London: Former India head coach Ravi Shastri stated that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Indian Premier League (IPL) expands to having two distinct seasons in a year. Shastri added the TV demand for more IPL matches could be met by adding a second season later in the year and by expanding the number of teams in the current form.
“I think you might have two (IPL) seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised at all. If bilateral cricket is reduced, you might well have a shorter format of the IPL in the latter half of the year, more like a World Cup format with a knockout that decides the winner.”
“The full competition with 10 teams could go to 12 teams in the future with the schedule stretching from one-and-a-half to two months,” said Shastri on the latest episode of Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club Podcast.
Shastri, a former India all-rounder who played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs, believes the IPL’s growth is not only inescapable but also does good for the sport too. “All that is possible because it is driven by the money and supply and demand. The demand is big for that type of format.”
“The IPL will be tempted to go in that direction. It’s great for the sport, great for the players, broadcasters and people who work around the teams. It’s (the IPL) an industry on its own now.”
The global cricketing schedule came under huge debate last week after all-rounder Ben Stokes’ retired from ODI cricket citing “unsustainable” workload of playing all three formats of the game. Shastri believes reducing bilateral T20Is is the apt solution to solve scheduling problem.
“I would be a little careful of the number of bilateral splits, especially in T20 cricket. There’s a lot of franchise cricket which can be encouraged, whichever country it’s in – India, West Indies, or Pakistan. You play less bilaterals and then you get together for the World Cups. So the emphasis on ICC World Cup events becomes paramount. Then people look forward to them.”