One of the talking points used to sell the IPL is its supposed ability to showcase domestic Indian talent. Teams need to fill a team with 11 players, and a fair amount of them — I think 7? — need to be from India. Quite an amazing opportunity for a slew of players who otherwise would languish in the doldrums of domestic tournaments that very few fans care about.
But does it ever really translate into something more meaningful for these players? Yes, each season, we have been introduced to some interesting characters, some of who have gone on to the international forum (e.g. Yusuf Pathan). Others enjoy the 3-week minutes of fame — who knew P. Valthaty or Manish Pandey before the IPL? And the chance to play alongside the greats — from all over the world — must of some value (though I don’t know if it necessarily leads to better performance).
Then again, is it worth it for most of these players? Look at the top run getters and wicket-takers of 2009 — not many no-names there (except, maybe, Y.A. Abdulla, who comes in 10th). A cursory look at the other seasons shows the same trends — a few low-fame players (Vinay Kumar, N. Ohja, A.T. Rayadu) — but not much else. This is to be expected, of course; there’s a reason international veterans fill the top ranks.
But then, what’s the objective of a domestic player? Pull a Valthaty and enjoy the ride? Get your name out there? (If so, for what?) Or just do your best at your real task: play the ‘extra’ on a giant film set.