The sport of cricket originated as early as the 17th century. Like all the other sports, it revolutionized over the decades and centuries. At the start of professional cricket, there was just one format called Tests. More than a century later, the ODI format was introduced. Due to its immense success, another form was added a few decades later.
The newest format was named T20 cricket. With reduced timings and more action-packed cricket, this format attracted a massive number of new audiences. It prompted the Board of Cricket Control in India to start a franchise-based league. It was given the name Indian Premier League and is now the most popular cricket league in the world.
Keep following to learn about the true history of the IPL!
The first T20 World Cup was played in 2007 in South Africa. The final was contested between the arch-rivals India and Pakistan. Indians emerged victorious in a thrilling encounter. The fans all across the country were delighted. Also, the format was loved by the fans, and to add to their delight, a T20 league was introduced in India.
The announcement of a new league was made in September 2007. BCCI vice-president, Lalit Modi, was in charge of this tournament. Here’s what he said about the league back then:
“The IPL has been designed to entice an entire new generation of sports fans into the grounds throughout the country. The dynamic Twenty20 format has been designed to attract a young fan base, which also includes women and children.”
It was also announced that the IPL would be run by a 7-man committee containing BCCI officials and former players. In January 2008, an auction was held to choose the franchise owners. Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Punjab were the 8 cities/states in which the 8 teams were based.
The first season was played in April 2008 as star players from all across the world joined this competition. It was also the only IPL season in which Pakistani players featured. The final of the edition was contested between MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings and Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals. After a last-ball thriller, Warne became the first captain to lift an Indian Premier League trophy.
Progress Over the Years
2009 was the year of general elections, and it wasn’t possible to provide security for the league. Pakistani cricketers were banned from that season, and they haven’t been a part of the league since then. So, season 2 of the Indian Premier League was held in South Africa. But the popularity of the tournament wasn’t much impacted by it. Its increasing fan following made the BCCI added two more teams in 2010. Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors India were those two teams.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala stayed for just one season as they were terminated in 2011. The next year saw another termination as the champions of the 2009 season, Deccan Chargers, couldn’t get a new owner. They were replaced by the Sunrisers Hyderabad team after the franchise replacement auction. After the 2013 edition, financial differences emerged between the BCCI and Pune Warriors India franchise. It led to the withdrawal of the franchise from the competition.
Due to the allegations of match-fixing and being in contact with the bookies, the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were banned for two years. An auction was held to replace them, and two new teams were added for a couple of seasons. They were named Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions. The 2020 season was moved to the United Arab Emirates due to the emergence of the COVID pandemic.
The same reason forced the BCCI to host the partial edition of 2021 in UAE as well. For the 2022 season, the BCCI decided to add two new teams. Following an auction, Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans became the two latest franchises to join the league. Now, the Indian Premier League is played with 10 regular teams.
Where Does IPL Stand Currently?
The 16 years of the Indian Premier League are about to complete. The first franchise-based league is now a benchmark for all the other cricket leagues. The fame of this competition has got so high that it’s now being compared with top football leagues like the English Premier League.
It has also produced several superstar cricketers like Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, and Suryakumar Yadav. All the great players in world cricket are always eager to play in this tournament. Indian Premier League is a dream for the young stars of all the cricket-playing nations. Hence, it’s fair to say that the Indian Premier League is matchless in league cricket at the moment.
What Makes IPL So Special?
Well, money matters, doesn’t it? It certainly does, especially in league cricket. The best players can only be attracted if they are paid significantly higher than their pay in International cricket. Top white ball cricketers are paid tens of millions of dollars in the Indian Premier League history. It’s many times more than the salaries paid in other cricket leagues.
Another factor that makes this competition stand out is the home and away format. This format makes the team play half of their games on home grounds and the remaining half on away venues. So each match is played on the home ground of one of the two teams. That’s why we see a full house in almost every match. India is the second most populous country in the world, and it results in massive viewership.
The last reason is the quality of players. Nearly all the top International players make themselves available for the IPL. India has a rich batting talent and franchises usually play overseas bowlers. It makes teams well-balanced, and the fans get to watch quality cricket.
The Way Forward
IPL is a great tournament, and fans absolutely love it. There are many things to praise about it, but a few downsides also exist about the tournament. The most important point is that it’s an unusually long tournament. It spans almost 2 months, and it makes the league dull sometimes. Also, the players become vulnerable to injuries while playing continuously for so long.
With 10 teams, the league phase stretches to 70 matches. If the format is changed, the number of matches can be reduced. The teams could be divided into two groups of 5 teams each. Then, each group can follow the double round-robin format. It will reduce the total number of league matches to 40, and the league will end in about 5 weeks. This amendment can make the tournament a lot more interesting to watch.