Too many matches? Is the IPL schedule diluting the quality of performance?


IPL (Indian Premier League) is one of the brightest and richest sports exhibitions in the world. Combining international-level skills, thrilling games, and Bollywood-style entertainment, it has captured not only the hearts of an entire nation but also those thousands of miles away.

Too many matches? Is the IPL schedule diluting the quality of performance?

However, with growing popularity and increasing profits there comes a question – has cricket suffered due to too much expansion? Or the hectic IPL schedule is causing extreme burnout for the players and degrading the overall quality of performance?

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The expanding IPL landscape

The IPL started off as a relatively short event with 59 matches played during 7 weeks in summer. Nowadays things have changed dramatically.

For example, this year’s edition will include ten teams battling over 74 matches throughout two months. BCCI is even planning on extending it further by creating additional franchises for an extra 30 games.

It all comes down to money. More matches mean more money from TV rights deals, sponsorships, and franchise sales which can go up into millions or even billions of dollars.

Businesswise this makes sense but some fear that such single-minded pursuit might affect what happens on the pitch – cricket itself.

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The toll of fatigue

The human body is not built like a machine; no matter how fit someone is they still need rest physically and mentally after competing at a high-level sport for some time.

This is something given very little thought in an overcrowded cricket calendar where players are constantly traveling between different countries playing series for their national sides then going straight into another one representing a city franchise within the same country followed closely by global events like the World Cup or Champions Trophy!

Additionally, players also need to buckle up prior to starting pre-season training camp ahead of next season’s IPL where they’ll be expected to give everything once again otherwise face demotion, release, trade transfer etc.

And out of all these tournaments, it seems that IPL takes its toll most severely because unlike others it does not let players breathe even for a few days – every other day matches new places, different teammates, unknown conditions, unfamiliar opposition crowd climate, etc.

Dilution of talent

In addition, games compressed so tightly together require maximum effort from everyone involved which includes coaches, support staff, administrators broadcasters, organizers umpires, groundsmen security guards, cleaners, etc.

All these people have families that live outside work so they’ll need time off too but that is not possible when you are working every single day for two months.

Therefore it’s no wonder that injuries keep increasing year by year – even the smallest niggle can easily turn into something more serious and lead to missing out on important fixtures or the whole season altogether which affects both teams’ chances of success.

For instance, this year many star players were unable to participate due to various reasons like COVID-19 or lack form injury while others had less than adequate preparation because they were forced to spend quarantine isolation periods before and after traveling, playing, etc.

Another thing worth mentioning here would be mental side things – traveling all the time being stuck in a bio bubble after getting inside your head eventually breaks down most hardened individuals, let alone those who may already have underlying issues with anxiety and depression, etc.

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The Showdown vs. The Recreation

One of the most significant things that the IPL has done is blend cricket’s spectacle with high-powered amusement.

It was created as a product for mass consumption. But it’s only when the balance tips too far towards showbiz that this could be dangerous, eclipsing the purity of the contest in cricket itself.

With a longer season and more matches to broadcast, there is often a need to keep the entertainment quotient as high as possible.

Sometimes this can mean preparing pitches with batters in mind which leads to high-scoring but increasingly one-sided games; sometimes it means over-emphasising boundaries and big totals at the expense of swing or seam bowling or even intelligent defensive batting.

The danger here is that, with all things going well for them so far anyway, IPL starts turning into a batsmen’s paradise thereby undermining cricket’s timeless fascination by unbalancing its key element — bat against ball.

International Cricket’s Future

IPL’s growing dominance on the cricket calendar has several implications for international games. More and more top players are putting franchise contracts before national duty; among other things, it can cause:

Burnout and Prioritisation

As financial rewards from participating in the IPL increase so does the risk of players opting for lighter international schedules just so they don’t get injured ahead of the rigorous Indian summer tourney (IPL).

There have been instances where prominent names preferred franchise leagues over bilateral series’ – some even retiring early from internationals altogether.

Undermining Test Cricket

Many purists fear these bright lights might slowly kill off the traditional five-day format which tests cricketers’ skills like no other since big bucks come packed into small time slots.

Scheduling Conflicts

BCCI controls much of world cricket through its political muscle power along with IPL being a commercial juggernaut hence affecting scheduling decisions worldwide.
Smaller nations therefore find themselves disadvantaged due to lack of opportunities against stronger teams because their tours are often canceled or shortened in order to fit around IPL commitments.

Is There A Middle Point?

There is no doubt that the IPL has been a great thing for Indian cricket. It has provided exposure and financial security to domestic players and funneled money into grassroots development programs across the nation.

But there are still some concerns that need addressing if this league wants to remain sustainable not just financially but also in terms of its relationship with other forms such as international games.

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Here are a few suggestions

A dedicated window

Instead of trying to squeeze it in every year, why not give IPL its own time slot within the calendar? This will not only help avoid fixture clashes but also allow cricketers rest periods during long seasons thereby increasing public interest levels towards the tournament itself.

Match cap

More matches mean more commercial benefits; however, if each game becomes too casual then soon they’re devoid of quality. Having a limit on the number played could release pressure on players thus making contests fiercer.

Player Protection Must Come First

The BCCI, franchises, and player associations must come together to put in place stricter workload management policies. In the long run, rotational rests for star players, compulsory recovery periods, and mental health support will be vital.

More Investment in Test Cricket

Being one of the most powerful bodies in cricket; BCCI should take a leading role in promoting test matches.

They can do this by ensuring favorable schedules, providing financial incentives or even putting more effort towards creating a larger pool of Indian test players.

The Everlasting Charisma of IPL

IPL is an Indian sporting miracle. It has been a successful venture beyond reasonable doubt and it would seem stupid or unworkable to think about reversing its growth entirely.

However, recognizing hidden dangers behind continuous expansion is essential in keeping up with attractive standards of play on the field. Sustainability needs more than just vibrant stroke play; it’s like any excellent inning that calls for both flamboyance as well as watchful defense.

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