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.)