How Has IPL 2018 Fared Compared To The Previous Editions?

Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Umesh Yadav Bowled during the IPL T20 match against Rajasthan Royals at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur , Rajasthan, India on 19th May,2018.(Photo by Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

How Has IPL 2018 Fared Compared To The Previous Editions?

It’s almost time for the final curtain of cricket’s own extravaganza – the IPL. As always, that was a lot of cricket to cope with. Albeit tiresome to watch on a continual basis, one cannot deny the influential brand it has become over the years and arguably hit it’s crest this edition with some remarkable ‘Star India’ coverage.

It is only fair to pen down the viable reasons for the same. It would be an understatement to assume that Star network hit a bulls-eye with its brand new introduction of ‘Dugout panel’ which is strikingly similar to the BBL commentary panel. Experts from all over the world were brought up over the weeks to call the game which included a star-studded list of Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd, Kumar Sangakkara, Graeme Smith, just to name a few.

This turned out to be a gargantuan success and well received among the masses. Important to discern the fact that this was done in parallel to the usual world feed which gave the option for a viewer to pick his own choice of game narration (inclusive of some native flavour in languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi). That is a win, right there. Embracing the Digital World: Star Network’s digital platform, Hotstar live streamed all the IPL matches. Yes, people were just a click away from having all the entertainment on their mobile phone. This turned out to be another masterstroke with some stupendous viewership record.
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To top it off, Tom Leighton, Ceo of Akamai, tweeted that the Qualifier 1 established a global benchmark with 8.26 million concurrent viewers on the Hotstar platform which he also termed as the world record. In all fairness, we can expect the same to be broken for the VivoIPL finale.

The current edition is already touted to be the most competitive IPL of all time. And that wouldn’t be wrong considering the Playoff teams were decided only after the last league game. With SRH and CSK getting an early qualifier berth, all the other teams were locking horns for that precious playoff berth until the last week of the league games except for DD (let’s not cry over the spilt milk).

Embracing DRS, which is a no-brainer eventually. But this turned out to be a significant move considering how the umpiring standards hit new low this IPL season. Though the DRS helped overturn plentiful howlers, the overall umpiring came under severe scrutiny with fans expressing displeasure from various parts of the world. It is up to BCCI or IPL to bring in more competitive umpires in coming years to efface the stain, the substandard umpiring has caused for the brand IPL.

Yet another triumph IPL endured during this edition is the successful organisation of a women’s IPL exhibition game. Though the timing of the game (scheduling to play at 2 pm in Wankhede under scorching sun) and lack of the crowd support attracted significant flak, the solitary purpose of organising the feat is to show the broadcast partners and sponsors that it is monetarily viable. So this game potentially set in motion, the things that may result in an IPL for women soon, which would be a landmark for women cricket.
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That is enough positives. Now about the other side of the coin. There is always a room for improvement and IPL is no different. Here are our few cents on the same. An IPL game that starts at 8 PM IST is supposedly ending at 11.30PM-12.00AM IST on daily basis. That effectively means, an IPL game usually takes around 4 hours to complete.

This is shocking, thanks to the sponsor-pleasing ‘Strategic Timeout’ and lack of strict penalising of captains for poor over rate. As stated earlier, substandard umpiring turned out to be such a bad omen for IPL. This needs significant improvement especially the Indian faction of umpires. Overall the IPL has been a tremendous success story this season, and it will only get better. In the meantime, we will continue to ponder about what the newly introduced ‘The Hundred’ holds for us.

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