IPL: It’s More Than Just Cricket

The Indian Premier League, an event no less than a festival in our country, has just grown in stature and significance as the years have passed. It all started with the Kiwi batsman Brendon McCullum, who played for the Kolkata Knight Riders back then, scoring a stunning 158 runs versus the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match of IPL, all the way back in 2008, thus becoming the first ever batsman in the history of IPL to score a century. Back then, to score a century in the 20-over format was something many could only dream of achieving, with Chris Gayle being the only one to have done so in 2007. But in the 2008 edition of the IPL itself, five other batsmen went on to post individual totals of more than a hundred, giving us a fair idea of how intensive and competitive the tournament was. As years passed, the intensity and competition just kept increasing.

Apart from the quality of cricket exhibited in the IPL, what makes it even more significant is its role in motivating and bringing up talented young cricketers from all over the country. The greatest example of this is seen in the form of our very own skipper, Virat Kohli. Kohli was picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008 as an uncapped player, straight from the U-19 World Cup which India had won under his leadership. Ten years later, we see a man who is not only the captain for Team India, but also, one of the best cricketers this country has ever produced. Another example is the top-ranked South African batsman AB de Villiers, also auctioned as an uncapped player in IPL season one to the Delhi Daredevils. AB was quoted saying that IPL has been a major stepping stone for him and a platform from where his career was launched, and we all know what he is now. The list of cricketers who have launched their careers after having played in the IPL is huge, with new names being added to it with every passing season of the IPL.

IPL provides the perfect platform for young emerging cricketers to fulfill their dreams. The opportunity to play alongside some of the greatest names in international cricket is priceless. IPL is on the verge of providing the country the next set of talented young batsmen and bowlers who would have already had the experience of handling extreme pressure and keeping up to the level of excellence required to compete on such a big platform. There are some very significant names that have already made it to the Indian team after having played in the IPL. Many more are yet to come as IPL continues to nurture and breed young talent and give them the opportunity to showcase their skills on a stage as big as this.

On a wider paradigm, the game of cricket has hugely benefited because of the IPL. The very existence of such a competitive tournament ensures that the players put their best foot forward in every situation. This in turn has raised the overall standard of batting, bowling as well as fielding in international cricket. In addition to this, the players get to know the strengths and weaknesses of their counterparts from other countries while playing for the same franchisees together, thus gaining the necessary experience and knowledge required to perform at the international level. The players also get used to the subcontinent conditions which is very different from those elsewhere.

That was all about the “cricket” part of it. But apart from that, what IPL has managed to do is create a home away from home for the players. Playing for the same franchisees for years, the cricketers from all over the world have gelled among each other and this tournament has led to the beginning of some never-ending relationships. It has made India seem like a home to world-class players from almost all the cricket playing nations in the world. Be it a Bret Lee who spends most of his time in India rather than back home in Australia, a Jonty Rhodes who named his daughter “India” or a DJ Bravo who picked India to release his famous song, IPL has given these players a family in the form of a huge fan base, who cheer as loudly when these players take to the field as they do for their Indian counterparts.

Speaking of fans, the one thing IPL succeeds in doing remarkably is giving this cricket-crazy nation something to look forward to every year. With all the passion and rivalry that comes out of love and support for our own franchise teams, the IPL becomes much more than just another cricket tournament for us. A tournament that brings in so much of excitement, becomes a part of our lives to such an extent that we tend to feel its absence once the span of two months is over. The joy of watching our favourite players playing for the same team is incomparable. Most importantly, the level of cricket played in the IPL is a treat to every fan of the game. Be it the magnificent sixes or the elegant fours, the breath-taking catches or the nail-biting finishes. IPL is filled with the best possible entertainment for all the fans. No wonder we fans come out in large numbers to support our team every year.

IPL is that part of Indian cricket which has now become extremely popular not just in India but in other countries as well. Every year, IPL produces new champions, yields new talents and writes new chapters in the book of “cricket”. As one season comes to its end, fans start gearing up for the next season. For another season of excitement, for another season of passion, for another season of exceptional cricket. For another season of the Indian Premier League.

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