IPL 2021 Teams: Will expanding the IPL help Indian cricket in the long run?

The idea of adding new teams to the Indian Premier League has more pros than cons for Indian Cricket.

Once the 13th season of the Indian Premier League was concluded in UAE earlier this month, the focus has shifted to the next edition which is only five months away. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reportedly looking to add another team to the tournament from next season. There has been no official confirmation but there is a lot of chatter in media for it to not be true.

Along with the addition of a new team, reports are suggesting that BCCI could hold a mega auction before next season. The introduction of a new team could be met with criticism across the globe as the calendar for cricket is already congested next year, so adding more games in IPL does not make sense. However, the expansion of IPL will have a positive impact in the long run and it should be embraced as soon as possible.

Indian young talent gets more exposure at the top level

Mumbai Indians have shown that a strong scouting network can help in building a talented group of Indian players. They managed to scout Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, and Krunal Pandya early. The three players are now the spine of their title-winning squad. Adding one more team will surely provide a bigger platform for young Indian talent to get a chance at the biggest stage.

Playing with international players will prepare them for the rigours of international cricket. Moreover, the larger number of teams will open up the scope of having more international coaches in the tournament. Ricky Ponting and Mahela Jayawardene have already improved so many young players during their coaching stints with Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indian, respectively. The Indian national team will benefit from an additional team in IPL more than anyone while going forward.

High revenue can be invested in domestic cricket

Despite the pandemic, IPL 2020 generated a considerable amount of revenue. There were no fans in the stadium and games were played in the UAE, but it didn’t dent the sponsors from investing in the tournament. Moreover, IPL 2020 was the most competitive edition of the league as the last team in the table finished with 12 points.

Adding one more team to the IPL will make the competition more competitive and increase the revenue streams. More games will mean that BCCI will chip in with extra broadcast revenue, while brands will also have to pay a bigger fee due to an increase in games.

The extra revenue if used wisely, can also benefit the grassroots level of Indian cricket. BCCI will have to make sure that additional money raised from a bigger IPL will help in improving the domestic circuit. Better infrastructure and a stable pay system for domestic players are some of the key areas that need addressing in Indian domestic cricket. The extra revenue generated from a bigger IPL can help in addressing these issues.

Potential coaches also get exposure at the top level

Along with young Indian players, promising coaches in India can also benefit from getting exposure to the IPL. Learning from some of the brilliant minds of cricket during IPL can help in developing good Indian coaches.

With the introduction of the ninth team next season and possibly a tenth team in the future, the opportunities for Indian coaches will increase. They are unlikely to get a big role, but learning from the likes of Ponting, Simon Katich, and Jayawardene can help them in the longer run.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) and other cricketing boards will not be chuffed with the expansion of IPL as it further increased the workload on players and leads to more fixture congestions. However, there is no doubt that the expansion of IPL can have a big positive impact on Indian cricket if the execution of plans is spot on.

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