IPL 2016 more ho-hum than heave-ho

IPL 2016r








By Gaurav Joshi

For the first time in nearly a decade IPL seems to have dropped in TV ratings in India. Recent survey suggests that people of India have not taken to IPL like in the past.

As in the past IPL has had its controversies with the matches shifted out of Maharashtra due to drought sanctions by the Government. But the most concerning part has been the quality of cricket.

Every season IPL franchises spend millions on nursing young players or hoping a new signing can spark a team’s interest on and off the field. But this year those prized signings are yet to raise their hands and it is still the IPL veterans who are putting on the show.

Carlos Braithwaite, the West Indies hero in the World T20 final, was one of the highest paid signings but is struggling to be part of the final XI with Delhi Daredevils. Yuvraj Singh always attracts big cash but so far injury has kept him out for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Kevin Pietersen was touted as marketing success for Pune Supergiants but sadly has gone home due to injury, as has his team-mate Faf Du Plessis.   For the Royal Challengers, Chris Gayle has not scored a run as yet and then had to fly home to Jamaica for the birth of his first child.

Lasith Malinga hobbled on one leg for Mumbai Indians and was told he was not fit enough.   These are the players who have made IPL a spectacular tournament but unfortunately they are missing in action and it has affected the quality.

On the other end of the scale, no exciting talents are yet to emerge. Jasprit Bumrah has tried to fill the void left by Malinga in Mumbai but as the Wankhede crowd will tell you it’s just not the same.   Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya and Manan Vohra have been in the system for couple of years now but have lacked consistency.

It has still fallen on established stars Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Rohit Sharma, Dwanye Bravo and David Warner to brighten up IPL.   There has been the rare onslaught like Chris Morris’ 82 off 31 balls for Delhi Daredevils or Kieron Pollard smashing half-century off 17 balls for Mumbai Indians, but far too little heave-ho six hitting in between.

Perhaps the franchises are becoming predictable or it might be simply a hangover of T20 cricket. Most players have been playing the T20 format now for three months continuously. Most were preparing for the World T20. It means that the players are slightly out of ideas and their innovations are not what we are accustomed to.

In the last few games we have finally seen a few cliff-hanging finishes but the IPL this season needs more than that. They need an emerging quick bowler or another mystery spinner or dynamic batsmen to really take the game by the scruff of the neck because for the first time in a decade there is a monotonous ho-hum feel about the current IPL season.

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