This IPL is turning out to be one of the closest in terms of teams looking to qualify for the playoffs. At the time of writing this, all 10 teams are in contention for a place in the knockouts. The difference in points is not huge, and perhaps the defending champions, Gujarat, will be the first team to qualify by the time you read this.
If they hadn’t messed up an easy chase against Delhi, they would have qualified by now, for sure. They were strangely diffident in their pursuit of Delhi’s small total and ended up five runs short. In the next game, they were again going after a modest total, but this time, they took the attack apart and won with only one wicket down and more than six overs to spare. That was champion stuff.
What these scores tell you is how effective their bowling is turning out to be, with Mohammed Shami at the start and Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad providing the spin combo to tie down and fox the opposition batters. Their fielding is also top-class, with arguably the best wicketkeeper in the world, Wriddhiman Saha, donning the big gloves.
Lucknow skipper, KL Rahul, suffered an unfortunate injury against the Bangalore team and is not only out of the rest of the IPL but also from the World Test Championship finals in early June. Injuries are part and parcel of sports, and this was probably caused by the wet outfield due to unseasonal rains in Lucknow. Some people tried to make it out as a workload problem, but that’s not the case. The T20 format is hardly taxing on the body as it requires fielding only for 20 overs and less sometimes. Yes, there could be fractures, but that is hardly because of the amount of cricket that is played. Rahul’s injury was more likely because of a slippery outfield than anything else.
Speaking of workload, just before the IPL started in 2008, the so-called International Players’ Association was moaning about the amount of cricket players were being asked to play. The word then was ‘burnout’. For the start of the then-IPL too, the word was used, but as soon as the auction amounts were known and players realised that they could be making more money playing a couple of seasons of IPL than what the Association could get them from their respective Cricket Boards, they must have told the office bearers to shut up, for the ‘burnout’ word was never heard again. It is hard to understand why, when most countries have their own players’ bodies, there is a need for an international one. One hasn’t heard of anything constructive that the international body has done, like the individual associations in the countries.
The Professional Cricketers’ Association of England and the ACA in Australia do a terrific job of looking after the interests of not only the current players but also the retired ones, especially those who have fallen on hard times. Many a former player contemplating bidding an untimely bye to the world has been saved by the timely intervention of these two associations in particular. That is why the question of why an international body that does not represent almost half of the full-member countries is required at all.
The ICC has given them a seat on the Committee that looks after cricketing matters, but what about seats for the associations of those countries not affiliated with the international body? If the argument there is that they are represented by their board members, why not make the same argument for the countries whose player associations are affiliated with the international body?
Anyway, this international body has suddenly tried to show it is relevant by bringing up some figures about how much the BCCI shares with the players from its revenues from the IPL. The international body has cleverly not told us how much the ECB shares with its players from The Hundred or what Cricket Australia shares from the Big Bash. As always, the efforts of the Western media are focused on badmouthing India. The BCCI shares 50 percent of its revenues from the IPL with the franchises, and it’s up to the franchises how much they pay the playing group. This, of course, is done through the player auction, and apart from the odd player from England (surprise, surprise), no player is unhappy with what he gets. After all, the player has set his base price, so he can’t complain if he gets picked at that and not for a higher price.
What the BCCI shares with its players is a matter between them and the Indian players, so if the international body tries to poke its nose into the matter, it will only get bloodied. The BCCI is no longer the body in the thrall of the Western world as it probably was in the first three or four decades of its existence, nor are its players enamoured of foreign leagues.
You have your one day’s headlines. Now go back to your office and try doing something for the game rather than trying to stir things up where you don’t belong. Thanks very much.
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