Needed: An Indian Plate League

The problem with the IPL is that there is little disincentive for doing badly. There are a total of eight teams. Each of them has a reasonable number of saleable cricketers. These cricketers’ salaries are orthogonal to their skills, and their expected contribution to the game. Irrespective of how badly a team does, the one-team-per-city rule means that there are enough people who will support it. That there is only one game at a time means that everyone will watch it, irrespective of how you do.

(I had writtne a lot more but for some reason it didn’t get saved due to some connection issues. so re-writing; may not come out too well)

The argument here is that there is no disincentive in the IPL for not doing well. However badly you do, you get the same television audience (maybe slightly lower). You get in crowds for your home games. You have a natural support base which is sticky. The players want to do well, yes. But from the point of the team owner, revenue maximization is not really correlated with performance.

Hence we need an Indian Plate League. 8 more teams slugging it out in a division below. Every year bottom 2 teams of Premier and top two teams of Plate swap places. Plate games happen on same days as Premier, maybe at a less attractive time. The 8 Plate teams that will be initially sold can evven be from the same cities as the existing Premier teams (not all of them of course – some of the larger hitherto unrepresented cities – such as Ahmedabad – deserve teams) – and that will put more pressure on teams to do well – since there is no guaranteed support base.

Existence of a Plate League, and the concept of relegation will mean huge losses for a team that goes under. Obviously not as many people will watch Plate games compared to Premier. Gate receipts might also be lesser – but it need not be since some cities which are still not served by the IPL will come into the picture then. Merchandise sales for the plate teams will also be much lower – kids wouldn’t want to run around wearing jerseys of “loser” teams. And there is also the reputation risk for the owners if their teams go under.

All in all, the existence of a second rung and the concept of relegation and promotion will definitely increase the quality of cricket on offer. Team owners will now suddenly have to make sure their teams perform, and greater care will be taken in team selection, strategy, etc. Quotas will go, and players will come in on merit (the <=4 foreigners rule should remain, though – thatz the only way Indian youngsters will be able to benefit from the IPL). Ridiculous concepts such as picking teams based on talent hunts will go. Teams will become more serious about the whole tournament.

Of course there will be opposition from the owners of the existing teams, since the threat of relegation will automatically reduce all of their valuations. However, for the sake of quality of cricket, and to make the event more sustainable, the BCCI would do well to create a plate league – after all, that is going to bring in more money also, right?

(once again i apologize for the quality of writing in this post. The original that I’d written got wiped out due to a horrible netwrok (some problem wiht my wifi). This is the recreation of what I intended to say. The thought remains, but not the expression.)

19 thoughts on “Needed: An Indian Plate League”

      1. I agree….I guess I didn’t express myself clearly. My notion was that, chutiya kaam ~ sub standard work, and since you said that you didn’t match your intended quality of writing……..

  1. I think this could be done just as well with a larger league, with ~20 teams and a longer post-season. Currently, the teams that make it to the finals only play 2 more matches than the worst-ranked team. A post-season with, eg quarter-finals in addition to semis and more than one match per quarter- or semi- final in the style of the Champion’s League will mean that the better teams get to play significantly more matches than the bad ones, and hence more TV audiences.

    1. post season will be boring. who will want to see teams take on each other in best of seven semifinals? (that’s what I notice happens in the NBA)

      anyways now that the ICL players will become official, room arethere for more teams.

  2. I like the idea.

    It will also mean more opportunity for previous-unheard-of players to showcase themselves – there are truckloads of players both in and outside the IPL who might be future stars, but don’t get the chance to play because of various reasons.

    In turn, this will mean a lot for the game, because there will be more Kamran Khans – there will be a profession called ‘cricket scouts’ a la baseball scouting. Pakistan, SL and Bangladesh (and from recent efforts, Afghanistan) will become prime scouting territory for scouts (like Cuba used to be for baseball scouts).

    World peace will ensue. Way too much cricket will happen. Lalit Modi will get richer and more arrogant.

  3. A plate division cannot be played simultaneously with the IPL [a la EPL,championship].And it can not support any foreign based player because scheduling the international calendar will become too cumbersome then.
    Nor will it have any Indian international.So it will only be a glorified ranji like league.Plus when the trp of the ipl is reported to be dropping already do we need a second division?

    1. why can’t it be played simultaneously? play it on same days at non-peak hours. no TV audience but enough people follow it on cricinfo etc.

      as for TRP – threat of relegation menas teams will play better cricket, so more TRPs

  4. I dont think there is space for 8 more teams or franchises. What is certainly possible is 4 teams. A total of 12 teams. Pune, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Baroda, Cuttack are some candidates. 2 of the 4 can qualify basis a league tournament. 12 games hosted on a home and away basis. this will take just 2 weekends – friday saturday and sunday. Shouldn’t be that much of a hassle – and TRP/ gate receipts will be reasonable.
    International cricketers – might be an interesting issue – but it will certainly lead to a lot of transfers and so on. Worth a try. But I dont know why Modi needs to do anything. He is rich, arrogant and when the IPL returns to India, whatever noises that are currently there abt TRP, lack of crowds, too much cricket etc, will disappear.

    1. actually ICL can be made the plate division of IPL – of course they’ll be affiliated to BCCI and not to Zee.

  5. Interesting. But even without the relegation, there would be a definite dent in earnings of certain teams (could read KKR or BRC) – fewer and cheaper sponsorships next year, lower merchandise sales and eventually lower gate reciepts (when IPL returns to india).

    Infact, after this weekend’s grand prix, have been thinking there should be multi league system in F1 as well. Atleast that’ll put fear of god in Ferrari and make them put up a fight with the current car, rather than give up on this season and prepare for the next! However, an F1 plate league is just as likely as an IPL plate league – not very likely.

  6. Won’t happen da. Only the name has been derived from European footer. Modi has taken all the other fundaes from Amrikan sports.

    Having knockouts after a league, the strategy break (its a bit like the two minute warning in fraud footer), etc.

  7. who will want to see teams take on each other in best of seven semifinals?

    Who will want to see more Cricket, you mean? Srsly?

    Anyway, you don’t need to have best-of-seven in the postseason. The example I gave was Champion’s League, which has home and away legs for semis and quarters, as you well know.

  8. No TV audience = no money.No money = unsustainable.And i am not sure if anyone will follow it on cricinfo either.How many of us follow the Ranji regularly?
    And assuming IPL does not get out of india in future playing a match every two days in the sun is not really possible is it.
    Also in my opinion,there are not many other indian players out there to form eight more teams.
    Most of the teams are fighting tooth and nail this season as is reflected in the points table.

  9. So will relegation improve the cricket doubtful..but it surely will lead to owners making panic decisions to fire coaches/replace captains etc.

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