I have many problems with the IPL, but my biggest is that it will shove other international series out the window while it settles into the cricket room. For some fans, that’s not a big deal, since there are already far too many stupid series going on (seven matches between England and Australia? Really? Series after series between the West Indies and England?).
Fine. But when you actually get down to cutting series left and right, you face some very difficult choices that are bound to make some countries happy, and others not. Some of the big-league countries — India, Australia, England, South Africa — would be happy to just play themselves, leaving the small fry to themselves (West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh).
But while that may yield higher fan satisfaction, it essentially makes cricket an even smaller club than it already is. Besides, all sports have to endure some “boring” matches — I usually skip the first four rounds of any tennis Grand Slam, only to tune in once I hear that an underdog has beaten a known, seeded athlete.
We forget that today’s minnows are tomorrow’s top ranks. What was Sri Lanka in the 1980s? For that matter, what was India? Sure, most times Bangaldesh plays Australia (or anyone plays Australia, for that matter), we know who’ll win and who will lose. But there’s always that small chance that fortune will, just this once, anoint the other team.