IPL follows the double round-robin format, where every team plays the other team twice, once at home and once away. For 8 teams in the tournament, this amounts to 56 league matches and the following 4 playoff matches which decide the ultimate winner, runner-up, 3rd and 4th place of IPL. However, these 4 matches are done and dusted in a flash, not relatively, but literally too. If IPL were to follow the NBA format, in which playoff matches are played in a best-of-7 series, it would give more dimension to the Playoffs in IPL. A best-of-3 playoff series in IPL would be enough to ensure that the more deserving and consistent team goes forward, rather than a team having a single good day at office. In essence, the playoffs would have a maximum of 12 matches and a minimum of 8 matches, which will prolong the meaningful part of the IPL.

  9. Value for points in MVP
  10. The Most Valuable Player in the IPL is determined by assigning points to a player based on the number of boundaries he has scored, number of wickets taken, number of catches taken, number of run-outs affected, number of stumpings affected and number of dot balls bowled. In a way, the method of counting benefits an All-Rounder and that is why we often see All-Rounders topping the charts. However, there have been instances where a pure batsman won this award, for instance, Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle. However, IPL can easily arrest this imbalance by assigning points based on the value of the metric. For e.g., 10 boundaries on a flat track with small boundaries has a lot less meaning that 5 boundaries on a slow turner. Similarly, 4 wickets of tail-enders has a lot less impact than 2 wickets of top-order batsman. In comparison, a run-out with 3 stumps to aim at is a lot easier than to effect a run-out with only a single stump to aim at. Maybe, the time taken to affect a stumping should also be considered in assigning MVP points. Ditto for the difficulty of the catch; a regulation slip catch shouldn’t be given as much MVP points as much as a tough catch should be given. This would help in identifying a MVP who did the hard yards rather than coming up with a MVP who just happened to score runs on a flat deck or take regulation catches.

Out of these 5 things I have mentioned, even if any 2 of them are employed, I would consider my job done. It is better to act now than to act when the IPL has reached a saturation point.

Comment if you have some ideas of your own. Share the article so that it reaches the BCCI.

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