In the second episode of Wisden and CricViz‘s The Greatest T20 podcast, former West Indies captain Daren Ganga and Freddie Wilde, CricViz analyst and co-author of Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution, discuss why the Indian Premier League has a higher standard than T20 World Cups.
Ganga is of the opinion that the presence of associate teams in the T20 World Cups throws up some one-sided fixtures. IPL, on the other hand, is tougher to predict with teams such as Mumbai Indians often starting slowly before coming back to claim the title.
He added that the fact that cricketers around the globe would prefer to play in the IPL over any other T20 tournament gives it the edge. “The IPL caters to players from all across the globe. If you ask any cricketer where they would want to play T20 cricket, they will say the IPL,” said Ganga.
“It means that the best players across the globe compete against each other in the IPL. And that to me says that the standard of play is obviously going to be higher.
“If not even higher, then at least [as high as] an ICC T20 competition. Because in this period, we have seen a change in formats of ICC T20 competitions. Now we’ve got 16 teams, a lot of associate member countries getting a chance to qualify. So when you look at the quality of teams and the standard of play, you sometimes come up against teams that are of a lower standard, where you can straightaway tell who the winner’s going to be.
“But not in the IPL, where you might have teams who perform poorly at the start of the competition and then building momentum through the tournament. We’ve seen that with Mumbai Indians. They struggle to qualify for the play-offs and then go and win the title. So that alone is evidence that the quality of teams in the IPL is all similar and the competition is stiff.”
Wilde concurred with Ganga’s comments, adding that for him, the IPL is the “pinnacle of T20 cricket”. “Historically and traditionally, [we] look at international cricket and think it’s the pinnacle. When strong international sides play one another – West Indies, England, Australia and India nowadays – it’s a very high standard of cricket.
“But generally, as you said, World Cups involve some associate sides as well, whereas IPL and other domestic competitions involve fewer sides and the ability for teams to go and buy players from around the world means that they have a very high standard of competition. I completely agree with you, so when we’re debating the greatest side, it’s very much relevant to bring that in because the IPL is, I think, the pinnacle of T20 cricket,” Wilde said.