Former India captain Rahul Dravid strongly believes that the Indian Premier League (IPL) is “ready for expansion” in terms of the number of teams without compromising both the quality and quantity of talent available in the country. There are talks that the IPL will feature nine teams for 2021 instead of eight, and will go to 10 teams by 2023, which has always been BCCI’s long-term plan.
Dravid, who is now the director of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), was echoed by Rajasthan Royals co-owner Manoj Badale, who said a nine-team IPL in 2021 is “certainly possible”.
“I think IPL is ready for expansion in terms of talent, if you look at it from a talent perspective. There are a lot of talented players who don’t get a chance to play.”
Dravid said that if there are more teams, all talented players can be fitted and there will be no loss of quality.
“So I think we are ready because there are a lot of new names and faces in terms of talent perspective,” said Dravid during the virtual launch of Badale’s book ‘A New Innings’, which he teamed up with former England cricketer Simon Hughes wrote.
Badale, as a stakeholder in the IPL, welcomed the idea of expansion and also discussed several aspects to consider.
“BCCI has to make a decision and they will make an appeal as to what the exact approach would be.
“Making a competition of nine teams in 2021 is certainly possible, but as a result you will need to have more afternoon games and maintain the quality of the competition,” said Badale, a British citizen of Indian descent.
Dravid, for his part, explained why Mumbai Indians are such a prolific team, winning an unprecedented five IPL titles in 13 editions.
“They (MI) have a strong core with high quality. Their core is built with world class T20 players and balanced with young exciting talent. They have a very strong scouting structure,” said Dravid.
He said it is thanks to IPL that someone like Rahul Tewatia from Haryana has been able to show off his skills to a global audience.
‘You used to depend only on your state association to select yourself for the Ranji Trophy. Now, from a state like Haryana producing as many quality spinners as Yuzvendra Chahal, Amit Mishra, and Jayant Yadav, Tewatia would have had limited opportunities.
“So it is no longer limited to state associations,” said Dravid.
He talked about the boisterous feeling of playing international cricket without actually playing one that the IPL offers.
“As coaches, we can help the young players on their travels, but what helps them grow is experience. Look at a Devdutt Padikkal hitting next to Virat Kohli or learning from AB de Villiers.”
Another aspect in which the IPL has helped young players is the availability of valuable data to improve their game.
“Look at someone like T Natarajan. Because of the quality of the data, he was able to go back to work on his yorker and that one skill has now brought him into the Indian team,” he said.
According to Dravid, the past decade (2011-2020) has been India’s best in terms of white ball cricket and the IPL has contributed with the fitting slogan ‘talent meets opportunity’.
“It is India’s best performing decade in white ball cricket. We won a World Cup (2011), Champions Trophy (2013) and reached the semifinals and finals of World T20. Young players have learned a lot to watch and listen to experts. TV, ”he said.
Topics mentioned in this article