The current edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 has been anything but exciting, mind you not because of the lack of star power. IPL, currently in its ninth edition, has failed to live up to it hype and razzmatazz. Since its inception, IPL has captivated minds and hearts of Indian cricket fans and global audience the same way, churning out incredible games and performance much to the entertainment of the fans. This season, just like the 2015 and 2014 editions, are facing flak from fans, who have been dished out Twenty20 Cricket on a platter since the beginning of this year, including multiple international tours, the Asia Cup, finally culminating in the greatest T20 show of all — World T20
Indian fans have gone thought minor heart-burns to suffering a heartbreak in the ICC T20 World Cup 2016, after Indian teams see-sawing performances, from winning emphatically against Pakistan to the final ball drama against Bangladesh and finally the loss to West Indies in the semi- final. Fans had died (literally) in during this period, which is sad, but a harsh truth in a life of an Indian fan much like Shahrukh Khan movie Fan, where the protagonist dies due to his idol worship of the reel life SRK.
Speaking of SRK, IPL had triggered off with Brendon McCullum whirl-winding a ton in the opening match of the tournament way back in 2008 for Kolkata Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Since then we have seen blistering, pounding and majestic batting by batsmen such as Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni to name a few. International players like Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Sunil Narine and others have only made their already great careers as legendary status. Sadly, for IPL, it has always been in contest with ICC Future Tour Programs, due to which players from many Test nations have been dearly missed, causing fans to only view a selective set of players in the IPL so far, thus creating a lot of monotony.
IPL has been controversies favorite child as well from Slap-gate to Spot-fixing to celebrity brawls on field, we have seen it all conspire in his prestigious tournament. Even the 2016 edition has seen the Maharashtra drought issue playing a major role, for Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Super Giants, who have been allotted their home games at Wankhede and Pune International Stadiums respectively, had to move their matches outside Maharashtra due to severe drought in the state. Even this has not generated much of an interest amongst its viewers, but rather has been the butt of the joke for them.
Let us have a look back at scheduling of IPL in the past couple of seasons, which has looked more like a haphazardly constructed event due to World T20 2014 and ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 preluding the main tournament. IPL 2016 is also coming after the exhilarating exhaustion that was T20 World Cup. Fans that generally flock in front of television sets in malls or restaurants or living rooms have somehow gone missing.
IPL is one of the most competitive and talked-about competition worldwide. It needs to understand the psychology of the fans, not overburdening with T20 cricket to an extent that the level of interest goes down drastically. BCCI must try to figure a formula that not only keeps the fans glued to their cash-crunching bonanza IPL. Not only the administration, but the players also must have a say in his decision, for it is them who make the tournament in combination with the fans. After all, their reputation is at stake as well.
With other T20 tournaments popping out every year and month, it is only smart for IPL and BCCI to improve and improvise their already overused strategies, thereby providing fans with much-needed respite.
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