Has IPL reached its tipping point?

This year's event has highlighted flaws in the system, and raises the question: has a tipping point been reached?

updated: May 31, 2011 15:38 IST
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Since its inception, the IPL has never been sold or bought in half-measures. Its approach has always been full-throttle, top-volume. Appropriately, then, an assessment of season four must avoid waffling around the half-empty or half-full. Is 2011 to be remembered for the fireworks on the final night at the Yellow Sea of Chepauk? Or the acreage of empty stands at the Wankhede three nights in a row, representative of the general spectator turnout of six weeks? The dazzle of Chris Gayle? Or the Shane Warne-Sanjay Dixit skirmish? Or even more, the dramatic drop in TV ratings from last season? Or should it be the clues sent out to the world by the BCCI and Indian players over next month's tour of the West Indies?

Regardless of what its own "stakeholders" choose as the flavour of their season - sagacity or smugness - 2011 will be regarded as the IPL's "Moving Season". If "moving day" in cricket and golf are about momentum swings and the emergence of contenders, IPL's Moving Season will dictate the future course of the event.

They can, of course, opt for the old "if it ain't broke...", and there's much about the IPL that ain't broke. It still remains cricket's golden goose, with generous salary packets for over 200 overseas and Indian players. The IPL's largest financial deals, starting with franchise ownerships and TV revenues, are tied in for another six years. It features the involvement of some of India's largest corporate houses, men and women with deep pockets and both a love of the limelight and a nose for profit. The IPL can still produce several moments of eye-catching cricket - individual blinders, crafty bowling plans, impossible catches, delicious UltraMotion replays of on-field action.

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