Thursday, March 4, 2010


The most unpopular aspect of last year's IPL, arguably, was the introduction of the 7.5 minutes 'strategic break' once in every innings. Most players spoke out against it, just as most spectators hated it. The only ones happy were the advertisers and the stakeholders, for their coffers were being filled.

The 'strategic break' is all set to assume a different strategy this time round. The IPL management has laid down the guidelines for when teams can use their two-and-a-half minute strategic time-out in 2010: the bowling side can ask for the break any time between overs 6 to 8 overs while the batting team can opt for the same anywhere between overs 11 to 16.

Though the report on Cricinfo does specifically mention it, the break is not an optional one. It will have to be compulsarily taken by both the teams (more ads... somebody please help!) twice each during the match.

The most interesting reaction in that report was from TA Sekar, director of cricket for Mumbai Indians: "You cannot do much in such a short time. You cannot reinvent a wheel," he said.

Last year, the breaks resulted in losses of concentration, and we had loads of wickets falling in the 11th over of the innings. But 2.5 minutes is much lesser than  a 7.5 minute break. It's more like a regulation drinks break. Yeah, two drink breaks in a 20-over innings - that's the same number we see in a 50-over innings.

I do not like the idea of strategic breaks since I believe that strategies go out of the window when a Twenty20 match begins. These matches can change in a jiffy by just one inspirational performance. You cannot strategise on how to counter it when you don't even know who is going to come up with such a performance.

The only respite this year is that the spectators will be able to save 5 minutes of their time for every match they view as the aggregate time outs have been reduced from 15 mins per match last year to 10 per match this year. With 57 matches last year, that's a saving of 4 hours and 45 minutes (assuming you follow every match).

In that amount of time saved, IPL has squeaked in another match (the 3rd place playoff), which will be about 3 hours long. So guys, IPL this year is going to be about 1 and three quarters of an hour shorter this year. So don't be surprised if your boss expects you to be more efficient this time round!

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