IPL 2016 is said to be a tiring tournament for both viewers and the players, which indeed calls for an overhaul © AFP
IPL 2016 is said to be a tiring tournament for both viewers and the players, which indeed calls for an overhaul © AFP

As another entertaining season of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 comes to a thrilling end, the ninth season of the league has once again turned out to be fairly successful in all platforms. However, there were numerous rumours about the longevity of the tournament, due to its oversized format and the timeline of the tournament as it actually runs (start to end). With the tournament lasting almost about a couple of months, along with 60 matches, it is said to be a tiring tournament for both viewers and the players, which indeed calls for an overhaul. Ayush Gupta predicts on how the format of the most successful Twenty20 (T20) league in the world can be shortened and made more entertaining by the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). Road to IPL 2016 final

Group stage (Round-robin format)

One of the most popular formats in any sport in the world is the round-robin format. It consists of teams being divided into few groups, where teams in each group play each other once or twice. The top two (or more, or less) teams move to the next round, depending on the number of teams and groups in the tournament. Since IPL is an eight-team tournament, there could easily be two groups with four teams each, where the teams in each group can play against each other once or twice in the home and away leg format. The other option could also be the teams from each group can play against the teams of other group, once or twice in the home and away leg format. The top two teams in each group shall qualify for the playoffs. Trip down IPL finals over 8 years

Modified round-robin format (BBL format)

This is almost the same league table format where teams play against each other twice on the home-and-away format. However, in the modified round-robin format, each teams play against each other at least once. Each team can also be assigned a rival team, thus allowing them to play a second leg against them. The ‘rival’ teams does not generally change every season and can remain the same. This format is mainly popular in the Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL). David Warner and the Australian domination in IPL

Reduced teams

If BCCI are reluctant to discontinue with the current league stage format, the other thing they could come up with is to curtail the number of participating teams in the league from eight to six or seven, as it would reducing the number of matches, increasing the competition in the league. While there are 56 league matches now, removing one team will bring that down to 42; removing two will bring the count to 30. To compensate, BCCI can come up with franchise bids every one or two seasons to allow new teams to join the tournament along with fresh auctions once or twice a season, thus allowing to shuffle teams and keep the competition open. However, the number of participating teams during each season would remain six or seven. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers: A club of mutual admiration

Zonal format

The zonal team system would also be a fair choice as is the format in the BCCI’s domestic tournament Duleep Trophy. The franchise could play against the teams of different zones at least once. However, they could play against the teams of the same zone on two legs (home and away) format, thus allowing the competition to be bigger and thrilling. There are five zones currently in the BCCI domestic structure in the form of North, South, East, West and Central, as it is most likely that BCCI would stick to the same zonal structure in the IPL as well.

The 2016 edition of the IPL was played for over 50 days, thus making it the longest tournament till date and a tiring one. Although the official viewership ratings reached all-time high owing to some incredible performances from the teams and the players, the long structure and format of the game was in serious question for most, as it was not possible for every team to come up with quality performance every single day, thus making it one of the boring tournaments.

Initially during the start of the tournament, there were hardly any competition between the teams, as it just been a week since an intense ICC World T20 2016, held in India. The players were also tired as they took some time to get accustomed with the IPL format and started firing pretty late in the tournament. The viewership was low during the initial stages of the tournament, and took off only after a week long into the tournament. Therefore, BCCI must also consider proper scheduling of the tournament, thus allowing the players to get prepared and fit for the tournament, in order to perform straightaway.

Do you agree with these recommendations? Do let us know.

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)