Indian Premier League Ushers Cricket Into a New Era

by : Dharmendrasinh Rathod

Indian Premier League Ushers Cricket into a New Era : The world is to witness the commencement of a new era in the game of Cricket as the Indian Premier League (IPL) takes off on April 18,2008.

The 59 game event which is scheduled to be played over a period of 44 days has already attracted $2 billion in Franchise fees, television rights and sponsorships, even before the first ball is bowled. The T20 format, which has gained in popularity in a short span of under five years, has been adopted for the tournament.

The competition has recieved recognition from the International Cricket Council(ICC) and will feature privately owned teams instead of those representing national or local Cricket associations. It has been planned on the lines of Football Leagues in Europe and Baseball Leagues in the US which rate high on popularity and involves huge money.

Sony Entertainment Television India Ltd and the Singapore based World Sports Group have bought the television rights for $918 million for a period of ten years. The title sponsorship has been bagged by DLF for $50 million.

The tournament opener tonight will feature Bangalore Royal Challengers led by Rahul Dravid and the Kolkata Knight Riders captained by Saurav Ganguly. The 55000 capacity Chinnaswamy Stadium at Bangalore is believed to be sold out for the opening fixture.

Ganguly's squad has the likes of Ricky Ponting and Chris Gayle to boast off while Bangalore has Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher on its roster.

The winners of the Finals slated to be played on June 1 will take home a prize money of $1.2 million.

The T20 format has climbed the popularity chart very swiftly due to its result oriented format which concludes in three hours, in contrast to the other forms of the game spanning the whole day or as much as five days.

The game is believed to be an ideal contender for the promotion of the game worldwide. It would also appeal to other countries looking to adopt the game.

Contrary to various arguments raised against the new format and the league system, there are reasons to believe that the three versions of the game can co-exist together. In fact, the T20 version is set to gain grounds round the world at a brisk pace.

Let us all wish the very best for this our beloved and the great game of Cricket.