IPL Madness

19 01 2010

The 20/20 cricketing circus that is the IPL got under way today with an auction of 66 players, but with only 13 spots available. Regular readers of the Compulsive Hooker will be aware of our huge preference for test cricket over any other form of cricket, especially 20/20. With this in mind please forgive us our attitude when faced with what is probably the biggest single threat to the primacy of test cricket around today!

20/20 is not totally without it’s own singular charms, but when the competition that excites the worlds press most is essentially a domestic 20/20 competition, you know somewhere something has become skewed in the world of cricket.

We once came across a headline on the front cover of a southern hemisphere rugby magazine asking the question ‘Is Super 14 rugby better than Tests?’ Coming as it did in the short (but oh so sweet) period when England were the worlds top rugby team, this rankled somewhat! Similarly, a headline on a well known cricketing website recently stated ‘IPL is better standard of cricket than tests’. It turned out the headline was a quote from Lalit Modi, Chairman of the IPL, who was understandably pushing his own product, but it still irritated. Quite clearly a competition that involves the best of one nation against the best of another will (on the whole there are exceptions) achieve a higher standard than a domestic competition. Even one with a number of superstars such as the IPL.

With Modi talking about holding up to 3 tournaments a year in locations as diverse as England and South Africa this phenomenon is likely to grow exponentially. The crunch will come when players contracted to the IPL and other entities such as counties or their countries, will have to make a choice. With so much money on offer in the IPL it is entirely possible many players will choose this easy money over their original team.

In the cattle market that starts the IPL’s yearly activities, there were one or two notable purchases and a couple of strange ones as well. Top of the pile were Shane Bond and Kieron Pollard going for $750,000 plus an undisclosed amount, each. Providing Bond is fit he should provide value for money although it remains to be seen whether Pollard can repeat his world cup heroics of last year. Below that were two buys who probably don’t represent value for money. Kemar Roach from the Windies and Wayne Parnell of South Africa went for $720,000 and $610,000 respectively. Both are rookies with indifferent records at senior level so it remains to be seen if these gambles will pay off. Bargain of the day was Eoin Morgan of England, who was sold to Bangalore Royal Challengers for a tidy $220,000.

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