Cricket’s long-standing battle between bat and ball: Is the IPL money-driven ‘show’ ruining the contest of the game?


The IPL has changed the game of cricket, there is no doubt about that.

Millions of dollars splurged onto players each year, not just rewarding the players for honing their craft but changing lives forever.

But it seems the league has forgotten about the great battle between bat and ball – in fact, this season there is no battle at all.

In terms of dollars, the Indian Premier League is without question one of the biggest tournaments on the planet.

The latest broadcast rights going for more than 8.6 billion dollars – as US media Juggernaut Walt Disney and India’s Reliance Industries claimed the rights.

David Warner of the Delhi Capitals. (Photo by Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

I’m a fan of the IPL, controversial l know, but looking at the evidence provided, the BCCI has taken the literal approach that the league should be an actual TV show rather than a contest.

Just over halfway through the season and there have already been 11 scores over 220.

It’s not every day a team scores 267 in a T20 match and can say they lost comfortably by 25 runs, but for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru they can.

World Cup hero of 2023 Travis Head is certainly loving life in the IPL, averaging 54.00 in six games with a healthy strike rate of 216.

The South Australian jokingly mentioned the possibility of scoring 300 in an innings which highlights how ridiculous these matches have become in recent times.

Even West Indian spin bowler Sunil Narine decided to wind back the clock this season. The veteran turning 36 next month, has tuned out an average of 40.86 striking at 176.54 and adding a century to his resume.

World-class quality bowlers have been given the treatment. Mitchell Starc is a player who prioritised Test cricket for eight years and was bought for a whopping 4.43 million dollars by the Kolkata Knight Riders. However, he has been carted for plenty of runs this season.

From a cricket and statistics perspective, the Aussie quick may have rethought his nomination with hindsight. He has produced an economy rate of 11.54 in his first seven matches getting hit for over 50 on three occasions.

In some matches, you can even see the despair in the face of a bowler who is completely lost for answers on pitches that give absolutely nothing in return.


– He smashed 6,6,0,0,6,4 in an over against Mitchell Starc.????

— Tanuj Singh (@ImTanujSingh) April 21, 2024

A six in a match is supposed to be one of the most exciting parts of any white-ball game for fans, but in the 16th edition of the IPL, a six provides little excitement.

Is this what cricket fans want now?

Call me a dinosaur, but what about the days of Mitchell Johnson terrorising the England side in a heated 2013 Ashes series?

The 2023 Ashes was certainly the right kind of television show where every ball was a contest, an even stoush between bat and ball matched with an electrifying atmosphere.

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The ICC should be cautious about the direction they want the game to go before it turns into a circus.

The concerning part about all of this is that the governing body protecting the sacred game doesn’t seem to know where the game is going either.

CEO of the ICC Geoff Allardice is adamant that T20 cricket is the pathway for the growth of the game.

As the focus seems to be lost for associate nations given the recent cancellation of the Ireland and Australia white-ball series due to the host nation not having adequate funds for it.

At the end of the day any cricket is good cricket, but when it compromises the best part of the game – the battle between leather and willow – then what are we actually watching?

New Zealand
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Fri, 26 Apr 2024, 00:30

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