In this, the second part of our series on Cricket, we begin looking at the top T20 franchise leagues that have sprung up around the world. They have brought riches to the game and arguably a new way to think about and approach the longer formats.
The Indian Premier League (IPL)
The original and big daddy of all T20 franchise leagues is the IPL. The IPL is contested by 8 teams who represent 8 cities in India. The league was founded in 2007 and features the very best T20 players from around the world.
Each franchise is allowed a maximum of 4 non-Indian players in their starting 11s, with the other 7 spots being taken by Indians. This has led to a situation where many Indian players are given a chance to shine on the biggest stage. Unsurprisingly then, this has produced a whole host of stars, some of whom have gone on to represent India. A perfect example of this is Jasprit Bumrah. Before the IPL, it would seem unlikely that a bowler with such an ungainly and unorthodox action would get a chance in any Indian international side. However, his devastating displays of fast bowling in the IPL have propelled his career to the point where he now leads the attack for India, not just in T20, but in ODIs and Test matches as well!
Currently, the IPL is made up of Mumbai Indians, Chennai Superkings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals, and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Mumbai Indians are the most successful team so far. They have won 5 IPLs to date.
Delhi have traditionally been the underachievers, but last season they made it to the final, where they lost to Mumbai. India captain Virat Kohli’s Bangalore team are also a franchise that always seems less than the sum of its parts. They will be seeking improvement this term. IPL 2021 is due to restart with CSK vs MI in Dubai on September the 19th!
To be continued…