The Indian Premier League (IPL) has become one of the biggest events on the cricketing circuit, and yet most fans don’t actually have a personal stake in the tournament. It’s the promise of a massive spectacle that brings people to the stands and their TV sets each year. It’s also the promise of big paydays that brings the best players from around the world back each year.
The IPL is a T20 tournament. That means that each game is made up of two teams that bat for twenty overs each. This shortened version of the game is about big hits, high scores and lots of action happening all the time. In fact, players and teams get fined for taking too long to do something.
In the IPL, there are 8 teams that take part in an initial round-robin style tournament. The top teams at the end of this first part of the even move into knock-out matches until only two remain for the final. This last match is usually the biggest spectacle of them all, leading to the winner of the year being crowned.
How It Started
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (more commonly known as the BCCI) created the format for the tournament, using the local franchise teams as the base for teams. With the original eight teams being owned by big names – Bollywood stars, businessmen and media moguls – they were able to entice some of the best players from around the world to join in.
The money was good, and the BCCI used their influence with the International Cricket Council to ensure that no other big cricketing events took place at the same time. This meant that these international players could easily take the time off from their local or national duties to come to India for the tournament.
The very first IPL took place in 2008, kicking off on April 18 and finishing with a final between the Rajasthan Royals and The Chennai Super Kings on June 1. The inaugural winners were the Rajasthan Royals, who were led by Australian bowling legend Shane Warne. The tournament was as popular as fun mobile games and has only grown in the 10 follow-up events that have happened so far.
The following year, the tournament was moved quite suddenly to South Africa. This was due to unrest in India surrounding the general elections that happened in 2009. Every year since, the tournament has been back in India. For 2020, there are talks of moving the tournament to the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IPL has not been without its controversies. There have been a number of incidents where players and teams have been suspended over match-fixing. Three players from the Rajasthan Royals were even arrested in 2013 over spot-fixing.
On a better note, the IPL has also broken records and major boundaries in the cricketing world. In fact, in 2010, the tournament became the first of its kind to ever be streamed live on YouTube.