Fifteen years ago, the seeds of a cricket revolution were planted when the Indian Premier League (IPL) was laid down. The IPL has become an emotion that has resonated widely among fans with every season guaranteeing exceptional performances and the birth of a new generation of heroes. The ‘Incredible’ Premier League has grown significantly over the past years, with an additional two teams joining the fray, making it one of the most competitive cricket leagues in the world.
Celebrating the success of IPL, Star Sports organized a show – ‘The Incredible Awards’, in the presence of IPL stars and legends of Indian cricket – Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag and Irfan Pathan. Speaking at a press conference organized by Star Sports to celebrate 15 years of the IPL, former Team India opener Virender Sehwag talks about how performance in the T20 franchise tournament has become a crucial parameter for foreign players.
“I think the competitiveness of IPL has increased to such a level, that all the players from different countries want to play IPL. The performance they give in IPL are counted and evaluated in their own countries. For example, David Warner performed so well in IPL and after that he got to play in the Australian international team and there also he performed well. In addition, the main advantage of the IPL is that we got young players from small cities, who have emerged and performed well by giving their best with the highest level of competitiveness,” Sehwag said.
WATCH Virender Sehwag’s Son Aaryavir bats in the nets here…
“The IPL has benefited young talent the most. Earlier, nobody got noticed from Ranji Trophy performances and hence couldn’t make it to the Indian team. But now, if you perform well in the IPL and you showcase your talent, then immediately, you get an opportunity to play for the Indian team. Because of the IPL, so many children from smaller states of the country have started taking cricket seriously and try their best to participate in the IPL and strive hard for it. For example, my son is 15 years old and is already working hard to get a chance to play in the IPL,” the former India opener said.
Former Team India spinner Harbhajan Singh also talked about how the T20 tournament has made uncapped Indian players household names. “The number of youngsters who have got an opportunity would have never thought they would get to share the dressing room with Sachin Tendulkar, Pollock, Shane Warne. When a young cricketer’s family watches him on TV playing alongside a Shane Warne, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni, then there is this feeling of satisfaction among the family as well that the youngster`s hard work has been fruitful.
“This was possible only because there was a broadcaster like Star Sports. If there was no television, nobody would have been able to put a face on a player from any team. Today, we know every IPL player’s name and face because of television,” Harbhajan said.
Cricket lovers can watch ‘The Incredible Awards’ on the Star Sports Network at 10PM IST on February 20.
(with IANS inputs)