As the eighth edition of Indian Premier League concluded with the Mumbai Indians taking home the crown for the second time post a massive 41-run victory over two-time champions Chennai Super Kings, the IPL fever is refusing to die out among cricket fanatics. Despite being a punching bag for critics, who see it as nothing but cheap commercialisation of the game, the ground reality is strikingly different with its ever surging viewership according to TAM ratings.
The tournament continues to be hugely popular among children, who are not bothered by the controversies surrounding the tournament and watch it to get their dose of entertainment. The conclusion of this season, however, has created a void and has left many miserable as no major sporting tournament is scheduled to catch their fancy anytime soon, India being majorly a cricket loving nation.
Sarthak Saini, 16, has mixed feelings over the ending of this season. He is ecstatic as his favorite team has taken the title, but at the same time gloomy as the good times have ended. “This season of the IPL has been special as my favourite team has won the title. But there is nothing interesting to catch up on television now,” he said. His opinion is similar to that of Vaibhav, 15, a CSK fan and budding cricketer. He said, “Although CSK eventually lost, overall the tournament has been exciting. I have watched almost every match since the beginning of my summer holidays and now the rest of my vacation is going to be quite boring.”
On the other hand, Ayachi, 22, does not care much.” I supported KKR and lost interest in the tournament once they were out. I am disappointed, but hope to see them buckle up for next season. Being a sports aficionado, I have much to look forward to with the French Open in tow”, she said.
The Indian Cricket team has a packed schedule this year. The team would be heading to Bangladesh for a test and then leave for the Zimbabwean shores in July to play a bilateral series comprising three One Day Internationals and two T20 ventures. However, both these series cannot match up to the excitement of IPL for youngsters. However, 15-year-old Smriti Jha said: “I am waiting for the series against Pakistan in December as that promises some real action.”
The reason for IPL’s high popularity among children seems to be its perfect amalgamation of cricket,
glamour and entertainment. The tournament also gives fans a chance to see their favorite players from across the world on the same platform. “Although IPL cannot compete with other formats of Cricket in terms of standard, still I like it because it gives me an opportunity to see the likes of Kohli, De Villiers and Gayle playing together”, said Sanjeev,19, a diehard RCB fan. Since its inception, the tournament has been raising bars and has touched pinnacle this year. Although the cricket extravaganza has ended for this session, it promises to be back with a bang next year. Wait for the action!