The Indian Premier League (IPL) has often faced criticism from various quarters. Several former cricketers and fans on social media have openly stated how the tournament is just about money and glamour and is destroying cricket. Those look down on it as well and have often said that the IPL is ‘just not cricket.’
Time and again, though, players who have participated in the tournament have gone on to say how the IPL has benefited them. The most recent example of this is of England opener Jonny Bairstow.
The 29-year-old Yorkshireman had a lucrative IPL 2019 where he represented the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise. Bairstow scored 445 runs in 10 games at an average of 55.62 and was one of the stars of the season. The batsman has now carried over his form for England in their ODI series against Pakistan. In the 3rd ODI of the series, Bairstow’s 128 off 93 balls helped England chase down a massive target of 359 with ease.
After the game, Bairstow, who was the Man of the Match, expressed his gratitude to the IPL and how the experience of playing in the tournament with top players helped him.
Especially his opening partner, David Warner. “You’re able to learn different things from different coaches and different players,” the England opener was quoted as saying to the media. “It’s just little things like game plans. He (Warner) hits in completely different areas to potentially myself. I guess it’s method more than anything else. But learning from them, as well as the guys here, that can only be a good thing playing under pressure with expectation.”
Bairstow’s opening partner Warner is even more indebted to the IPL. Warner has had a great stint with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last few years that has helped him evolve his game and confidence. Last year, Warner couldn’t participate in the tournament as he was serving his one-year ban owing to his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal. However, Warner came back with a bang this season and amassed 692 runs in just 12 games for Hyderabad.
“It’s very important. It is one tournament on the calendar that I’ve always been looking forward to. I’ve had a lot of success over the years from when I first started,” Warner was quoted as saying to an Indian media house before the start of IPL 2019. “From Delhi, I moved to Hyderabad. This is my second home and to come back here to open arms and to be greeted by the fans, some of the passionate and kind words, it means a lot to my family and myself,” he added.
It is apparent that the IPL has benefited several Indian and international players over the years. The likes of Shane Watson, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, David Miller, Shaun Marsh, and Kieron Pollard have all built their reputation or revived their careers courtesy of the IPL.
Yes, the IPL does have its fair share of flaws. But one cannot deny how much it has influenced international cricket and how it continues to be a platform for cricketers from all countries to express themselves and be counted. That is one credit that the tournament rightly deserves.