When the Indian Premier League arrived in 2008 not many purists of the game were of the view that the shorter version of slam bang cricket would create such an impact in India . Conceived and executed with precision by one and only Lalit Modi, the flamboyant founder and commissioner of the league in the first three years and backed by BCCI president Sharad Pawar, the league has indeed come a long way and the brand IPL has just got bigger.
It is pertinent to note that Twenty20 league idea was not BCCI’s idea at the first place . It was Subhash Chandra’s ZEE ICL with Legendary all- rounder and 1983 World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev at the helm that the first sign of Twenty20 league came to the fore. A worried BCCI rattled by ZEE’s ambitious venture decided bring out a league in much grander and bigger way then ZEE. BCCI acted in a ruthless manner, it banned players associated with ICL and did not give them proper stadiums to play. As a result the league faded away soon after two years 2007- 2009.
The BCCI then gave the license to run the league to Lalit Modi , the flamboyant vice- president from Rajasthan. Appointed chairman and commissioner of the IPL , Modi with his personal rapport managed to bring under one roof India’s biggest Businessmen and Bollywood stars to own teams . Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan became the co- owner along with actress Juhi Chawla of the Kolkata Knight Riders , Dimpled beauty Preity Zinta along with former beau Ness Wadia became co- owner of the Kings XI Punjab . India’s richest man Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani had a team – Mumbai Indians and UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya had his own team Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Now in exile in London but Lalit Modi will always be synonymous with IPL just like former PM Dr Manmohan Singh’s name is synonymous with economic reforms. It may be noted that the Government’s of the day despite been wary have stuck to economic reforms even if it was not smooth with host of problems on the way and stirring controversies.
IPL on the other hand too has withstood several controversies and has survived. It is the perennial punching bag for the media moment the national team falters in major series or a major championship. Debates on Prime Time would see anchors at their aggressive best demanding IPL be banned at the slightest controversy. Despite these pressures, it has endured and now after ten years the brand IPL is the baap of all leagues in India.
Young and old , men and women flocked the stadiums braving the heat and humidity be it in Rajkjot, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata and ensured that the league is a smashing success. Just look at the crowds at the venues and the enthusiasm. IPL has made it impact. And is here to stay.
Bollywood actress Preity Zinta who is quite upfront had this to say on the 10 years of the IPL . From how the IPL started and where it has reached today, it has become a global brand,” Zinta told PTI. Zinta said that one should thank Lalit Modi being a game-changer of sorts presenting IPL to the people of India. “We definitely need to acknowledge and thank Lalit Modi because it was truly him, he has been a maverick to actually think about it and take IPL to where it was and single handedly in some ways. Whenever we (as owners) had any issue or any problem we would go to him and he would solve in five minutes, which was incredible.”
She said when IPL started the whole idea was that apart from churning out talent, it entertains everyone from women to children from, grandmother to grandfather entire family should watch it.
“Ten years later, everybody watches it, so it’s incredible. Younger domestic talent has come up and has become so much confident playing along side the international players. This has had positive impact on the performance of the Indian team also,” she said.
The tenth edition of the IPL 2017 could not have had a better finish with a thrilling final. Mumbai Indians held on their nerves and clinched a 1- run win over The Rising Pune Supergiant in the final. It was Mumbai Indians third IPL crown. Only CSK and KKR have two titles.
Next year in 2018 the IPL is set to be more exciting as two teams Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals return while this year’s IPL was the last for the two sides- Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant.
Besides the return of CSK and RR what will be more exciting will be that all the players will be going under the hammer. So who heads where next year no one knows. Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma , has already indicated that he would like to retain all his players next year and would like to stay on with Mumbai Indians. Delhi boy Gautam Gambhir , skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders has indicated he would like to end his IPL career with Delhi Daredevils while Mahendra Singh Dhoni is likely to lead Chennai Super Kings all over again.
Whether these happens or not or players like Rohit , Gauti and MSD get their wish or not only time will tell . But one thing is certain Indian Premier League is now part of the Indian cricket fan psyche and they eagerly look forward to it nowadays and simply love the Vitara Breeza glam shots year after year. No wonder one of the taglines of the IPL was perhaps apt when it said – Yeh hai India ka Tyohaar ( This is the festival of India) .