IPL doesn't need outside validation

Is there too much money in the IPL? Who is to be the judge of that? If the argument is that fat pay cheques have made players complacent and focused only on the short form, I'd have to disagree.

updated: March 28, 2013 13:16 IST
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The headline for an article on The Guardian's website says it all - "The IPL is back. Do we still need to be afraid?" The comments below it illustrate the chasm between those that see the five-day game as the pinnacle and those more attuned to the rhythms and beats of Twenty20. There is almost no common ground, and the coverage you read of cricket's richest event over the next two months is also likely to be black-and-white, with no shades of grey.

In the first three seasons of IPL, encompassing games in India and South Africa, I must have reported on about 60. And while I'd be lying if I said that I have any Kolkata 2001-style memories of games, they were fun to watch and write about. If you were there to make comparisons with Test cricket, you could find a lot that was wrong. But if you watched it as a separate entity - the cricket equivalent of Futsal or Rugby Sevens - there was much to enjoy.

Ultimately, the worth of any sport as a spectacle depends on the quality of those on the field. The IPL had plenty of that. Even if the skirmish was restricted to just eight balls, there was much to savour in a Warne-Tendulkar contest - the inside-out cover-drive and the perfectly pitched legbreak that turned subtly enough to beat the flamboyant flick. How could you not watch Dale Steyn squaring up to Graeme Smith, or Brett Lee steaming in to Matthew Hayden?

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