Mumbai: Twenty20 cricket has always kept fans glued to their television sets. At the business end of season 9, five teams vying for a spot in the playoffs sounds rather eye-candy and interesting but take a bird’s eye view this season on the Indian Premier League and there has been that zing lacking. Below are five reasons that could be attributed to the cause.
Overdose of cricket already
The year 2016 has been flooded with T20 cricket. Right from India’s tour of Australia that concluded in January, the ICC World T20 following the Asia Cup and now the ongoing IPL, T20 cricket seems to be in excess of late. Audiences also have not warmed up to India’s cash-rich league. Television ratings for the first week of IPL too revealed a dip from the corresponding period last year. According to the numbers this was the second poorest start to any IPL edition following the first week of 2014.
No Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals
The suspension of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) has had a humungous effect in this edition. CSK, who probably had the biggest fan base, are also the IPL’s most successful team making it to the playoffs regularly. The side, previously led by MS Dhoni, won the trophy in 2010, 2011 and subsequently the Champions League in 2010 and 2014. Rajasthan Royals, who won the inaugural edition, were considered the perennial underdogs of IPL. The 2008 champs, the Royals, who once had the likes of Shane Warne, Ross Taylor, Sohail Tanvir, in their ranks boasted of a good crowd support.
Injuries to top players
If there’s one sight fans dread to see, it’s a player being helped off the field. This season of the IPL has been marred by injuries to key players. Players like Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis, Mitchell Marsh (all from Rising Pune Supergiants), Mitchell Starc, Samuel Badree (RCB), Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh (KX1P), Lendl Simmons, Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians), have all either given the tournament a miss or have departed midway. Besides the glamour surrounding the league, a certain section of fans also are attracted to the IPL to watch their stars in action.
No Harsha Bhogle in the commentary box
Television viewers of the sport were left stunned and gloomy after Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle lost his contract for this year’s IPL. Bhogle, who has been involved with the IPL since its inception, was told about his exclusion only a week before the IPL kicked off and wasn't even provided with an explanation.
Bhogle’s rendition of cricket commentary has found favour among many in the fraternity and his exclusion has certainly created a void this season. Earlier, Sanjay Manjerekar and Arun Lal, familiar Indian commentators, too have been meted out the same treatment.
IPL faces the heat in time of drought
Adhering to the PIL filed by NGO Loksatta Movement, the Bombay High Court ordered to shift IPL matches out of drought-stricken Maharashtra after April 30. The decision triggered off a massive debate amongst veteran players in the circuit. The shift not only disrupted logistical preparations, but also hampered fans’ schedule who pre-booked tickets at the allocated venues. Rising Pune Supergiants, making their debut in this edition were the team that faced the wrath of the court’s order the most.