Yes, it was another of my wordplay’s about the IPL – Indian Premier League, or the marketised version of a sport that has now turned into the biggest scam at many levels.
Watching cricket has for long been nostalgic, but not anymore.
The charisma of the cricketing strokes without the intervention of ads was such a bliss, then. When was this then? Not long ago, before five – six years maybe. The experience started declining, steadily and I ended up watching less of cricket but to some extent had been playing. The final nails on the coffin of the cricket enthusiast in me was successfully done in by the “commodification” of this sport that for decades has been the unproclaimed national sport of India.
A market they saw in tapping the pulse of a cricket loving country, to make them choose the brands they own. And guess what – the prey fell! The nation now forgets inflation, or drought, or their own personal discontents hoping to get a glimpse of not a sport, but an ad machine.
What started as a genuine attempt to make leagues popular to act as stepping stone for upcoming cricketers in Indian Cricket League, soon found itself being stared by the richest of the richest, intending to make this “business venture”. The rich in a plutocracy by definition are powerful and ICL was trampled and arose the omnipotent IPL. Dizzying amounts of money and perfect commodification of the sport happened with IPL. A great business idea, yes, granted. But not for the sport enthusiast in me.
Even on a 32 inch screen, I don’t see players but only ads. The run up of bowlers also get less screen size, and rest is used to show ads. Now, that’s ingenious while some of you might add, I see it as simply disgusting.
Players are auctioned, actresses brought in to cheer, and bands of cheer girls? Really?
Yes, maybe the cheer-girls concept too worked wonders; in a country where sex or pleasure in general is tabooed, cheer girls trick also serves like the item number in our movies. Shame. The psychology of our people have been understood to the deepest extent by these game planners, who know which string to be plucked!
The post match parties? Won’t even speak about the enormous value addition it has brough into the quality of the sport, as such.
If all this was not adequate, the media (of course, who else) cut down all issues and instigate the cricket crazy country to catch IPL, and not even the impending elections (like in Karnataka, it’s due in 20 days if some of you did not even know).
The team owners!
While one owner has had to shut down his airline, without paying thousands of his employees their salaries still is the big baron of IPL, it is the same about most of the owners. Fraudsters, scamsters and corrupt, most of them, but are the powerful puppeteers who decide the fate and fortune of the games, while also altering what the youngistan wants for Hindustan! Huff.
And where is cricket at all?
All one wants is jhumpak-jhapang, or a hypocrisy dipped hysteria about the regional teams (I still haven’t understood the team frenzy!).
And, the cricket fan in me dies a new death every time, when I see the flashing, colourful circus where the theme supposedly is cricket.
A cricket loving country, no longer understands cricket, or love for it.
IPL: Rest in pee!
A very well written article indeed. I, for sure cannot use the kind of words used above, just attempting to pen down some of my thoughts here. 🙂
I agree with almost every single point mentioned above. In fact these were the very similar reasons why I did not watch or support the IPL for 3 complete seasons.
The father of the leagues(if one can call so), the ICL impressed me to the level that even the distracting flamboyant jersey colors (designed by so called “the” designer of bollywood – Manish Malhotra – suggesting that ICL was not too very far away from the current IPL in terms of trying to attract crowd’s attention, but definitely did not match up to it) did not stop me from watching it. The reason being very simple though, CRICKET. The idea of introducing club level cricket(in Inida) was just amazing. Hats-off to Kapil Dev.
And then comes in the IPL, their scams, BCCI throwing away Kapil Dev, banning ICL players from playing in the IPL and blah-blah-blah. There, at that point I started hating the BCCI and the IPL. And how can we ever forget “Lalit Modi” (and his scam), who added all the more fuel to the existing fire (as if it werent already enough) made me hate it all the more. Oh and how can we forget the time when our very own “INDIAN” Premier League was played in South Africa. Well that was a mockery of club cricket all together. There could not be anything worse than IPL being played out of India.
Adding to all these things(apart from the things mentioned in your article – like the after parties, cheergirls, etc.), the introduction of Strategic Time Out: An overall 10 min break, which was more of a business-ad strategy than to give an advantage to the teams on-field. Wow!! kudos to whoever came up with this brilliantly crappy idea. He definitely made his “MBA” money worth it.
Slowly as seasons passed by, the cricket fan in me started dying. But then I realised, instead of giving importance to all these senseless hungama around, why not watch the sport for the sport itself, without giving importance or prominence to the other things around. Initially I thought that would not be possible, but then when I actually tried it, it worked and for the good. Watch IPL just for the sport, its brilliant players, the brilliant shots and strokes and the wonderful deliveries.
There is one reality that we all have to accept, IPL does definitely help unearth new and hidden talent all over the country. It gives a brilliant exposure to all the up-coming players to seek help from the experienced players, coaches of all kinds from across the globe. Another intersting thing the IPL has done, is to use class-of-the-art training facilities which a lot of players (state-level) would not even have thought of. So, this platform is a very big oppurtunity for them to learn, perform and improve. Its a sad thing that a tournament like ICL had to be closed-down, a very unfortunate thing in fact. Kapil Dev himself has rejoined the BCCI and also is a part of the commentary panel of IPL this time(I was shocked to see him in IPL after what ever happened to him).
Talking about the auction of players and regional teams that you have mentioned, well dude, thats how club cricket works. If you follow football, you would have known that. In fact thats how any club sport works. So I dont think any sport enthusiast would have any kind of problems with that.
Coming to the fraudster and scamster owners, well could you please mention in which sport we do not have them. The liquor king has invested in a lot of sports, including the F1. The big boss of F1 (if you know who I am talking about) itself was in such a huge scam and believed to be a huge fraudster. So, does that mean we stop watching F1?? The world’s favourite game, football which has the highest fan following itself has so many clubs with fraudster owners who are involved in scams of all kinds. So does that mean we stop watching football?? This is as far as sports is concerned, but when it comes to politics I think we all agree ther is not a single candidate who is not involved in any such scam. So do we stop casting our vote? No, yet we cast our vote to make sure in does not get wasted.
All I am saying is because of a few factors, the sport itself should not lose its charm.
In the first place, we could have started the discussion with – “why all this importance to cricket when there are so many other sports that are dying down in our country due to lack of popularity and lack of funding?”. Then that would be an all new discussion by itself. Anyways since this was about Cricket tried to stick to this topic. 😉