‘Sometimes I wonder if IPL is even cricket’: R Ashwin


Image Source : AP R Ashwin spoke about IPL in detail and why it is about a lot more than just cricket

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is in its 17th season and has grown by leaps and bounds through the years. The level of competition given that the biggest of stars feature in it, the dedicated window in the cricketing calendar and the amount of money involved, the IPL is probably the biggest T20 competition in the world right now and even though it has helped the game become popular among the masses across the globe, senior cricketer R Ashwin wondered if IPL is cricket.

Speaking to former cricketers Michael Vaughan and Adam Gilchrist on the Club Prairie Fire podcast, R Ashwin said that when he started playing the IPL he didn’t know that it would become this big in the coming years and that because of the money involved, they end up practising during advertisement and sponsorship shoots.

“As a youngster coming into the IPL, I was only looking to learn from the big stars, I did not think about how the IPL would look 10 years down the line,” Ashwin said. “I can say that, having been in the IPL for so many seasons, the IPL is huge. Sometimes I wonder if IPL is even cricket, because sport takes a backstage (during IPL). It’s so huge. We do end up practising in advertisement shoots and sets! That’s where the IPL has gotten to.”

“No one envisaged the kind of growth that the IPL has had. I still remember a conversation I had with Scott Styris when we were both at CSK. He told me that when he was playing for the Deccan Chargers in the initial seasons of IPL, he did not think the IPL would last for more than two to three years. Initially, there was a big influx of money,” Ashwin, who is currently playing for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL, added.

Over the years, the IPL has not just been a symbol of eye-ball or cash-grabbing opportunity for the players but also a stepping stone to get into the Indian team and showcase one’s leadership skills. Even for the overseas players, apart from the extraordinarily high salaries, it provides a platform for the young ones to make a mark and the established ones to become popular among households by performing on the biggest stage.

Ashwin, who has played for five franchises across 17 seasons of the IPL, has won the tournament twice with the Chennai Super Kings in 2010 and 2011.



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