I remember when I first saw the announcement of IPL in the Hindu newspaper,I inspite of being an hopeless cricket connoisseur and a fan who was bordering on fanatic was attracted to Barclays English premier league and its concept of city based teams fighting to become the best in the country and it was also the boiling pot of talent. I secretly nurtured the wish of a similar concept coming to Indian cricket and Indian cities.
Lalit Modi did exactly this,though ICL came 1-2 years earlier it neither had the marketing nor was it a finished product that could take off,Modi took note of this and came up with a brilliantly packaged product which resonated across the class of Indian society be it school-kids,housewives, rich businessmen,celebrity worshipers,unused cricketers in academy,media persons, it was a no mean job, every one wanted to be a part of it and live it.
Me being a true blue Bengalurean was buzzing with happiness and excitement when Vijay Mallya bought the Bangalore franchise and along with it slew of other-wordly cricketers like Kallis,Steyn,Kumble,Boucher,Nathan bracken,White,Misbah who were led by the Wall Dravid in the auction. Me and my friends used these line-ups for our handcricket,book cricket,leg cricket and other permutations of cricket matches.
The fervour and passion ran high for first 3 seasons.
IPL was always heavily scrutinised due to its groundbreaking success by all quarters, controversies started creeping in and Lalit Modi just had to go, there was too much at stake and too large a pack of hounds chasing. I don’t support Modi in any way but one shouldn’t forget his vision towards making the IPL what it is.IPL has lost much of its sheen and fanfare these days and in my opinion these are the reasons
- Corruption- The point that no one understands, when you a goose that is laying golden eggs why be greedy and try to kill it? There were owners placing bets, like S.E.R.I.O.U.S.L.Y? leave that to college students please and put on a show which has integrity and transparency.
The situation has considerably improved after supreme court and Justice Mudgal pulled up BCCI and there has been no major controversy since past 2 seasons.Let’s not give voice to naysayers of IPL to harp on “Arrey, every match is fixed” it’s such an insensitive thing to say to the team which has worked hard and won the tournament.
- The disillusioned identity – As a banglorean it was blasphemous to see Dravid play for RR and Kumble mentoring MI,This disenchantment among the fans should be avoided.The other successful leagues a player through his performances becomes one among the city and through his loyalty rises to a cult status in the city,this loyalty isn’t valued and respected much in franchisee based system. Ross taylor,Ganguly were the prime examples but they were cut off from the team without much attachments.
In the long run it’ll only leave a set of fans who are detached and lack the passion.
- Cut with the same cloth – the primary reason why there is a home,away format is that the home ground is supposed to be a fortress,wherein conditions support the home team’s strengths and difficult for opposition to breach but the strange point of references set for curators by BCCI literally ensures the pitches are cut with same cloth i.e. Short boundaries,fast outfield,flat track with good bounce for batsmen to humiliate even the world-class bowlers. In the name of more runs and crowd appeasing takes away the diversity which is crucial for a cricket game,else the game of chance that is toss would affect the whole match.
- Lots and lots of background noise – Admit it since Modi left, the class around IPL left as well. These days it is just cacophony of absurd and preposterous declarations by Siddhu in extra innings and micheal owenish type deductions of Rameez raja in the commentary box.
sample these – The ball went so high that it bought air hostess with it,
“Agar meri Chachi ko mooch hoti to mein unhe Chacha kehta”
(If my aunt had a moustache, I’d call her uncle.) – Sidhu when optimistic Rameez Raja hoped Ishant would ball a no ballThe theme song of extra innings looks like it has been composed by 7th std musician who was rejected to perform on his annual day, and there is look at my outfits and makeups more than my anchoring skills anchors.
There is just a lot of cacophony surrounding IPL and senseless firing of Harsha Bhogle further exacerbates this issue. Maybe we can take a leaf out of BBL’s format which appeals masses without being on your face.
- Sponsorship Overdose – Ever seen Poppins advertisement? That’s what team jerseys look like not to mention the image of lots of movie posters plastered over a single wall. The septuagenarian who used to watch cricketers in classic white would cry out loud for coloured dress, but after seeing this he would want a triple heart attack with a bout of blindness.
but sadly the buck doesn’t stop there, it is visible in score tickers,the billboards, the TV screen space and even the commentary isn’t spared “That’s a yes bank maximum”
Lets just call it a six, please.
IPL is a great product which has the potential to stand up to the likes of Superbowl,NBA,EPL it just needs vision and an open mind.