Is The IPL Growing Stale?

Mike Selvey of The Guardian makes the case that IPL 4 has failed to deliver the goods:

It is just beyond halfway through this tournament, 44 matches at the time of writing, and scarcely a memorable one among them, few last-over thrillers, or tight run-chases. Even in the shortest form of the game, there seems to have been a predictability about matches from an early stage.

A glance down the results shows that 16 matches, more than a third, were decided by seven, eight or nine wickets while only four were won by fewer than 10 runs and none closer than three wickets, of which there were only two instances.

Five matches alone went to the last over and two of those were six-wicket wins. The tightest match saw Mumbai Indians beat Pune Warriors from the last delivery, but even that was a seven‑wicket win. In short, the whole thing seems to have gone flat.

Apparently, television ratings are also down, but I’d like to wait until the end of the tournament before reaching a conclusion on that front. I’d also question Selvey’s data sample here — is it not possible to enjoy a cricket match that doesn’t end with a close result? What if these matches included stellar innings — Sehwag’s century (which I missed!), or a five-for from Ishant?

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3 thoughts on “Is The IPL Growing Stale?

  1. Russ says:

    I don’t enjoy cricket matches that aren’t a contest; that doesn’t necessarily imply a close result, but the batsman needs to be tested. Sehwag had a lot to do, so it was an unquestionable brilliant performance, even if the game was won with time to spare.

    I’m coming round to the view that the two things I most dislike about 50 over cricket are accentuates in T20:
    – that the bowler is limited in influence and therefore unable to shift a game.
    – that batsmen can be calculating, particularly in small chases, where once you know the target is only a run-a-ball you can accumulate with low risk.

    Hence T20 probably needs the two suggestions mooted for the ailing 50 over game: split innings (10 each), so the result will be in play until at least the third quarter; and unlimited overs for bowlers, which would be great to watch if someone bowled right through.

    Also, I think IPL4 (and the owners) made an awful mistake in letting the players on each team get radically shifted. People support teams based on certain players, even if their loyalty is geographic, they don’t cheer shirts. It has made a competition that desperately needs to build tradition look artificial.

    • duckingbeamers says:

      Russ,

      I’m not sure what I think about the split innings idea. I am more intrigued by Gideon Haigh’s suggestion that ODIs should be turned into mini-Tests — that is, no with split innings of 25 overs each, but with no bowling restrictions (overs-wise), and with no field restrictions.

      • Russ says:

        I’ve argued as much for a long time – field restrictions are completely unnecessary in a T20, and just make captains lazy in ODIs. I like split innings mostly because it means tactically, teams are playing to a partial score – either chasing to stay in touch or just ahead of a 10 over score, or trying to set a target based on their knowledge of the half-way totals.

        As a good example of why it might be better, take the Punjab – Pune game from the other day. At 10 overs, Punjab were 2/71. Solid total, but they collapsed to 119, so Pune coasted to 2/69 after 10 overs, and won with plenty to spare. If Pune had had to chase 2/71 they’d be concerned the total might reach 169 (as Chennai’s did against Rajastan) so they might have pushed harder, lost more wickets, and found the second half of the chase more difficult. Knowledge of an opposition total heightens the tactical element. Which makes a certain gaming sense too: one day matches are unique in that they don’t alternate repeatedly from offence to defence; unlike test matches, all footballs and hockeys, baseball, basketball etc.

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