Indian T20 League: What is wrong and a wish list – revisited
Our expert offers ideas that will benefit the recently concluded annual T20 extravaganza in India.
I had done an earlier article on this topic. I have done this again in the hope that it might catch someone’s eye.
1. The League is too long. Even 76 matches are too many, leave alone 94. The 6th season should be limited to 40 matches (36 + 4). This will mean that each team will play the other teams only once, the location rotating between home and away. The matches will have greater value and retention possibility. TV revenues and other financial details should be worked out between the GC and franchises. After all, nothing is or should be set in stone.
2. Get a FTP window. Once the tournament is limited to 40 matches, these matches could be completed in 30 days, say between April 1 and May 1. This would enable the English and West Indian players to come in with the blessings of their respective Boards. It would be possible to ask ICC for a FTP window based on this schedule.
3. Link payments to performance. If Saurabh Tiwary is lucky to get bid 1.7 million dollars, let him collect half of it but the balance could get paid on performance. This year, he might get 42500 dollars and the balance of 800000 dollars could go into the team performance pool.
4. Reward performance of low-bidders. If Ajinkya Rahane is bid 30000 dollars, pay him that money and possibly another 500000 dollars appropriated from the performance pool.
5. Limit player contracts to two years. Why two, even one. Allow the franchise and player to work out amongst themselves the continuation beyond one year. This will allow Rahane to get rewarded, maybe even within the same franchise. This way, the franchises will benefit and the player mobility will increase.
6. Handle the benching in a better manner. What is the point of Tamim Iqbal or Scott Styris warming their respective benches for 6 weeks without lifting the bat? One way would be to limit a player to no more than 9-10 matches per IPL.
7. Avoid conflict of interest prevalent everywhere. The model of EPL and NBA where the people who run the game are completely independent of the owners should have been and must be followed. Here, there is an almost incestuous relationship between the League, BCCI and some of the owners and this leaves a very bad taste. One cannot be the judge, jury and executioner. Separate franchise owners and BCCI functionaries. This has to be done 100% in spirit and action. We saw how this benefitted the Chennai team when it came to player retention during 2011.
8. Streamline the auction process. Let top players not go through the public ignominy. Find a way to do something informally by doing an internal poll of the franchise owners whether anyone is going to put in the minimum bid or not. If no one is interested, do not put up that player for auction.
9. Auction the local players. This will ensure that the local players get rewarded and under-the-table payments are avoided.
10. The League has missed a great opportunity to innovate and try out new ideas. The new ideas are cosmetic and entertainment-oriented. Cheer girls, two time-outs, fluorescent coloured shoes, film stars in stadium, etc. do nothing to add to the game. The Indian T20 League, being outside the ICC’s ambit, had the opportunity to try out many game-related innovations. Once these had been tried out here, they could have been adopted in international games. Listed below are a few such new ideas.
- 5 overs for 2 bowlers
- Runs penalty for taking too much time
- Avoidance of unwieldy handling of no-balls
- Two bouncers per over (Already approved by ICC)
- Use of the VJD Method which is clearly the better method for 20-over matches
11. Moderate the actions and words, and avoid hype. The common objective of all is to say how great the League is and nothing else. There is not a single discordant word. Everything is great, massive or a humdinger. The shots, the crowds, the atmosphere, the matches, the colours, the stadia and what have you. Half-filled stadia are presented as filled to capacity. Every catch is outstanding. Every six is great. Every innings is superlative. Then what does one do when the truly great performance arrives. There is a need to be critical and objective.
12. There is a need to ensure that the identity of teams is strongly established, as in EPL. A more equitable player retention policy could pave the way, to start with. A clear establishment of the role the players from the catchment areas would have is also needed.
The Indian T20 League has the potential to be very good. It is now passable. It is in the hands of the powers that be to change this.