The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Media and entertainment go hand in hand with the audience and the general public. And especially if it is something as big as the Indian Premier League, popularly known as IPL. Over the years since its debut, IPL has transformed and become the face of overseas cricket and a perfect example of solidarity, communal harmony, and friendly sportsmanship.
The Indian market has various recreational brands and services like state tourism, the Bollywood industry, Breakout escape room, reality show, drama companies, etc., that provide excellent services to the masses. But IPL has managed to surpass the limelight and emerge as the most-popular entertainment brand. It is as if the rest of the world is falling behind it.
But what did the magic in this annual series that runs for only a couple of months is the participation of overseas cricketers. Their charisma and stardom have pulled fans to the grounds and screens. They have exploited their talent to showcase their skills to get the best out of this glamorous and lucrative event. So let us look at the availability of cricketers from other countries and how they have handled their national schedules to accommodate themselves for IPL 2022.
Despite the confirmation from Australia’s selection chair George Bailey, the nation has not released its players for IPL due to the national team’s involvement with their ongoing Pakistan tour. And only after the national players finish playing will they join the Indian league, that is, after a maximum of two weeks. This hold is accountable for the players irrespective of their current squad’s actions. As a result, we will have to wait till April 5 to see players like David Warner, Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins, and Glen Maxwell in action.
New Zealand Cricket concluded in 2010 that null participation in IPL would sabotage their already diminishing pool of cricket players. So they allowed their players to form contracts with the franchise and participate in the game overseas. Their 12-contracted players, with the captain Kane Williamson have chosen to play in IPL 2022 instead of the home white ball series. This game with the Netherlands had schedules from March 25 to April 14.
In 2008, the year of IPL’s inauguration, Dimitri Mascarenhas was the only player to participate from England. The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) couldn’t find any common ground for inviting players from the England team to play in IPL as ECB also wanted some Indian players to participate in their T20. And since Dimitri had no contracts with the ECB, he became the sole participant. But now, in 2022 IPL, we have 11 players auctioned by the franchise.
Since the Afghanistan team completed their tour with Bangladesh on March 5 and have another with Ireland only in the coming July, their players have participated in the 2022 IPL franchise. We have Rahmanullah Gurbaz replacing Jason Roy in the team Gujarat Titans, and that makes a total of 5-Afghan players this season.
Sri Lanka ended their tour with India for a test match series in Bangalore to participate in IPL 2022. And their match with Australia doesn’t start until June. So we are bound to see their 5-contracted players as active participants throughout the games of this season.
Bangladesh has test duties with South Africa till April 12. And the national board, called the Bangladesh Cricket Board, refused to release Taskin Ahmed as a replacement for the injured Mark Wood. As a result, we have only one player, Mustafizur Rehman, in DC for this IPL season who will miss his first match as he is with the ODI squad in South Africa.
West Indies has the largest overseas contingent with the IPL. As many as 14 players have contracts to play in the 2022 season of the franchise. But 3-players, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, and Kyle Mayers, are booked for national duties with test matches against England organized to continue till March 28. So we can expect them to feature in the game after they return from their tour, and it will probably cost them only a few matches.
South Africa cricket board CSA has the policy to release its contracted players for the IPL. But the cricket stars gave a test for loyalty when the Bangladesh home series tournament clashed with the dates as it was scheduled to continue till April 12. And despite the words of the captain Dean Elgar, the players chose the IPL franchise over the Bangladesh games. Cricket SA defended this action in a state of its helplessness, saying it is its responsibility to balance its players’ livelihood opportunities and national duties.
Many boards had initially maintained their distance from the lucrative T20 IPL franchise. But they later realized that not releasing their players might become detrimental to their nation’s cricket image in the long run and bring a clash of ideals and interest in their national players. After all, IPL majorly thrives on the overseas players’ participation, for without their presence, this franchise and league would not be as it is today.