In this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), there have been some major talking points. Sunrisers Hyderabad breaking the highest number of runs scored in a domestic T20 twice, massive sixes, rapid bowling and extraordinary individual and team innings to mention a few. Whilst this has been very entertaining for cricket fans and those who aren’t as interested, there are still some big issues and controversies within the so-called biggest cricket league in the world.


A typical T20 match usually lasts around almost three hours, with each innings taking about an hour and twenty minutes. However, in the IPL, each innings takes almost two hours and the entire match can sometimes last over four. For comparison, Surrey in the County Championship, the domestic first-class competition in England, takes around two hours to bowl 30 overs. Whilst this does factor in things that are only in the IPL, such as the option to review wides and no balls and two and a half minute strategic timeouts, this is still far too long for a total of 40 overs. This results in slow over rates and matches finishing as late as quarter to midnight local time. In a 2023 interview on the Tailenders podcast, Rajasthan Royals owner Manoj Badale said how some Indian fans are now saying that T20 cricket is too long. It has become apparent that this is due to how long it takes a side to bowl their overs. For the shortest format of the game, T20s should be keeping fans engaged the entire match, which it looks like the IPL is now struggling to do for some even though India is one of the biggest cricketing nations in the world.


Another big issue with the IPL is the recently added Impact Player Rule. Introduced in 2023, it allows each team to list the starting XI that they will play with, as well as five substitutes. Then, at any natural break in play, such as the end of an over, the fall of a wicket or in between innings, the team is allowed to substitute one of their players off for one of their allocated substitute players. This means that, for example, after the batting team has finished their innings, they can replace one of their batters for an extra bowler. By leaving the teams unbalanced, this massively reduces the chances of any close finishes in games, making it less entertaining for fans.


The IPL is the second richest sports franchise league worldwide as of 2023, which means that the players and coaches involved in the tournament are paid huge wages. In the 2024 IPL Auction, the Kolkata Knight Riders broke the record for the most expensive cricket player ever, buying Mitchell Starc for $2.98 million. This has been hugely controversial as many people believe that cricket shouldn’t be monetised in this way. With more franchise leagues spawning worldwide in countries that don’t primarily play cricket, such as the United States, the UAE and Canada, it is obvious that cricket is heading in a direction where players will feel more attracted to playing for high earning franchise teams over playing in domestic competitions or even playing for their own country. For example, in 2023 England and Surrey player Jason Roy turned down an England Central Contract to play in the Major League Cricket (MLC) in America. This leads to the question of whether these players actually care about the teams they are playing in. In this year’s tournament, there seems to have been a lack of care from several players especially while fielding. Whilst in other cricket tournaments players are regularly producing unbelievable catches, stops and run outs, IPL players often let the ball run to the boundary when they could easily stop it or drop some basic catches. All of these issues about the IPL begs the question of do the players actually care about the end result or are they just there for the paycheck?