Does the IPL threaten the future of cricket, particularly test cricket?

16 Jan 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in IPL

lalit-modiFor starters, there are two aspects to this. The purists do believe that the IPL is not just affecting the format of test cricket but is also having its impact on the domestic cricket being played in each country (Considering Lalit Modi plans on having it in different countries each time around).

Young players would want not just to be in the reckoning but also more importantly earn their bread and butter in a much faster and efficient manner.

As far as the future of cricket is concerned the IPL has added a new dimension to cricket. The IPL has attracted eyeballs of every age be it youth, adults, cricket or non-cricket lovers.

Current and former Experts are in full favour of the IPL and rightly so. They believe that the IPL has helped market the game immensely as T20 Is the current hot selling product.

Test cricket, the most coveted format of the game and will always be. Most players would always want to represent their country at the test level. Has this changed? Only time could tell. When the next FTP (future tours programme) is out in 2012 the ICC should ensure that test fixtures do happen. But Test cricket over the years has seen an increased drop in spectators and “SOME” players seem to have lost interest in the format too.

Current West Indies skipper Chris Gayle said that he wouldn’t be too upset if test cricket died out. Andrew Flintoff too, retired from test cricket at the age of 31.

Freddie is also open to the idea of freelancing and after his latest injury setback he may never represent his country at the international level. It’s hard for youngsters to think the purists way when their role models go the way of money.

With the format of the “Cash-rich” IPL coming in players of the age 32-34 now contemplate retirement much earlier rather than what they would have done had the “Cash-rich” IPL not been there.

Take for instance Chris Gayle who prolonged his IPL stint at the cost of skipping his team’s preparations for the tour of England. As a result of this they are able to extend their IPL career but at the cost of representing their country at the test level. However, the IPL T-20 format also ensures that there is a huge turnover of talent and new players will continue to be found.

Lot of cricket boards around the world have been making efforts to “playing at the national level” a first priority. Most notable among these has been the ACB (Australian Cricket Board) who have hiked their pay structure for their players and have been pretty successful in their efforts.

Most importantly, lowering of interest in test cricket was already happening but the IPL is just a contributing factor. However T20 is not just retaining but also generating interest in cricket which was beginning to be termed in Brian Lara’s words “a dying sport and T20 has just added a new lease to it.

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