New Delhi: Rajiv Shukla, the Chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL), has rejected the media reports that the cricket tournament's popularity has gone down, saying that the IPL 5 will be a super success.
Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil's advocate, he said that the BCCI has taken steps to ensure that the injured players are treated properly.
Here is the full transcript of the interview:
Karan Thapar:Hello and welcome to Devil's Advocate. The Indian Premier League was supposed to be the biggest show of the country. But has it turned into a declining asset? That is the key issue we shall discuss today, with the Chairman of the IPL, Rajiv Shukla.
Mr Shukla, there is a wide spread feeling that the IPL is becoming a declining asset with falling viewership and increasing concern about its impact on Indian cricket. Do you think the time has come to rethink the whole thing?
Rajiv Shukla:No, I think it's a myth, we all are aware of the facts. If you go by the facts, there is 56 per cent increase in internet viewership. And they are talking about the TRPs, if you look at the TRPs, all metros between 7 to 10 and I must tell you the paradigm of the TRP has also shifted. Earlier entertainment shows which used to get 7,8,9,10 TRP, if they give between one to two or three now, they are considered the best shows.
Karan Thapar:Let's pause for a moment and actually look at the facts first in terms of TRPs. Your TRPs for the first 16 games of IPL-5 are significantly lower than IPL-4 and this is despite the fact that IPL-4 followed the world cup, at that point viewers fatigue was high, it's not the case today. So surely this is the sign...
Rajiv Shukla:It is wrong, whosoever has told you is wrong. You are going by the media reports only, one or two newspapers have published it. But you haven't got the India's television reports...
Karan Thapar:I am going by Time rating. Time rating suggests that there is a decline.
Rajiv Shukla:What is the rating of first match?
Karan Thapar:Well, this is very interesting. You should say that because your opening match in the six big metros was the lowest ever in the history of the IPL.
Rajiv Shukla:It's wrong.
Karan Thapar:Let me give you the reason, your rating was 1.1 compared to 3.3 last years.
Rajiv Shukla:I think, you have got the wrong data. The first was 5.9 and second was 5.6. And the general TRPs in Sony TVs out of their tops three shows, is a IPL.
Karan Thapar:You know every single paper reported what Time had given. So you are quarrelling with Time?
Rajiv Shukla:No I am not quarrelling with Time. Time provides a data, every body analyses according to ones convenient.
Karan Thapar:Analyse is a different matter. I am not analysing data, I am simply giving you the facts. The Time data was, your opening night has the lowers viewership ever in the history. You had a rating of the six big metros of 1.11 compare to 3.33, which means that despite Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Kreena Kapoor and Kate Perry, the viewers didn't switch on, that's why I put to you. The Viewership is falling, people aren't interested?
Rajiv Shukla:Now, should I explain it? There was no opening ceremony of such level, ever in IPL. This is for the first time this idea has been introduced, so where the question of that it was the lowest in the history.
Karan Thapar:In which case it's even because if you had a gala opening this time which you never had before but your viewership is low, then it's even worse.
Rajiv Shukla:This is for the first time, that we had two and half hour long opening ceremony.
Karan Thapar:Then it should have higher viewership?
Rajiv Shukla:Earlier opening ceremonies, we have 30 minutes followed by a match. So match and the opening ceremony together, the TRP used to register. This time we had a separate opening ceremony on a previous day.
Karan Thapar:You are proving my point because you had a gala opening ceremony which you never had done with Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan, you should have been the highest, infact it is the lowest
Rajiv Shukla:I want to bring into your notice that they are taking the TRPs from 6 O'clock upto 10 O'clock, while the show was between 8 to 10. Between 8 to 10 look at the TRPs, when then the entertainment shows was there. Some journalists do, they take out the data and interpret in their own way, Sony TV is very happy they are getting in...
Karan Thapar: I would come to Sony TV in a moments time, let's not jump the gun. You are quarrelling with TRPs, you are questioning Time, you are questioning the analysis in papers. Let's put TRPs aside, let's come to cumulative reach because that's really what people is worried about. Your cumulative reach for the first six matches of IPL-4 was considerably higher, it was 101 million, for IPL-5, it is just about 90 million, which is fall over ten per cent, that is enormous.
Rajiv Shukla:You know last IPL, it was 156 million.
Karan Thapar:After the world cup and the viewers fatigue was at highest.
Rajiv Shukla:Let's the IPL will over and I will talk to you. It is in middle way only one-fourth matches have taken place.
Karan Thapar:I am comparing the middle with the middle last time.
Rajiv Shukla:No middle, once the IPL is over, then I will talk to you. I gone to Karachi, every home, restaurant and hotel is watching IPL, despite the fact that there is no Pakistani player.
Karan Thapar:Okay, you know the other problem that you face?
Rajiv Shukla: I gone to Karachi, every home, restaurant and hotel is watching IPL, despite the fact that there is no Pakistani player.
Karan Thapar:May be I am talking about India not Karachi, this is the Indian not the Pakistani league.
Rajiv Shukla:This time we have given TV rights to all over the world . Caribbean islands is also showing the IPL.
Karan Thapar:May be but I am talking about the Indian audience. Audience in India is reducing steadily, may be you are receiving the audience in abroad because you are an Indian league.
Rajiv Shukla:Karan, why aren't we taking about the packed the stadium. You asked the franchise.
Karan Thapar:You always have packed stadium, the problem is the viewership on television is down.
Rajiv Shukla:This time four-four games in advance are already sold.
Karan Thapar:Just a moment, you say packed stadium, if you look at the record in the ratings of the five IPLs that have been held, it's a steady decline downwards. Your average rating for IPL-1 was 5.08 by the time it came to IPL-3, it had fallen to 4.61 and IPL-4 it was just down by 4 and at the moment, your average rating for IPL-5 is 3.6. It's a steady decline downwards.
Rajiv Shukla: This is what I want to tell you. You are giving the ratings after the IPL is over. Now you are trying to analysis it on the basis of one or two week, once the IPL is over. We are going to have massive response.
Karan Thapar:You mean to say there would be dramatic change?
Rajiv Shukla:Karan, you are also in to this business. You are also working with several TV channels. The paradigm of TRP has also shifted now they have brought to one million...
Karan Thapar:You are sounding like a bad carpenter blaming his tools. You are questioning the data, you are questioning the facts.
Rajiv Shukla: I am not questioning the data, what I am trying to tell you is now the whole paradigm has changed. Now the time has gone in to those towns which has got the pollution of one lakh plus. So there data is...
Karan Thapar:So the system is gone against your interest, that's what you are saying?
Rajiv Shukla:No, earlier TRP was measured on that basis...
Karan Thapar:So the change in the measurement and the change in the procedure has affected you adversely.
Rajiv Shukla:Why those TV serials which are getting only two TRPs are considered to be superb, why?
Karan Thapar:Alright, let's move away from the TRPs, let's what you through out a moment ago. You said to me is Sony was exceptionally happy, the truth at the matter is, actually advertiser are deserting you as well. Hyundai and Goderaj two major advertiser is not with you. Goderaj was with you for the first four IPL, they opted out from IPL-5. And secondly up till the middle of April, you only had four or five sponsors. Last year at this point you had ten, that's a clear sign that the advertiser have moved.
Rajiv Shukla:I think there also the homework is wrong. None other sponsors have gone away, everybody is with us. Infact, whatever rights we are selling is going on higher price.
Karan Thapar:Godrej isn't with you. No its not true, the end is not true forgive me.
Rajiv Shukla:It's true, I am running the shop and why I would not know?
Karan Thapar:No but the selling of the advertising is being done by the Sony and Sony doesn't deny the fact that it's been reported widely in the papers, this time IPL rates in IPL-5, a 15 to 20 per cent down.
Rajiv Shukla:I am telling you Sony has not made any such complaint to us. They are happy.
Karan Thapar:They are not complaining to you, but they are letting the people to know. The advertisers are aware of it, the newspapers are aware of it.
Rajiv Shukla:Will they come to you to complain?
Karan Thapar:They are telling the papers, its is in the papers. Read the papers
Rajiv Shukla:They haven't complained to us, they are very happy. There is no such problem. As far as IPL rights are concern.
Karan Thapar:Are you leaving what the press might call, a fools paradise. You are convincing tour self because you don't want to see the reality. Therefore you are saying I don't what I wanted to be
Rajiv Shukla:I think you are leaving in a fool's paradise. Somebody had fed you with the wrong data, wrong facts. So I want to correct you, don't get mislead by these people, who are propagating against that.
Karan Thapar:So, you have no problem with the viewership and advertisers?
Rajiv Shukla:No problem with viewership, infact response is rocking and we are getting very good report and IPL-5 will be a super success. Secondly...
Karan Thapar:Response will be rocking and IPL-5 will be super success. Are you sure you won't have to eat your words?
Rajiv Shukla:Now there is a element of IPL in everybody's life. Did you read that story? Four five guys were watching IPL in a shop and the shopkeeper switched the TV and they stabbed the shopkeeper. That kind of report we are getting, what are you talking about?
Karan Thapar:I let you the last word in that. But let's take a break and come back and talk about the second issue of concern. The impact IPL is having on Indian cricket, many people say it's a adverse impact. Let's see how you defend the IPL. Backs in a moment times, see you after break.
Karan Thapar:Welcome back to Devil's Advocate, an exclusive interview with the Chairman of the Indian Premier League, Rajiv Shukla.
Mr Shukla, let's come to the impact the IPL is having on Indian cricket. Senior players like Bishan Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar and late Tiger Patudi have gone on the record and say that today because of the IPL the young cricketers are gravitating towards T-20 and showing less interest in test cricket, which is a real game. Infact Bishan Singh Bedi says that the IPL is responsible for decline of domestic cricket and for India's disasters showing in England and Australia.
Rajiv Shukla:Well what Mr Bedi says I would not like to response because he say lot many things to lot many TV channels.
Karan Thapar:But people listen to him and he is a respected cricketer.
Rajiv Shukla:Well, it is good people listen to him and people should believe him.
Karan Thapar:So you are ignoring him?
Rajiv Shukla:No, no I am not. They are senior players and unnecessary I would not like to responds to them in their language.
Karan Thapar:But what about the point he is making?
Rajiv Shukla:Mr Gavaskar and Mr Patudi both were on the governing council of the IPL, there they didn't make this complain.
Karan Thapar:I am going to quote to you something Tiger Patudi told to this programme, when he was very much the member of the governing council. He said the young cricketers who were playing for the IPL don't even know, the basic fundamentals of the game. He specifically said, they don't know how to run between the wickets, they don't know to which direction to throw in, they don't keep eye on the ball. He added they behave it as they know it all and he says the IPL is spoiling them.
Rajiv Shukla:That is the positive comment of Mr Patudi, if he wants to those young man to learn these things, is good. He must have given an advice.
Karan Thapar:But the problem is that IPL is actually teaching them a wrong way .
Rajiv Shukla:Should I tell you the teaching of the IPL? We are taking those people who are registered with state association. They are coming through a process, they are not the players we are picking from here and there.
Karan Thapar:But you are teaching them bad habits. They are learning how to play badly rather then play correctly and technically properly.
Rajiv Shukla:Sanctity of the cricket is fully maintain in IPL games. We have got the entire structure with ICC put into place, not even the single rule is here and there.
Karan Thapar:I don't deny that the ICC rules are brave. What about the point Tiger Pataudi made? What about the fact that they don't throw in the right direction? They don't run properly between the wickets, they take eye out of the ball. Those are the critical fundamentals that the crickets haven't learnt and now they are getting set into bad ways.
Rajiv Shukla:I can give you the comments of the 100 top players of the world, legends of the cricket of the world, who have praised the IPL, IPL is one tournament who has provided plethora of the younger talent.
Karan Thapar:Just a moment, senior cricketers praise IPL because they are making money of the sort they have not made before, they have vested interest. Junior cricketers have no doubt about it but in the process bad habits are getting set. They are not learning the technically correct cricket, as a result of which not just Tiger Patudi, Bisam Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar are complaining that the cricketing talent is being pushed in a wrong direction.
Rajiv Shukla:I think this is not correct. Each and ever rule of the cricket is being followed in IPL. We are not beaching any rule, any change in the pattern in the game is not there, every thing is followed by the rules of the cricket. And I don't think any body can question the credentials of the cricket and the pattern which is being followed in the IPL.
Karan Thapar:Hang on a moment. You say no one can question the credentials of the cricket that is being played in the IPL. I am going to quote to you now Ratnakar Shetty, your chief administrative officer has gone on record, to say that the IPL is making Indian cricketers swollen headed. He says and I am going to quote to you, "some of these youngsters have become very big, some of them are feeling playing in Ranji Trophy, is not as important as playing in IPL. And while I am quoting let me also quote, he says "a new generation of half backed players with faulty technique, who strut around as super star based on their dubious performance in the IPL". You own people are saying this.
Rajiv Shukla:As far as Mr Shetty is concerned, he has made a right comment. This is an advice to those players, who are not maintaining the basics of cricket.
Karan Thapar:So you accept that the IPL is a giving a wrong attitude to the players.
Rajiv Shukla: No, it's not about IPL. It's about individual players. They should play in Ranji. We are also giving the same advice what Mr Sethi is saying that play junior cricket also, play domestic cricket also. What's wrong in it?
Karan Thapar:We are not talking about one or two but the whole generation of young cricketers who are becoming swollen headed.
Rajiv Shukla: This is not the criticism of IPL. This is an advice to those players who are not concentrating on the domestic cricket.
Karan Thapar: This is not one or two but the whole generation.
Rajiv Shukla:No, not the whole generation. Advice has been given to international players also that they should focus on their domestic cricket also. That’s why we have made it mandatory, compulsory to even international players that after an injury they have to play one domestic season. Yuvraj Singh can’t make a comeback unless he plays one domestic season.
Karan Thapar:Talking about how IPL has distorted the attitude of cricketers. Sunil Gavaskar has gone on record to say that they earn more by playing for club than for the country, the ambition and desire to be in national team is diminishing. That is not in the country’s interest.
Rajiv Shukla: First of all, I want to make it very clear that IPL is not a cricket club. IPL is a sub-committee of BCCI. It is the domestic tournament of BCCI.
Karan Thapar:And because they earn more by earning in this domestic tournament...
Rajiv Shukla:Why you are worried about the earning of the members. They come from very humble background, poor guys.
Karan Thapar:That’s not the question, Mr Rajiv Shukla. The question was quoting Sunil Gavaskar that because they earn more by playing for the country, they don’t wish to play for the country. The desire is diminishing.
Rajiv Shukla:Sunil Gavaskar has said lot many things in support of IPL, why u don’t quote that. Hundreds of things he has said in support of IPL.
Karan Thapar:Here context is different. How do you respond to this?
Rajiv Shukla:He is not critical of IPL. He is critical of certain players who are not following the expected behaviour. This indicating them to follow the behaviour they are supposed to.
Karan Thapar:So, you are blaming the individual players and you are protecting the IPL of which you are chairman of. Is that fair?
Rajiv Shukla: How can you blame an organisation which is doing so well?
Karan Thapar:Is it?
Rajiv Shukla: The entire world is appreciating. Karan, I want to tell you on your programme that every player in the world wants to play for IPL. Isn’t it a good achievement?
Karan Thapar:You are talking about the impact on Indian cricket. Can I put this to you that IPL has not had the deleterious impact? You are saying that the people like Bedi, Gavaskar and Late Tiger Pataugi were wrong in criticising IPL that IPL is having a bad impact on Indian cricket.
Rajiv Shukla:No, senior players are only giving advice to certain players. They are not criticising the IPL.
Karan Thapar:I am afraid they are. Just listen carefully what they say.
Rajiv Shukla:This is your interpretation. You are entitled to have your own interpretation.
Karan Thapar:Bishan Singh Bedi has openly on this programme on 26th of February this year.
Rajiv Shukla:Bishan Singh Bedi has lot of things about you people also.
Karan Thapar:So, are you dismissing it?
Rajiv Shukla:Do you want me to bring those things also, what he talks about news channels, different programmes.
Karan Thapar:On a different day we can certainly talk about them, But today we are talking about IPL.
Rajiv Shukla:He is a good friend of mine he is our senior person in world cricket. So, we all respect him.
Karan Thapar:Let me put this to you, many people say that because money in IPL is so large and because people only get paid when they play, young players play through injuries. As a result they aggravate their injuries, and that’s good for them, not good for cricket and not good for IPL and not good for the selection of the Indian team.
Rajiv Shukla:I think you have brought a genuine problem. Because of these proble, injury problem does occur. So, what we have done this time that we have asked our BCCI’s physio to remain in touch with all the physios of all the franchisees. So if any injury is reported, a timely action is taken.
Karan Thapar:Some people say that Dhoni has a hamstring injuri. It’s suspected, not confirmed. Have you checked about that?
Rajiv Shukla:Apart from that, we have enlarged the player’s span. Now for every slot, we have got 5-6 alternatives. So if somebody is injured, we immediately replace him.
Karan Thapar:I am glad about that. But what about my point that many people think that Dhoni is playing through an injury. he has a suspected hamstring injury. Have you checked into that?
Rajiv Shukla:Even if you have a hamstring injury, you can’t sit and do the interview.
Karan Thapar:So, this is rubbish you are saying
Rajiv Shukla:Whenever any player goes to play, the physio conduct the entire test and if they found any problem, they immediately report it.
Karan Thapar:So, concerns about Dhoni are misplaced?
Rajiv Shukla:On your programme I want to make one policy statement that if anybody is feeling fatigue or has got any injury, he should immediately the BCCI, the IPL Secretariat. he will be given adequate rest. Nobody is being forced to play irrespective of how big is the player.
Karan Thapar:Rajiv Shukla, an important statement you made, We end the programme on that note. Tank you, a pleasure talking to you