Cricket is the contest between the bat and the ball. Players work on technique when it comes to batting. While bowlers work on the art of bowling. The game started with the test matches which starts with a morning session. In the morning session, bowl swings a lot. Bowler sets up a batsman by swinging the ball both ways and by bowling an odd bouncer. After confusing (setting up) the batsman by bowling different deliveries, bowler picks up a wicket. On the other end, batsman tries to see off the new ball by defending or attacking the bowler. The day goes on till 90 overs are bowled and there is a great contest between the bat and the ball.
After test cricket, one day cricket was invented. It is a shorter format and in this format, batsman attack the bowler to set the target or to chase down the target in the fifty overs. In one day cricket, a batsman changes his technique a bit and make it somewhat attacking. While a bowler tries some tricks to stop the batsmen from setting up a big total or from chasing down a total.
After one-day cricket, twenty 20 cricket was invented. In twenty 20 cricket, batsmen adopted the more attacking technique to score maximum runs in twenty overs. Bowlers found this format difficult and they brought a huge amount of changes in their art. The scoring rate and the strike rate is higher in this format but that doesn’t make cricket a batsman’s game.
Quality of cricket in IPL
People love to see big shots but if it is going to be only big shots in all the matches then the tournament will become boring. Along with the big shots, people also love to see ball swinging away and the ball coming back in. People love to see batsmen yorked or the bowler uprooting the stumps. People also love to see the ball spinning away and beating the outside edge. They cheer when the batsman is beaten by the flight or the batsman edges the ball which is spinning away. In short, people love to see the contest between bat and ball and IPL provide that contest. IPL provides quality which a fan wants to see in the game of cricket. Quality of cricket is one of the biggest reasons behind the success of IPL.
IPL serves both high and low scoring games. It produces both kinds of matches. Some matches are dominated by the batsmen while some are dominated by the bowlers. IPL produces close, nail-biting finishes which fans love to see. Both high and low scoring games go down to the wire and keep the fans glued to the tournament. Bowlers, batsmen and fielders give their hundred percent on the field and produce top quality cricket. IPL features all the top quality players who play top quality cricket and give fans their money’s worth. With the passage of time, the quality of batting, bowling and fielding has improved and new standards have been set in all three departments.
Quality of batting
From the first game of IPL itself, fans were assured that they are going to witness the quality batting in the tournament. McCullum smashed 158 runs and sent the message about the quality of batting IPL is going to have. When IPL started, the demand from the batsman was to score at the strike rate of 120 to 130. Slowly and gradually, the standards of batting reached to the next level and the strike rate of 150 became normal. Suddenly, franchises started expecting the batsmen to play at the strike rate of rate of 150. The players who were not able to do it were replaced and dropped from the side. For some batsmen, it was difficult to raise the scoring rate. While it was really easy for some batsmen.
For the likes of Gayle, McCullum, DeVilliers, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Pollard, Watson and Bravo, even scoring at the strike rate of 200 is not a big deal. Thus, they always stayed in the tournament. The next generation was trained according to the changed standards. So they didn’t face any difficulty in raising their scoring rate.
Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, Virender Sehwag, Sanath Jayasuriya, Jacques Kallis, Adam Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden, Kevin Pietersen, Micheal Hussey etc have played in IPL. The remaining players of their generation are still playing. These players assure the quality in batting and that quality pull crowds towards the league.
Quality of bowling
Most bowlers think that cricket has become the batsman’s game and batsmen beat them ruthlessly but IPL has proved that batsmen still respect the quality bowlers. Twenty 20 has left a very little margin for errors. In this format, bowlers can’t afford to miss the length by an inch. Considering the ruthlessness of the batsmen, the norms for bowlers are set accordingly. Earlier bowlers were expected to maintain the economy of 6 or 7 runs per over. Now it has been raised to 9 runs per over. The bowlers who maintain the expected economy rate and picks up the wickets stay in the team throughout the tournament. The bowlers who fail to maintain the economy rate are dropped or replaced.
Likes of Sunil Narine, Rashid Khan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Lasith Malinga have maintained the economy of 6 runs per over throughout the tournament. Bowling all-rounders get an advantage. If they fail with the ball then they get the chance to make a comeback with the bat. So it has become necessary for the bowlers to sharpen their batting skills to stay in the competition. Bowlers with some hitting ability have an advantage over the pure bowlers.
Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Glen McGrath, Brett Lee, Zaheer Khan, Jacques Kallis, Muurlidharan, Lasith Malinga, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn etc have played in IPL. These bowlers assure the quality of bowling and that quality pull crowd towards the league.
Quality of fielding
The standards of fielding have also been raised. Athleticism, one-handed catches, stops to save boundaries and converting sixes into catches are the norms today. When IPL started, the pressure used to be on the fielders inside the circle. Not much was expected from the fielders in the deep. Thus, captains used to put their best fielders inside the circle. With the passage of time, focus on athleticism increased. Fielders outside the circle started stopping the boundaries. They started taking the running catches and they even started converting sixes into the catches. In IPL, fielding outside the circle became as important as the fielding inside the circle.
Likes of Yuvraj, Raina, Kohli, McCullum, DeVilliers, Jadeja, Miller, Maxwell have set the IPL on fire with their athleticism. They set the standards for the generations to follow. And the newer generations are following those standards in IPL. Athleticism on the field pulls the crowd towards the tournament and players have made sure that quality in the fielding has been maintained.
Franchises pick only those players who are best in the business. Thus in IPL, the quality is maintained in all three departments of the game.