No game is big or small. It is only in our mindset. Every game, every format requires discipline, team spirit and desire to win.
Everybody loves entertainment, be in movies, TV or sports. Cricket is no exception and so are the Indians. IPL is a form cricket that is organized purely for entertainment. That is the reason, that during IPL season instead of watching reality shows like Big Boss or India Got Talent on TV, people watch IPL.
Can IPL produce real cricketers? Answer to that question lies in one of question, what is the definition of real cricketer. If a player who can play test cricket, then answer is unequivocal no. But if a player, who knows how to hit a ball to score runs or bowl a delivery to take wicket, then answer is yes.
May be people have also started to understand that IPL is mostly about entertainment, rather than serious cricket like test matches. That is the reason why most of the stadiums are not even half filled, but TV TRP ratings are high. People watch IPL instead of their favorite soap opera. Further evidence of this is that almost every year, some sort of controversy pops up to keep IPL in news, just as actors like Poonam Pandey and Rakhi Sawant do.
An IPL match requires players to continuously think aggressively and be ready with plan B, C and D if plan A doesn’t work and improvise. On the other hand, in a test match patience and technique hold the key. Yujraj Singh and Suresh Raina can make mark in IPL, but to be successful in test cricket, one needs to be V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid.
We saw some of the best quality cricket played in long time in the just concluded World Cup. Players fought for pride of their country. In contrast, in franchise dominated IPL, senior players play for money and junior players to get noticed. When after losing the Semi Final against New Zealand, AB de Villiers broke down, it seemed real. But same emotion does not appear real when done by a player in IPL matches. May be it is matter of perception.
One of the reasons for lack of quality cricket in IPL is that each team has substantial numbers of young and inexperienced Indian cricketers, therefore the quality of cricket can never be close to that in the international arena. One of the facts of that is that almost every year, top scorers and wicket takers are top international stars, who toy the inexperienced local cricketers.
Having said that, IPL also provides the platform to the same local cricketers to showcase their talent and understand what is to be under the pressure. They get the exposure of playing with international cricketers and get coaching form world class mentors.
The ruthlessness of IPL can be gauged by the fact that only players who can perform in 20 overs are selected. A very good example is Cheteshwar Pujara, perhaps the most technically sound batsman in India right now. He has to go play English county, just because he was completely ignored by IPL franchises.
All formats of cricket have their own beauty. Can a cricketer without talent become a star in T20? Chris Gayle has talent. It was IPL only that made Shane Watson, Ravinder Jadeja, Mohit Sharma and Ajiynka Rahane what they are right now. That is why it is the best platform to find hidden talents.
One important thing is that if cricket has to expand then shortest format of the game holds the key. Football would not have become so popular, had it been played over 5 days. Most of the successful cricketers continuously innovate their shots and know how to improvise. Tournaments like IPL are perfect for such breeding.
In the end, I would like to say that no game is big or small. It is only in our mindset. Every game, every format requires discipline, team spirit and desire to win. Where ever viewers find it will as the best game ever.