While the IPL has many plus points, it also has a lot of negatives which have left the purists of the game fuming.
A look at some of them...
Fatigue & Injuries: This one tops the list. The BCCI's stubbornness in not including the IPL as part of the international calendar has led to a lot of cramped schedules. One problem is that the Indian players play the IPL and head straight into another series without enough practice and conditioning for that particular series. It has happened in the past with a T20 World Cup.
Either that or they play the IPL immediately after a series. That happened with an ODI World Cup. Either situations lead to fatigue. In fact playing the IPL after the 2011 WC may have led to a lot of fatigue issues. That and the fact that many injuries were kept under the wraps during IPL that year was one of the factors that led to the infamous 0-8 foreign Test debacle.
Chucking: This is another big issue. Since it's just a domestic T20 tournament, officials and franchisees overlook the all-important issue of chucking. Suspect bowling action is brushed under the carpet.
When Pune Warriors India bowler Marlon Samuels came under the scanner, his captain Sourav Ganguly said there were others who bowled much worse. These are not good signs for the game. Such instances will lower the standards of international cricket also.
Former ace India spinner Bishan Singh Bedi, a long-time advocate of strict action against chucking, says that the IPL has more than a dozen chuckers.
Early retirement: In the past most players tried to prolong their international cricket career as much as possible. Not anymore. Playing two months in a year and making enough money for the entire year is enough for most players.
One of the first players to do so was Aussie Andrew Symonds who chose club over country. He was proving to be a great Test all-rounder, but all that came to a naught. Interestingly, Symonds was quickly out of the IPL too.
IPL has also been the reason for Chris Gayle’s confrontational nature with the West Indies cricket board and he hasn’t played international cricket for more than a year now despite scoring two Test triple centuries.
Another player who gave up his Test career and is quite happy with IPL is Lasith Malinga. It is unfortunate that Malinga’s talents will no longer be seen in the longer format of the game.
Overkill: Even before the IPL was played, India was playing too much international cricket. Fatigue was an issue in the past too. Now we have two more months of intense cricket. If each team plays with each other team even once in the IPL, then it's exciting. Twice is simply too much.
IPL is oversold and the ad rates are way too high. To make matters worse, the ticket prices at the stadiums are simply astronomical. Everyone wants to watch an IPL match which is a short and sweet affair, but most tickets are out of bounds for commoners. As a contradiction, despite the IPL's popularity, stands are empty most of the time.
Discrimination: There is no denying that one of the biggest charms of the IPL is the introduction of foreign players. That gives an international appeal to an otherwise domestic tournament.
But as mentioned earlier, the BCCI refuses to put it as part of the ICC international calendar. Therefore the tournament is held only at India's convenience. Many a times other international tours are going on and players who want to play in the IPL miss out. One should not give such a shoddy treatment to foreign players.
Pakistan is another issue that has not been resolved. The BCCI should go out of its way to include players from across the border. While it may not be safe for Indian players to tour Pakistan, the converse is not true.
This take it or leave it attitude was visible in IPL1 when the BCCI got into tiffs with many other cricket boards across the world.
Threat to other forms: When ODIs made their debut; they were seen as a threat to Test cricket. But both co-existed peacefully. Then international T20s came and that was seen as another threat. But apart from the World Cup, the shortest form of the game has been kept down to a bare minimum in international cricket.
But IPL is a shorter and more exciting format with additions like cheerleaders. A lot of people are now finding Test cricket more boring thanks to that.
Another thing is that IPL and Champions League already take a good part of the international calendar. Former IPL chief Lalit Modi wanted to have two IPLs a year. One wonders how that will go down. Either way it’s a threat.
When you look at football, the World Cup is the centre of attraction every four years, but in between it is club football that rules. One cannot rule out the same thing happening to cricket. With cricketers clearly showing they love club cricket a third T20 tournament could well bring about a big change.
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/