The 15th edition of the Indian Premier League has recently concluded, with debutant Gujarat Titans lifting the title after defeating Rajasthan Royals on Sunday evening at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. A month-long tournament has ended, and players have less than 10 days to resume their national duties, which will kick start with a five-match T20I bilateral home series against South Africa.
However, former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri believes BCCI should organize two IPL seasons every year by reducing bilateral series, with international cricket being restricted to only the ICC tournaments. While speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Shastri suggested splitting IPL into two seasons. “140 games, split it into 70-70. In two seasons. You never know. That’s the way it’s going to go. That’s the way it’s developed as a beast of property. And you cannot hide away from that,” Shastri said.
Speaking of bilateral series, Shastri shared his own experience as he admitted that there is too much ‘bilateral stuff’ going on in T20 cricket. “I have said that before during my tenure as India’s head coach. I could see it happening in front of my eyes. It should go the football way, where, in T20 cricket, you play the World Cup. Bilateral tournaments – no one remembers,” said Shastri.
Shastri strengthens his stand by citing that fans don’t remember bilateral series for long and confesses that he doesn’t remember a single game in the last six-seven years as coach of India, barring World Cup.
“A team wins the World Cup; they will remember it. Unfortunately, we didn’t, so I don’t remember that either. Where I am coming from is: you play franchise cricket around the globe; each country is allowed to have their franchise cricket, which is their domestic cricket, and then, every two years, you come and play a World Cup,” Shastri opined.
As BCCI has already extended the magnitude of its domestic T20 tournament by including two more franchises, Lucknow and Gujarat, reports have also hinted that the cricket’s apex body in the country is mulling a three-month tournament, with every team playing 18 games in the league phase instead of 14.