There is no need to say anything, Cricket may be standing at a point where avoiding a nosedive is their task of high priority, and there is only one man who has survived a nosedive (albeit beautifully) and the guy is called Bond, James Bond.
It started when two most popular cricket teams from most popular region of world cricket crashed out from early stage of world cup 2007 in west Indies, but the game itself saved gracefully when both teams with renovated lineup met in one of the most entertaining tourney in cricket history – inaugural t20 world cup. And then unveiling of IPL made it clear – the game is far from being unpopular and what happened is called shock, not nosedive.
IPL as the founding chairman and brain behind it Lalit Modi described was wire framed on the bases of some of the most popular football leagues. And it was enough excitement for the fans to see cricket playing like this. And when you offer such a great thing, you must save it from falling into the hands of controversies, not leading it to them. It was 2009 general elections and IPL’s much awaited second season were coinciding each other, it was when the father himself led his prodigy child into trouble. And then soon after this season there were more controversies than normal talks from IPL,
This was not it, being one of the most unpredictable games cricket has to be away of boredom and match fixing. And as eighth season already started it seems IPL has somehow failed to avoid these two. But still there is a room to improvement if they want to be longer. This is how BCCI and ICC can do to avoid an almost certain nosedive. How they can adopt from football around the world.
First of all lets see what do we have right now.
1. The IPL : Cricket world’s most favourite tournament. Everybody wants to play in it.
2. Other Leagues : After success of IPL many countries are playing with same format, right now we have atlesst 5-6 similar leagues in England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, Australia and Bangladesh by latest.
3. Champions League : A league played by champions of these region leagues.
Lets see what changes can be done here, to make these matters more interesting
1. Make these league played on same time slot : Normally all leagues of football played from June to May Season, this works with a play dominated by clubs. For a game like this, dominated by international tournaments can not afford to have such busy schedule. That’s why IPL is only a month long tournament. ICC must include it in their regular window along with other similar leagues and force them to play in same time slot.
2. Add more leagues: In my opinion IPL is doing it properly, and as a result India is getting better talents which gives Team India better competitiveness. Such leagues breed new talents, from which football rips great talents, recent football world cup winners are great example of what you can do with carefully nurtured talents. Do the same with all leagues. The first thing is to have leagues, IPL is strongest but where are others? If I’m not wrong New Zealand does not have such league, and others like Pakistan, West Indies have nearly weaker leagues which are on the verge of non-existence. If we want to save cricket, pump those leagues with anything they want be it cash or players. Otherwise cricket will only restrict to India, Australia and to some extent South Africa.
2.1 have home-grown rule: put a rule similar to home-grown rule exists in EPL, where a) There must be atleast 8 home grown players in a squad of 25 b) a Home-grown player is the one who trained with same club or in England for atleast 3 full years before he turns 21. IPL has a rule somehow similar to a why not having something like b and have a youth league being started? It would be more fun right? Look at the players list for some associate countries. A quick look of some countries shows only Argentina(0),Netherlands(0) and Italy(3) have less than 5 south-asian regulars. For others like Germany and France this number are pretty reverted. In France there are at most 5 home grown players who represented their team recently, for Germany this number is only 1. Rest are either from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. If cricket is ever going to be popular in such countries where football is enjoyed like a religion, this must be stopped at all cost.
Fact: Hero Indian Super League, was at a time in top 9 most watched football league in the world. Thus in the new home of cricket, football is making its own room. Where traditional homes of football, cricket is struggling even to stand…
3. If it’s a league play like league : That is : no semifinals and finals. Only play-offs and at the end of the last day determine winners by points and/or run rate if needed. You can’t allow a team to be on third place every time and let them win the tournament from two shocks. Shocks are allowed but why can’t we reward the team on top as well? There are chances that the winner is determined a lot early, but let this happen as well. This determines competition.
4. Have transfer window between leagues, allow two if you can afford : Yes a transfer window where player and his agents roam from club to club. It’s no longer interesting when players and owners meet at a place and have their trading. Don’t let a player play from two clubs in same season, not even if he changes the league.If he transfers from a club playing champions league to other club playing for same tournament allow him only to play domestic league for the same season. Study how transfer works in football and adopt same system for league.
A fact : A transfer deadline day (final day of transfer window 1st – 2nd August and 31st January-2nd February depends on leagues) is far more interesting than a season of IPL + world cup.
5. Allow more teams to be played and introduce second tier : More teams means more revenue, second tier means less busy schedule and introduction of promotion(Top two or three teams of second tier will play in first tier in next season) and relegation (Bottom two or three teams from first tier will play in second tier in next season) means more interest remained for bottom level teams as well.
6. Have home and away games and two legged ties in CL knockout rounds : Each club team must have their home ground. Like IPL each team must play on home ground and on away ground. For knock out rounds introduce aggregate(total runs or total wickets taken in both the matches) and away rules (if aggregate scores tie team took most wickets in away ground will advance), allowing comeback and having revenge is always a part of cricket marketing, isn’t it?
P.S. And yes travelling of popular teams always promote the sports and tourism in destination…
7. Promote the idea of fan operated clubs and let them have it. : Do you know what’s common between two of the top 5 most wealthy and most popular clubs in football? They both owned and operated by club members, which include fans(who attend match in stadium) technical and other staff, players and coach. They allow investment, they collect fund and they operate. And from many years they are the most known names in football world. And unlike others they are not handled by companies.
Did I name them? Do you already know the name? If not these clubs are named Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Plus clubs in German League system needs to be operated by fan(A single entity can’t take 50% of club’s stake).
8. Why restrict when you want more?: I have heard ICC is thinking of restricting teams in 2019 world cup. Why to do so? Cricket has only 10 countries where the game is taken seriously, and there are only couple of minnows that take part. This part of cricket can be interesting if we have more minnows there. Agree that one sided fights with such minnows are boring, than why include test playing minnows like Zimbabwe? Let’s have some qualifiers which also involves bottom two or three test playing nations fight with associate countries and let the best team give us boring entertainment.
That’s it. That’s the whole possible ripping of football for cricket’s own success. That’s how james bond with bat, pad and helmet should work for this sport…
Some new coke studio songs to cheer for.
1. Jagao Mera Des- A.R.Rahman (Recreation of Ravindranath Tagor’s poem-Done beautifully)
2. Zariya – A.R.Rahman (Celebration of motherhood, with budhdhist and turkish music)
3. Naariya-Amit Trivedi Singers-Shalmali Kholgade(Funny song on eternal battle of genders 😛 )
4. Husna-Piyush Mishra(Probably Season2)
5. Madari-Composer-Clinton Cerejo, Singer-Vishal Dadlani(Devotion by rock)