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The end of the ICC World T20 2014 and the beginning of the seventh edition of the IPL have exactly a 10-day gap in-between. The scheduling of two T20 tournaments around one another may lead to boredom and overkill, says Nishad Pai Vaidya.
What do back-to-back T20 tournaments do for cricket? Does overkill push the viewers away, or does it depend on the very nature of the tournament? The ICC World T20 2014 has just ended and we are only a week away from the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. While one may be an international tournament, where the players fight for their respective nations, the other is a domestic event, a lucrative option for the cricketers.
This isn’t the first time the World T20 has been held so close to another club-based tournament. The only World T20 to be held quite independently was the first one, in 2007, which is actually responsible for the rapid growth of the game. The 2009 and 2010 editions were held immediately after the IPL. The ICC World T20 2012 was held just before the Champions League T20 in South Africa. With such tournaments being held so close to one another, there is a huge danger of boredom in the crowds and fatigue in the players.
In 2009, there were no problems as far as boredom was concerned. The IPL was held before the World T20 and both tournaments did manage to draw crowds. But, one could see the effects during the last two tournaments. In 2010, the Caribbean witnessed empty stands for many games and the tournament did not generate the buzz. The other reason was that the event was held just a year after its previous edition. As a result, it had lost its sheen, partly with the IPL stealing a lot of it in the lead-up.
Let us then jump ahead to the 2012 World T20. That tournament had a lot of fan following, also because of the fact that it was held more than two years after the previous one. Plus, the games were in Sri Lanka, where crowds came in large numbers. However, the Champions League held just after it was a dampener and there was no real excitement left in it.
This year, the IPL would be held after all the World T20 hoopla. But, it is unlikely to be affected by it. The scheduling and where the tournament is held does make a lot of difference. This time, the IPL’s initial phase is being taken to the United Arab Emirates, where thousands of Indian expatriates have been waiting for a glimpse of their favourite players. And later, this would be followed by the Indian leg. Overkill or not, the IPL will still maintain its buzz despite being held after the World T20.
However, in the long run, there has to be a proper approach to scheduling such tournaments. An event like the World T20 is iconic and is bigger in terms of the glory involved. That should be held in a way that people welcome it and do not moan at its arrival. There has to be a hunger for that tournament and hosting it around the IPL is not ideal. The IPL doesn’t face a popularity test here, but the World T20 is vulnerable in some respects, and the Champions League is more so. Of course, the administrators have to nurture their golden goose and not exploit it.
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