Its been an interesting few weeks for India's cricketers and after an extensive 'home and away' series with England, it feels much more comfortable to be an Indian cricket fan now than it was during the summer! Although the final T/20 match in Kolkata went England's way on Saturday, the 5-0 one-day series victory has put the disastrous summer tour to England firmly in the background. The world is suddenly a brighter place for the Indian cricket team.
To put it mildly, I'm delighted. My beloved India has reestablished some credibility and surely now the forthcoming series with the West Indies will take on an entirely different atmosphere? As much as it was painful to sit in London and watch and read about England's success during the summer, I'm in the perfect place to see that now, the 'boot is on the other foot' so to speak. India's dreadful showing in England prompted many an opinion about a fixture schedule that was too demanding on the players. Even the IPL was cited as a possible reason for so-called ‘burn out’ and I remember blogging at the time that such a notion was ridiculous. India had previously become the number one Test playing nation with the IPL firmly positioned in the schedule. It hadn't prevented the team's elevation and it certainly wasn't a reason for their failures in England. But suddenly, a little success in the one-day series has eroded the negative thoughts and its the English who have been holding inquests into a poor showing abroad - and I doubt the T/20 win will change that. Their reasonable and entirely justified satisfaction at their team’s command during the summer seems to have evaporated and recently, former captain Michael Vaughan said that England play a different brand of cricket domestically that they don't get when away from home and he called for a re-think. England's approach, strategy and domestic set up is now the subject of discussion with eminent commentators across the country and it's a mirror image of what happened when India failed here in the summer. Congratulations to M S Dhoni and the team for a tremendous performance back home.
The one disappointment of the one-day series though, was the attendances for the five matches. I have no idea how the BCCI marketed the series but they must have been disappointed at the gate receipts. As I know from my time as IPL Commissioner, broadcast revenue is becoming ever-more important in the international sports market and that will help to balance things up, but it'll be interesting to see the final TAM rating (Television Audience Measurement) for the series when its produced. The figures for the first three One Day Internationals were lower than the average rating for the IPL this year. And if we accept that broadcast revenues are the future lifeblood of Indian cricket and the IPL proves more popular to television audiences than an international series against England, you have to ask where would they be without the IPL?