The IPL has moved past the half way point of its round robin phase with each team beginning to play the other teams for a second time, and there is little doubt that the competition has thus far been a huge success.
The IPL does bring about a new twist on loyalties for those outside India. Generally a domestic competition does not hold much interest out side of its national borders. England may disagree with that statement but the truth is most people take a passing glance at county cricket scores every now and then just to check up on how certain players, usually from the county of the person checking, are doing. Most people outside England won’t be able to tell you who won last years various county cricket competitions. The IPL is a different monster. It’s domestic competition in that it comprises teams from various franchises in India, but it has gripped world attention, and garnered viewers and supporters from all over the cricket loving globe.
The twist for those not from India is in who do you support? In India you would support a team geographically or historically, just as you would your own domestic team, however what’s happening around the world during this IPL series is cricket watchers are supporting individuals rather than teams. When I watch an IPL game I take a keener interest in the South African players, and if one team has a South African representative and the other doesn’t then my team for that evening is the one with the South African. This sort of mixed support is happening all over the globe, in Australia, the West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe – and maybe in England where there sole representative has finally arrived.
When people do pick a team to support (people from outside India, although maybe even people in India) they are once again doing so based on the individual rather than the team. Some on from Cape Town for example, who supports the Cape Cobras in the South African domestic competitions, may follow the Rajasthan Royals simply because Graeme Smith plays for them.
The individual is where loyalties are being formed in the IPL initially with the longer the competition goes on for new bonds developing between outside viewers and teams, with perhaps in a few years international viewers adopting teams as their teams.