When ODIs came, there were some who said that Test cricket would start dying out. T20s put both ODIs and Tests at risk. But the cricketing world seems to be bigger than what everyone imagined. The number of matches and players who have come to the limelight, thanks to the IPL, is seeing a sharp growth.
As the "IPL over country" debate rages, the actual issue appears to be: T20 over Tests. The number of Test cricketers retiring to prolong their IPL careers is on the rise. The latest is the case of Lasith Malinga, who let go of his career in the longer version of the game when the Sri Lankan board applied pressure over the IPL.
At one end of the spectrum is Aussie legend Shane Warne, who quit Tests way back in 2007, but shows no signs of retiring in the IPL, especially after a fine spell like his 3-16 against Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
At the other end is someone like Shaun Tait, who has played just three Tests in his life and is looking forward to a long IPL career. Test cricket also lost one of its finest all-rounders in Andrew Symonds to the IPL very early on.
We already have a good team of players who chose "Tests over IPL"!
Former IPL chief Lalit Modi had said that the number of teams would be steadily increased to 14 and maybe even 16. There was also talk of two IPLs per year. With the way international players have reacted, that could very well be a viable proposition.
More and more associate players could also come into the fold. While in the recent World Cup, none of the teams outside the Top 8 made it to the quarters, there were a lot of individual talents which could be groomed. If not the ICC, then at least the IPL!
But then what would happen to Test cricket?
When cricketers are tired and fatigued, they can play the IPL, but not Tests!
Perfect combo of age and youth
Before the first season of IPL, a lot of analysts said that it would be a young man's game. But both youth and experience have been going neck and neck. Thatâs showing at the half-way stage.
The leading run scorers are the timeless Sachin Tendulkar and newcomer Paul Valthaty.
The leading wicket-takers are style icon Malinga and old fox Shane Warne.
The contrasts continue as Kumar Sangakkara and Robin Uthappa effected the most dismissals as wicketkeepers.
There was talk of spinners being taken to the cleaners earlier on, but that has also been not the case.
Young or old, pace or not, technique or on-the-spot improvisation, everything is welcome at the IPL!
The IPL and Twitter
Most of the bigwigs in the IPL are very active on Twitter. If you look at Lalit Modi's account, then you could be forgiven for thinking that he's still heading the IPL, for there is talk of absolutely nothing else!
This contrasts with Preity Zinta's Twitter account, which talks of a lot of things, IPL just being one of them.
Latest entrant Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne's girlfriend tweeted:
Just watched my first cricket game & couldn't have enjoyed it more. Except, of course, if we'd won. Next time. Inshallah!
She finally got to be third time lucky, when the Rajasthan Royals downed the Kochi Tuskers in style.
Then there was the Shane Warne tweet that gave away the secret of his current looks...
@ElizabethHurley moisturizer is running out - more please ! More hydrationist as well - its awesome - hope that not pushing the friendship !
IPL has everything from corporate India to Bollywood. All that was missing was Hollywood and Hurley, famous for her role of the devil in Bedazzled! and an Austin Powers flick, has brought that along too.
It was interesting to hear her say Halla Bol! as IPL's powers of globalization continue to march on.
Of course the best tweet of the year remains that sent out by English cricketer Kevin Pietersen...
Just had a lovely lunch with @sidharthamallya & his girlfriend @deepikapadukone.. Thanks for picking up the bill Deepika.. NOT!! Haha
While everyone knew that junior Mallya and Deepika are going around, this seemed like the first official confirmation. Mallya still dismissed the tie-up as something out of Pietersen's British sense of humour!
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/