Sunday, September 5, 2010

IPL'S NEW FORMAT MAKES EVEN LESSER SENSE

IPL Governing Council has decided on what the new format for the Season 4 in 2011 is going to be like. In the earlier format, each team was to play 18 matches each during the league stage (2 against each of the 9 other teams on home and away basis)... making it 90 matches during the league stage. This was to be followed by the 2 semi-finals, the third-place play-off and the finals... making it 94 matches in all.

Here's the new format (74 matches):

Stage 1: The 10 teams will be divided in 2 groups of 5 each. 5 teams in each group will play 2 matches (home and away) against the other teams from their group. That makes it 20 matches in Group A and 20 matches in Group B.

Stage 2: After that, the top 3 teams from each group (6 teams in all) play home and away matches against each other. That will make it 30 matches in this stage.

Stage 3: And then we will have the 2 semi-finals, the 3rd place play-off and the finals. That makes it 74 in all.

Lets look into this new format in finer detail and compare it with the older format.

In the older format, the top-4 teams would have played 20 matches each and the other 6 would have played 18 matches each. In this format, the top-4 teams still play 20 matches each, the 5th and 6th teams play still 18 matches each and the bottom-4 teams play only 8 matches each.

The need for a new format arose due to the issues like player burn-out and cramped scheduling time. I don't think the newer schedule addressed any of those matters in an ideal manner.

The player burn-out will be reduced only for the teams that finish bottom-4 (i.e. bottom-2 in each group). They will be playing only 8 matches... the rest of the teams still have to play 18-20 matches over a period of those few weeks. What use is that? It hardly helps. In fact, this format makes the player burnout issue even more lop-sided with certain players playing 8 matches and the other playing more than double that number.

A better option would have been to change the Stage 2. Instead of having 3 teams of each group play 2 matches against each other, it should have been 3 top teams from each group play home and away matches against the top 3 teams of the other group. So instead of having A1 play 2 matches each against A2, A3, B1, B2 and B3, they should have been made to play 2 matches each against B1, B2 and B3 only. I say this because A1 has already played 2 matches against A2 and A3 when they met during Stage 1. The points and Net Run Rate of A1's performances against A2 and A3 during their previous meetings can be carried forward to this stage.

This would have reduced the number of matches during Stage 3 from 30 to 18... bringing the total number of matches down to 62 (which is a lot more manageable number than 74 in a 6-week schedule). This also would have brought some parity in the player burnout issue since the top-4 teams will play 16 matches each and the 5th and 6th ranked teams will play 14 matches.

Though the new format is better than the old one (94 matches would have been a drag), it is still not ideal. 74 matches are also way too many in 6 weeks... and even 62 are quite a lot. But the economics of our game is such that these things can't be helped a lot now!

4 comments:

Paddle (ankit) said...

why don't you suggest an alternate format. I am pretty cool with the new format.

Player Burnout can not be addressed in a tournament where a match happens everyday. In the EPL, matches take place mostly on weekends. Unless such a thing is implemented for the IPL with weekend games (leading to lesser and lesser international games), there will always be burnout.

Personal view: burnout is overrated.

Shridhar Jaju said...

Hi Ankit, I did suggest in this post that the Stage 2 could be tweaked so that each there will be just 18 matches instead of 30:

"A better option would have been to change the Stage 2. Instead of having 3 teams of each group play 2 matches against each other, it should have been 3 top teams from each group play home and away matches against the top 3 teams of the other group. So instead of having A1 play 2 matches each against A2, A3, B1, B2 and B3, they should have been made to play 2 matches each against B1, B2 and B3 only. I say this because A1 has already played 2 matches against A2 and A3 when they met during Stage 1. The points and Net Run Rate of A1's performances against A2 and A3 during their previous meetings can be carried forward to this stage."

It will help in addressing simultaneously to a certain extent, the dual issues of player burnout and cricket overkill.

Mahek said...

Shridhar, it seems cricinfo screwed up on the news. They've changed it now. The format is slightly different.

Shridhar Jaju said...

Thanks Mahek for the update. That makes my post pretty much redundant now...

SAVE OUR TIGER!