T20 has redefined modern cricket and made it a sport that attracts the young generation who like to see fast action and can’t wait 5 days to see the results of a test match. The fast-paced nature of the game, the pulsating music, the dance of the cheerleaders, the vuvuzelas in the crowd and last ball thrillers, garnished with massive sixes and knuckleball deliveries make for an entertainer that the audiences strive for.
A successful T20 league is now the pride of every cricket board today and massive investments are made by them to reach out to larger audiences every passing year. Each league has heroes and legends and the driving force behind participating in a T20 league is the money that is attached to it. The world has witnessed players quitting international cricket just to focus and perform well for their franchises. It’s surprising how players have started to prefer leagues over their nations, similar to some of the leading footballers.
The cricketing calendar is jam-packed with these T20 leagues which commence every other month. While leagues such as the Big Bash, Pakistan Super League, and Bangladesh Premier League takes over the televisions until March setting the stage for IPL. The T20 Blast followed by the CPL captures the attention for the latter part of the year.
With the Big Bash League recently concluded and the IPL commencing in less than a month, let’s look at where the other leagues stand in terms of their competitiveness across the globe.
Here’s rating the top leagues across the world:
1. Indian Premier League – 9.5/10
This is the league that has become the benchmark for all other leagues to look up to and emulate. The brainchild of BCCI who wanted to capitalize on the nation’s T20 win, IPL fast tuned out to be an event that captured the attention of the entire nation. With a heady mix of high-quality cricket, cheerleaders and celebrity glamour, the Indian Premier League changed the way the audience watched cricket on TV and at the ground.
The cash-rich tournament aims at promoting cricket in India, and rightly so has been the hub to many new talents who have gone on to don their nations jersey. Not only does the league provide a platform for the experienced to unleash themselves and experiment their skills but also grants a platform for the emerging stars to play at a much higher level, competing against the best of the bests in the world and learning from them.
The competition of this stellar tournament is so high that the auctions has many eminent players remaining unsold. Every edition of the Indian Premier League throws up newer and skilful heroes who do wonders and justice for their teams and price tags. The impact of the league is such that an outstanding performance over a season immediately beings the player to the focus of their respective boards and selection committees.
2. Big Bash League -9/10
Another event that is marked on all T20 fans calendar is the Big Bash League, which is irrefutably the Australian gift to the world. Established in 2011, post the massive success of IPL, there was no looking back for this professional franchise Twenty20 league. The league and the fan base has grown over the years becoming stronger and more competitive at the culmination of every edition.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the three months of the tournament is no less than a festival for the Aussies, as the fans go out of their way to support their favourite clubs. The matches capture prime time TV spots and eyeballs are glued to every moment of the game. The league is known to producing one of the most gripping results with innumerable prominent cricketers across the globe competing for the prize.
With the exception of Indian players contracted with BCCI, this league features almost all other top T20 players. With nearly seventeen thousand runs hit across 59 matches, this edition, the leading tournament generates last ball thrillers, massive sixes and nail-biting contests.
The contest is divided into eight teams starring the fan’s favourite players opposing each other. It’s difficult to get a crack into the squads of the teams that has a mix of specialists featuring the country’s top names. Thus, the BBL is the second most competitive league with a 9/10 rating.
3. Caribbean Premier League – 8/10
This league has a lot to do with the resurgence of the Windies towards T20 supremacy. At a time when they were dealing with an underwhelming run in ODI and the Test formats, CPL induced life into the regions cricket circuit with its slam band action.
Most of the T20 leagues strive to provide an atmosphere that is fun, friendly and a party mood to its attendees. Unfortunately, none of the leagues are even close to the environment that is set up during the CPL season. The tournament is the home to the highest match aggregate and highest T20 score in franchise cricket.
The presence of West Indies stalwarts like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and notable big hitters from the other parts of the world makes CPL a considerably balanced tournament in comparison to the others. It has also sprouted youth talent in the form of Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer who are products of the tournament. The league has six teams with each team consisting of one local player, one overseas player of non-Caribbean origin, and four players under the age of 23. This provides a competitive edge to the CPL over the others.
However, this competitive aspect is overshadowed by the asymmetrical distribution of the skilled and talent between the six teams. The CPL trophy has been won by three of the bigger teams – Jamaica and Barbados twice and Trinidad, thrice. This poses as a barrier as the other teams aren’t in a situation to up their game and play for the ultimate prize- the CPL trophy.
Despite the one-sided nature of competition, Caribbean Premier League is fairly successful with notable players associated with the tournament. Thus, it gets a rating of 8/10.
4. Pakistan Super League -7.5/10
The ongoing Pakistan Super League has witnessed a fantastic display of cricketing action ever since its inaugural edition in 2016. The tournament has undoubtedly grown multifold. The competitiveness between the teams featuring top performers of the world is perhaps something that is making it the talk of the town in recent times.
The PSL follows an interesting structure comprises six teams, ie, Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalanders, Multan Sultans, Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators. The teams consist of an equal distribution of specialist batsmen and bowlers. The action-packed squads roar to perform as the fan experience a cracker of a performance from the stands and at home.
The PSL is simply a blessing in disguise. It lit the fire back for the country who found it difficult to revive their world cricketing affairs. Players like Shane Watson, Jason Roy, Darren Sammy, Shahid Afridi give the tournament a competitive dynamics. With security concerns, the tournament is yet to feature a wide range of top gun performance across the world. Thus, the league is ranked number fourth with 7.5/10 rating.
5. Bangladesh Premier League – 7/10
The Bangladesh Cricket Board were compelled to come up with a T20 championship of their own following the success of the other leagues across the globe. The BPL is regarded as a fairly competitive T20 league with a massive local fan following. The involvement of experienced players has managed to develop the local talent, which augurs well for the competition with the perspective of long term sustenance in mind.
Lack of provision of the Future Tour Programme has resulted in many international stars not being available to participate, therefore wavering the success and the competitiveness of the league. Nevertheless, it has given many recent stars like Imrul Kayes, Mustafizur Rahman and Soumya Sarkar the boost they required to be competitive in the global arena.
The BPL has played a major role in shaping especially current Bangladesh players who have never looked better. The high-pressure games and exposure mould the players and induced confidence in the players to encounter similar situations in international tournaments. However, the BPL misses the trick and remains less competitive with less overseas exposure and hence it gets a 7/10 rating.
6. T20 Blast – 6.5/10
From being the being pioneers of franchise cricket to being one of the only leagues who kept their focuses on grass-root players, the league is an epitome of domestic cricket. The ECB structured an 18 team league divided into 2 divisions- North and South. Each division has 9 teams and each team plays 14 games.
The country’s very own, the league has exhibited some nail cracking actions over the past decade. The tournament is more of a domestic competition rather than a T20 league, but the level of competition is something that helps it propel ahead of other leagues in the world.
The T20 Blast is known for favouring their home players and giving little importance to overseas players poses to be a concern to many. With competitions like IPL and the Big Bash that are open to all players, the T20 Blast has great potential to climb up the ranks if it works on attracting more overseas players which keeping in mind the reservations of the English stars. It would guarantee an increase in the standards of the competition and makes it more competitive than the prevailing seasons. Thus, the league gets a 6.5/10 rating.
7. Global T20 Canada – 5.5/10
The ‘slow and steady wins the race’ is the formula the Canadians are trying to conceptualize as the Global T20 poses to be a perfect stepping stone for the country to regain its international status. It has also proven to be an exciting opportunity for both the Canada cricket fraternity and the fan to come out and support their favourite stars in number.
As the name suggests the league brings cricket to regions of the North of America with big names like Chris Gayle, DJ Bravo, Lasith Malinga, David Warner and Steven Smith participating. It is a great platform for budding Canadians to display their skills who would be hoping to book a place in one of the leading leagues of the world.
The tournament lacks competition as it is relatively a newer concept. The exposure provided with the presence of international stars have helped channelize the youngsters focus in the right direction. It is considered to be a fair success for Canada, but not a model that can be followed by others.
The league is nowhere close to overtaking the top leagues of the world. A couple of seasons with a great display of cricket and a larger range of overseas stars might help the league to improve its competitiveness ensuring it to be a great help for Canadian cricket. Thus, the league gets a 5.5/10 rating.