in Sports / Extreme Sports    (submitted 2014-05-26)

The total number of franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will not be increased for the next three years. According to me, the cash rich league should continue with eight teams even after 2017. This tournament has set certain values in the market and to guard them, it is necessary to main the tempo which is only possible if number of teams is kept in check. Let's take a close look as in why eight teams is the right way to carry out the proceedings in the near future.

Competition for places
It is a known fact that top talent is limited in the world of cricket and this is the reason why they command high prices in the Indian Premier League. On the other hand, players who are less talented have managed to get millions just because the supply was less and their demand was soaring because of too many buyers in the cash rich league. Teams like Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors especially couldn't perform well as players representing them were not that good. I am not talking about the whole squad but there were players who struggled when exposed to top class cricket. Kochi was sacked after one season while Pune Warriors bid adieu to the league after two pathetic years, where they finished last and second last respectively. Cut to this year's auction and you will see the difference. There were no buyers for Munaf Patel, RP Singh, Subramaniam Badrinath and many more Indians while players like Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan had to go through huge pay cut as they were ordinary in the last season. Apart from the Indians, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews and several other big foreign stars remained unsold. This is enough to prove that only top performers will stand in the market if less teams are part of the event.
Less burnout of players
It is because of players that cricket has attained new heights across the globe. They are the real ambassadors of the game, who deserves proper treatment from their bosses. They play throughout the year irrespective of their class and talent. Indian Premier League is very demanding so it is important to keep number of matches in check. The last season had 16 matches for each team as nine teams were in the fray but it has come down to 14 games in IPL-7. It was done because Pune Warriors withdrew their name from the competition. It is evident that if teams are increased after 2017, the number of matches will surely increase which will put more burden on the bodies of the cricketers. This will cause unfortunate injuries which might reduce one's playing career. We have to understand that players are humans and not some robots, who could go on to play for years that too without any rest. It is in the best interest of the league that current pattern is maintained till the time this event is alive and kicking.
Controlled Overdose
Apart from cricketers, fans are the best next thing which has happened to this game. Their continuous presence in the stadiums and in front of the TV screens has made Indian Premier League the best T20 tournament across the regions. We have seen in the past that stadiums had less attendance where Pune Warriors India and Kochi Tuskers Kerala had their matches. Even TV rating took a beating in those seasons. The message was clear that fans don’t want less fancied outfits and overdose of the matches. It is good for the future of the tournament that its competitiveness is preserved as it would lead to new success. The administrative people should think from the fan's perspective as well otherwise things would become bad for the IPL.
Monitoring is easy
Indian Premier League is tailor made for controversies. We have seen many unwanted happenings which has marred its image in the past. The last season was jolted by spot fixing incident which was the ugliest thing for the game and its image. Pepsi, the main sponsor of the event, even threatened BCCI with a pull-out but stayed back after getting a promise that such incidents will not be repeated. Is it possible? Yes but it requires proper monitoring. If participating teams are less in numbers, it becomes easy for the organizers to look after the event properly and the same goes for the BCCI and the IPL. The cash rich league is prone to controversies because of its popularity but the BCCI should prepare a proper plan to keep wrong elements away from the game. It would be easy for them to watch out everything if the tournament is retained in its current avatar.

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