Can IPL Ever Breed Loyalty?

In a tournament that allows franchises to go for a complete overhaul every three years, barring four or five players who are retained, can team loyalty ever come to roost?

updated: May 07, 2014 11:41 IST
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Buoyed by the deafening noise at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and presumably his own form with the bat, Royal Challengers Bangalore's AB de Villiers followed up his sensational match-winning knock against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday with a rather interesting comment during the post-match presentation. When asked the usual question about what he thought of the home crowd, he started out by saying 'RCB for life' and went on to praise the fan support despite the team's recent poor run of form.

While his reaction was perhaps emotional and instinctive, it puts an interesting thought as far as the Indian Premier League is concerned: Can this format really breed team loyalty?

Modelled on successful franchise sports like the English Premier League (EPL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), IPL started off with an earnest attempt to give Indian cricket fans a taste of city-based competition at a grand stage. Six years on, unfortunately for the IPL, the comparisons with a highly successful EPL, with over 100 years of history, are never ending.

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