Former India captain and the wall of Indian cricket firmly believes that the Indian Premier League (IPL) is “ready for expansion” when it comes to the number of teams, without compromising on the quality as well as quantity of talent available in the country.
It’s being said that the IPL 2021 will feature 9 teams instead of eight and shall go up to 10 teams by 2023, which has always been the long- term plan of BCCI.
Rahul Dravid, who is now the director of National Cricket Academy (NCA) has expressed his views and was echoed by Rajasthan Royals co-owner Manoj Badale, who felt that a nine-team IPL in 2021 is definitely possible.
“I feel IPL is ready for expansion in terms of talent if you look from a talent perspective. There are a lot of talented players who are not getting an opportunity to play.”
Rahul feels that if there are more teams then all the talent could be easily fitted in and there won’t be a drop in quality. Dravid added, “So I believe we are ready as there are a lot of new names and new faces in terms of talent perspective.”
On the other hand, Badale, as a stockholder in the IPL, welcomed the idea of expansion and, spoke about various aspects that need to be considered. He said,
“BCCI needs to make a decision and they will take a call on what would be the exact approach. Also, you may have to have more afternoon games and maintain the quality of the competition.”
During the virtual launch of Badale’s book ‘A New Innings’, which he co-authored with former English cricketer Simon Hughes, Rahul explained why Mumbai Indians have been such an incredible team with five IPL titles in 13 editions.
He said,” They (MI) have a strong core with high quality. It’s amazing to see how their core is built with world-class T20 players perfectly balanced with young talent.”
Also, Dravid credited IPL and said because of IPL, someone like Rahul Tewatia from Haryana has been able to showcase his skills to a global audience. He went on to mention the fact that unlike earlier, you don’t have to depend on your state association to select you for the Ranji trophy.
Speaking more about IPL, Dravid has also mentioned the heady feeling of playing an International cricket without actually playing one. He said, “As coaches, we can help the young players in their journeys but what helps them grow is experience. Look at a Devdutt Padikkal who is batting alongside Virat Kohli or can learn from AB de Villiers.”
Rahul also took note of T. Natarajan and said it was because of the quality of data that he was able to go back and work on his yorker and, that has now got him into the Indian team, he said.
According to Dravid, the last decade (2011-2020) has been India’s best in terms of white-ball cricket and, the IPL has contributed with its appropriate tagline ‘talent meets opportunity’.