The Indian Premier League, popularly known as IPL, is one of the most entertaining and sparkling events in the cricketing world today. Having started way back in 2008, it received great viewership as cricketers from all around the world played this league. Popularity reached new heights and there was a meteoric rise in the diverse group of fan following which the game attracted .Needless to say, the IPL has influenced many Indian fans. But still I would say that IPL’14 may well see a decline in popularity due to some important reasons.
The Fixing and Betting Scandal
From six months or so, many controversies related to spot-fixing and betting has risen which has played its part in declining the popularity to some extent. It all began when 3 Rajasthan Royals players named S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested in Mumbai. Everybody was shocked and depressed as the memories of 1999 Match-fixing scandal began to haunt the Indian cricket die-hard fans, again!
Big names continued to pop up, in the investigation, in the form of Vindu Dara Singh, Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan team owner Raj Kundra. Gurunath, the son in law of BCCI president N Srinivasan and the CSK team principal, was arrested for gaining team and pitch information. Suspicions were also raised against CSK captain, more importantly the Indian captain, MS Dhoni.
During the Indian team’s press conference, before the flight to England for the champions Trophy 2013, MS was asked questions about his possible friendship with Vindu Dara Singh. That was really shameful on the part of the journalist. Dhoni, rightly, didn’t speak a word to such questions and returned home with the ICC Champions trophy.
Few days back, the Supreme Court allowed Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals to play the upcoming IPL and has also removed N Srinivasan as the BCCI head till the IPL ends. MS Dhoni has also expressed disappointment to Srinivasan and has proposed to remove himself from captaining the Chennai team. Not only Dhoni, but every other Indian fan is depressed in hearing his name so often in the fixing scandal.
It seems as if Satan, himself, has descended over this year’s IPL ,as nothing is going perfect at the moment. To add salt to the wounds, the upcoming Lok Sabha elections have made the IPL to shift to the Middle-East. The first phase will be held in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah which will comprise 20 games. Then there is a possibility to shift the IPL back to India from 2nd May. So for all those who wanted to see their big stars in the stadium will be saddened and will be waiting for the IPL to come back to India.
It’s ironic, to say the least, if IPL is played in places like Sharjah, which holds the origins of Match fixing over the years.
The hype of booking advance tickets and getting ready with your team’s jerseys will not be there for some weeks. The excitement of watching some great overseas players, closely, will be absent. So all in all I feel that this year’s IPL will lead to a decline in popularity but if everything goes safe and sound, then this magnificent cricket league will be back with a bang in the year 2015!