For nine years now, cricket fans in India have been treated to T20 extravaganza with the Indian Premier League. Well, if for you 'more-is-better', then there is some good news. BCCI is planning to hold a mini-IPL, abroad, in September, according to a report in Times of India.
The report says the BCCI has been keen on idea of a mini-IPL in the September slot, which isn't a jam-packed time for Test cricket in the calendar, since the Champions League T20 was scrapped.
"It can be a great testing ground for what is possible in terms of reaching out to the Indian fan base abroad. It can be made financially viable if a market like the US is explored. Frankly, if the broadcaster finds it appealing then a lot of things fall into place," the TOI report quoted a source.
BCCI was in-fact planing to hold a mini-IPL with the existing franchises in tow last year, but could not go ahead with the plans.
A T20 competition on foreign soil could be an exciting prospect for fans living abroad, as seen in the All-Stars cricket tournament, which was held in the US. The teams, led by cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne had star cricketers in their roster, the likes of Virender Sehwag, Wasim Akram, Kumara Sangakkara, Sourav Ganguly, and it proved to be a hit. In 2014, the IPL got a good response when the first half of the tournament was shifted in the UAE because of elections.
IPL, despite numerous controversies involving its first chairman Lalit Modi and then the infamous spot-fixing scandal, has continued to be a popular competition which attracts the biggest stars of the game. It is still widely watched on television and is followed by cricket fans world-wide. So the idea of a mini-IPL, one that lasts for a shorter duration and could feature new teams, is a lucrative one.
However, the year has seen a boom in T20 cricket preceding the World T20 which was hosted in India and proved to be a great success. Not only did India play T20 Down Under, but also hosted a T20 series against Sri Lanka and took part in the Asia Cup, which was converted into the T20 format.
The premier T20 competition was followed by the ongoing IPL. In a T20-heavy season, will people be willing to see more of the shortest format of the game? Questions will also be raised about players facing burnout and fatigue due to excess of cricket in the calendar, especially with India's upcoming big home season, where they host New Zealand, England and Australia. It remains to be seen if a mini-IPL will be welcomed by players and fans alike.