‘Cricket itself takes a backseat during IPL’, says Indian spinner R Ashwin

Indian spinner R Ashwin on Thursday said the IPL has grown so huge that at times cricket itself takes a backseat with players finding it hard to juggle between training and advertising shoots, PTI reported. 

Speaking about the meteoric rise of the IPL since its inception in 2008 on the Club Prairie Fire podcast, R Ashwin said, “As a youngster coming into the IPL, I was only looking to learn from the big stars, I did not think about how the IPL would look 10 years down the line.”

“I can say that having been in the IPL for so many seasons, the IPL is huge. Sometimes I wonder if IPL is even cricket because the sport takes a backstage (during IPL),” the premier spinner said. 

“It’s so huge. We do end up practicing in advertisement shoots and sets! That’s where the IPL has gotten to,” said Ashwin, who is an important member of the Rajasthan Royals squad.

The 37-year-old has recently completed 500 Test wickets. He started his IPL journey with Chennai Super Kings, and that led to him wearing the coveted India cap across formats, as per PTI reports. 

In 2022, the IPL media rights were sold for a whopping 48,390 crore for a five-year cycle, making it the second biggest league in the sporting world in terms of per-match value after the NFL, leaving behind the likes of the English Premier League, NBA, and Major League Baseball.

Ashwin further spoke about his early days in the Indian Premier League and how the event exceeded all expectations. “No one envisaged the kind of growth that the IPL has had. I still remember a conversation I had with Scott Styris when we were both at CSK.”

“He told me that when he was playing for the Deccan Chargers in the initial seasons of IPL, he did not think the IPL would last for more than two to three years. Initially, there was a big influx of money,” he added on the podcast hosted by former England captain Michael Vaughan and Australian great Adam Gilchrist.

At the latest auction, Australian pacer Mitchell Starc fetched a record 24.74 crore deal from Kolkata Knight Riders.

“Look, over the years you’d think that the IPL is one tournament that is largely won at the auctions. I believe the auctions are a very important facet of this league, but the beauty of the IPL is that franchises have evolved into getting their teams right. There’s no one way to skin a cat. No one player is bigger than the team. No one slot is bigger than others. The teams invest wisely,” Ashwin said. 

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Published: 29 Mar 2024, 09:16 AM IST

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