Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why I love the IPL!!!!

After writing a few posts on MBA and student life, I am back to writing about the topic I love most – Cricket. I have read a large number of cartoons and blogs belittling the IPL and its overboard spending. Although sometimes even I feel that I am watching very little cricket in between all the adds but yet I love the IPL for various reasons that I wish to present here. You are entitled to your own opinion, but as I always say this is my space and I can write whatever I want to –

1 Purists say it will kill Test Cricket. I feel it is akin to makers of Rolls Royce being worried about Tata Nano’s launch. As any marketing student would tell you, Nike is never worried about counterfeits because a person buying a counterfeit will never buy an original. Similarly, a person who just loves the slam bam and glamour of TT cricket would never appreciate Rahul Dravid’s defense. Infact, TT would help in separating the masses from the classes. I personally absolutely hate watching cricket with ignorant experts who feel that chasing 400 in a test match on a last day is a walk in the park because you require only 4 RPO. Its great for the game if such people stay away from Test cricket. The biggest success of the IPL is that it has brought new viewers to the game. Thus it is only increasing the reach of the game we all love. Test cricket will stay, supported only by those who really understand the game and want to see a battle between bat and ball and not just boom boom afridi.

2. I love the IPL for the sake of the Rajat Bhatia’s & Mithun Manhas’s of the world. These are players who have toiled for years in the Indian domestic circuit playing in spite of empty stands, immense heat and dirty politics in return of no recognition and very little money. Probably, its only the love of the game, passion and a hope that drives them. Hope of recognition and success. Some people would argue that these players are unsuccessful and hence do not deserve this recognition. Considering that every young boy born in India after 1983 has atleast once in his life dreamt of becoming a cricket player and only a handful of them are lucky enough to play in the domestic circuit, these players are super successful. If cricket was like a CAT exam, they would be in the high 99.9 percentile zone. They surely deserved more credit than they used to get. For the sake of those players who have given it all in the domestic scene but are not able to make it to the international level because of luck or little lack of talent I love the IPL.

3. The earliest memory I have of cricket is England’s Tour of India in 1993 famous for a double hundred scored by a certain Vinod Kambli. The English wicketkeeper on that tour was some guy called blackey, because the main wicket keeper Alec Stewart simply refused to tour India. It was a norm during those days. Loads of English players had refused earlier tours either feigning injuries or citing personal reasons. These were the pre terrorism days and security was not an issue. Its amazing to think that the same country’s team decided to continue with the tour after one of the worst terrorist attacks in the world hit India. Quite obviously it was in the name of “WORLD PEACE”

And its not only the English. Australia’s great ambassador of peace who wants to resolve the racist attacks in Australia, ordered specially made food from Australia as late as the 98 tour. A well known joke running during those times was that Australians suffer from food poisoning just after hearing that the food that they were served was washed in tap water.

I am sure the same process is still followed. But suddenly, India is the place to play cricket. It is the center of the world. They say its because of the passion and the crowd support. Its baloney!! Indian crowds were as passionate in 80’s or the 90’s. Only one thing has changed and we all know what it is and i love the IPL for bringing out the splurge in the open and attracting the materialistic foreigners to my country.

4. Richie Benaud in an interview quoted a young Australian batsman whose ultimate dream was to play in the IPL. He did not mention the baggie green. He wanted to play the IPL. Sign of the future perhaps!!
Because it sells million dollar dreams to many young cricketers around the world and particularly in India, I love the IPL.

5. Some boards feel that it will destroy the game in other countries because the boards don’t have enough money to keep their players and they would go into retirement to play in the IPL. Why should India be worried about the same. All the other Indian sports have suffered because of the exact same reason, and it is not India’s prerogative to look after other boards and their concerns. We are a nation that is large enough and strong enough to run our own sport, even if others suddenly stop playing. If baseball can have a world series played in a single country, cricket can also have an all powerful league.

India has ruled the game of cricket for the past ten years and IPL is just a show of strength. Unfortunately, our team has not been the best in the world and hence we needed another kind of reminder to the world that it is India who rules the game. I know the views are slightly strong but I just love the IPL – not necessarily for the cricket (because I am a purist :-)) but for what it represents.