BLOG: An IPL window is imperative
So here is the bottom line: the IPL is here to stay! We are currently almost midway through the fourth edition and it has warmed up nicely.
Remember first and foremost that the Indian Premier League is a business model that has been designed and implemented by very successful corporate entities and its initial cycle has another six years to run. Because it is Indiacentric and that area is the financial powerhouse of the cricketing world, it possesses a great deal of influence. No outsiders can dictate to this league and that might as well be accepted by all.
The International Cricket Council must take heed. It just makes so much sense to give the IPL a window in the annual calendar so that everyone can ink it in permanently and get on with providing a lucrative avenue for professionals, owners and sponsors alike.
The cricketing public will also then be treated to the best on show at all times. Should common sense prevail it will be a win-win situation. Should that window be allocated, all involved with this game will breathe a sigh of relief. If it is not done, I fear the worst.
Malinga has shown the way by opting out of test cricket and that has robbed cricket watchers of an extraordinary talent in whites. It looks more and more like Chris Gayle will follow suit. All it needs is one or two to feel the need to shun country officialdom and decide on the lifestyle of a freelance T20 specialist to make others think similarly.
We all know that for the very best, the financial rewards are more than adequate and the general lifestyle more accommodating. Will the floodgates open soon or will only a trickle of stars decide to put franchise cricket ahead of country pride?
The confusion that surrounds the issue is getting very close to reaching breaking point. Should an IPL window be allocated by the ICC, then all concerns will be placated. The best will loyally strut their stuff for their respective franchise owners who in turn will be able to correctly evaluate individual worth. The various cricket boards will know they will have premier player availability and the real winner will be the event as the quality will be ramped up considerably due to talent consistency.
The IPL was the first. It will be the most lucrative. It displays the best talent.
It deserves unified recognition.