The 10th season of the IPL came to its conclusion with the Mumbai Indians lifting the trophy for the third time. Witnessing a variety of controversies and dramas all through its existence the IPL still managed to survive for a decade. Many nations under the impression of the immense monetary and public success of the league have started their own domestic T20 league namely the Pakistan Super League, Bangladesh Premier League etc. The emergence of these new leagues has flooded the schedules of the star cricketers whose demands are high in every league like Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers etc. While such leagues create a platform to nurture the young talent of a nation, they too serve some adversities as well.
IPL along with the other leagues in the recent years have filled the whole year schedule which has made it tough for the boards to arrange the international series. India does not play any series from April to June. This year too, the Champions Trophy has been scheduled in June because of the IPL. With the end of the Champions Trophy, Natwest T20 blast will be starting in England but India will be playing West Indies in an away tournament. This kind of scheduling overload has been a headache for the cricket boards for a few years now and does not seem to be resolved to date.
The ICC had proposed a Future Tours Programme in February which discussed an inclusion of a 12-team Test tournament running for 2 years and a 13-team ODI tournament running over 3 years. The full members of the ICC met to discuss the FTP proposal in April in Dubai and identified a number of issues with the calendar.
“In summary, the schedule developed by members is too congested, and the competition models that CEC [chief executives committee] identified in February cannot be recommended to the ICC Board for approval if they are to be accompanied by this schedule,” Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager cricket, wrote in an assessment of the schedules seen by ESPNcricinfo.
“The windows for domestic T20 leagues (other than IPL) are relatively new, and have contributed to there being insufficient time available,” Allardice wrote. “In particular, a 6-week block for the new CSA T20 league, and an 8-week block for the expanding PSL have made the scheduling of international competitions more difficult. These windows have been positioned at a time when the majority of Members are looking to host their international cricket during the October to March period.”
This IPL witnessed the absence of the English, New Zealand and Bangladesh players as they had to leave for international duty before or during the tournament. Indian cricketers are restricted from participating in other T20 leagues. BCCI holds tough regulations on this matter. This decision was taken with several aspects in consideration. The BCCI did not want any more problems with Indian international matches as two months were already being taken by the IPL. Also being a high-intensity game with matches being more frequent, the T20 leagues often tend to increase the risk of players sustaining an injury. Moreover, this decision was taken also to prevent monetary losses to the board because of lesser international matches.
One of the major examples of the effects of the T20 leagues on the international stage could be the West Indies team missing the Champions Trophy this year for the first time ever. It is surely not the case that the West Indians lack talent or skill to be in the top 8 of the ICC rankings. But there contribute several other factors that have caused their decline in the 50 over format. Many Caribbean players have been in dispute with their board for low salaries in international than T20 leagues. They have always been on the top preference of the league franchises. They, therefore, prefer playing the leagues over playing for their nation. The West Indian board has been facing this problem for several years now and have not been able to retain players in their team. They are now ranked 9th below Pakistan and Bangladesh in ODIs.
Adding to these issues, there are more problems that the players need to cope with while playing for the leagues. As mentioned above, the schedules of these leagues are highly packed which hardly give any time for recovery to players. Playing plus traveling plus adjusting to new locations can be very strenuous for the body. This adds to the possibility of injuries to the players. This threatens their availability and fitness for the national team.
Football has been carried out in this format for years together with fewer international matches and only accommodating major competitions in the middle or after the league season. Cricket is currently trying to make adjustments to secure both national and international interests.