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Thoughts on IPL

There was a time when the excitement of a cricket match was natural. People drove around on the roads of Bombay with the Indian flag draped around them, their cars etc. This was even before a victory. It was around 2003 and it was the World Cup. It must have either been India vs Pak or India vs Australia. Heck, I gave up on my board exam and invited friends, bought snacks and waited for the match to begin.

Cut to 2008 and we have contrived excitement all over India. I just don’t understand why so much of marketing and propaganda is going into this. Forget BCCI’s revenge on ICL, BCCI’s show of might or Lalit Modi’s whims. Why is there a major build up to everything concerning IPL? Why didn’t it just stop with stars purchasing teams and becoming owners? I did like that joke of Saif in an awards function when he said, my friend here(SRK) was not allowed to watch a cricket match and so he bought himself a team!

Thankfully people watching IPL on CBN are not subjected to the countless ads. Or so I hear. I have watched, probably, 10 overs of IPL so far. I read about it here and here. Why is Sivamani there in the stadium adding to all the frenzy? I can understand if I see SRK in Kolkata or Preity Zinta in Mohali. You cannot see Mukesh Ambani often because he has a proper job. The other owners have a job that requires them to show their face at regular intervals. Lets not even get into the whole cheer girls thing. Why are these people being such a dramebaaz? Like someone remarked, if a sport resorts to cheer girls dancing, singing half of the time, the sport must be really shallow. I liked Ramachandra Guha’s comment on it though:

“All the organisers are doing by making scantily-clad white women dance in front of huge crowds is to stoke the base voyeuristic and sexual insecurities of the Indian male. It is revolting, appalling and shows the game in very poor light.”

I am all for T20 cricket but then its neither being played nor marketed the right way. It is good fun. Things take a turn in a matter of a ball. The T20 world cup showed how exciting it can be and it also showed how bowlers do have something to play for. But then having a league with players worth millions, we have a strong batting side hitting sidelined Indian players all around the ground. Add to this Sivamani, Washington Redskins cheerleaders, Bhajji slapping, Sreesanth crying and countless brands laughing their way to the bank.

A friend compared IPL to league football and said we could do with something like that in Cricket. Thats so illogical. Mukul Kesavan points out beautifully. It is very pedestrian and it highlights ignorance when you make such a comparison. League football celebrates football in all its splendor and glory. It’s proper ninety minutes of play. Not a toned down version like T20. They don’t try so hard to market themselves. Don’t tell me they don’t have to. They never did. I’ll watch Real Madrid play Manchester United at Old Trafford rather than Mumbai Indians play Chennai Super Kings. That is until they play proper cricket and inspire me to give up my board exam and invite friends home. On the pitch, that is. Not on Royal Sundaram stand with Vijay, Nayanthara and Sivamani!

On a completely different note, some of those marketing minds at work are truly gods. You can’t help but like this. Truly remarkable people at work.

(First published on Desicritics)

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33 thoughts on “Thoughts on IPL

  1. For the life of me, I don’t understand what all the IPL excitement is about. And then to add to it, I got called a “wanna-be whitey” because I celebrated Michigan football. I really do just believe in the whole essence-of-the-game concept. While I had no major criticism on ICL, it still didn’t exactly keep me up in the morning watching the match.

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  2. Great post aditya, but pray, analyze it from the view of the average indian cricket fan, like me. The IPL is yet another excuse to watch cricket dude! What more do you want? Its not just cricket, its cricket with sivamani, with shah rukh khan, with vijay! What more, you get to to see stuff like Yuvi and Brett Lee celebrating together, Dhoni and Hayden discussing batting tactics, stuff that you did in the 8th std when you put ‘fantasy teams’ together when you played book cricket (yes, I was a big fan of book cricket as well :P).

    Yea, I’m just another cricket nut, and while I may not have the same enthu as I did during the 2003 world cup, I am definitely all for the IPL.

    Chumma adhuridhile! :D

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  3. I used to like cricket long long ago. Now, it just bores me. It is no longer the subtle and nuanced game it used to be. The Americans used to be derisive about it. “About the same pace as road construction, only more boring” was a typical barb. And we, the cricketing people would smile superciliously knowing that the loudmouths would never understand the niceties of the arm ball. Well, the game is a bit like pin the tail on the donkey now. Swing baby swing, is the cry that goes around. You hit you’re a hero. You miss, no sweat, can’t win all the time. So every one swings and for sheer skill content, we might as well settle matches with the toss of a coin.

    Ipl has not just killed cricket,it has disemboweled it and converted it into a zombie monster. Excuse me while I choke back my sobs.

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  4. i haven’t watched a single ball of cricket in ages. i guess that’s the only wise decision i’ve made in my life.

    speaking of teams signing up cheergirls, a friend told me one spectator took a 20 foot fall in an attempt to catch a better glimpse of the girls. watching cheer leaders dance is so passe. it’s like an annoying commercial in the middle of an interesting game.

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  5. i seriously don’t get the cheer leading idea, we’re gonna fill the stadiums anyways. They don’t attract crowds and if someone wants to stroke their libido then you’re better off stuffing a few dollar bills you-know-where with a scantily clad lass on yor lap!

    lets legalize the beer-bars, get in some firang naachnewaalis for spl nights and open up a whole new industry! Those who wanna watch cricket can goto the stadium and those looking for some ahem-ahem can hang out at the beer-bar.

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  6. You must have played the game at least once using a leather cricket ball and a wooden willow to understand how tough the game is. T20 is a game of skill, temperament and is a mind game needing physical fitness. Watch the NBA, MFL and MLB in the USA. Great players like Michael Jordan, Alex Rodriguez and Peyton Manning in the USA are all products of a country which deals with Sports as a business. I watch the IPL in the USA and I am really happy for India, Indian Cricket and admire the business aciument of the folks who started these clubs. My advice to folks like Mukul Kesavan et al – stop whining and enjoy the game.

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  7. I really dno which ‘league’ i belong to…I absolutely can’t stand the over-hyped, in-your-face marketing campaigns, celebrity participation and the cheer leaders…BUT the game in itself is fun to watch…The spirit is awesome…When the match is on, all others r forgotten really and the entire concentration IS on the game alone- for the spectators & players alike…Everyone takes it seriously…Ok, one other thing which i don’t like is, it’s kinda making me rethink my loyalty…I couldn’t belive i was superhappy when dravid got out yestrday and when hussey caught those awesome catches…Bhajji and Sreesanth..Unwanted stuff rite???

    But I guess the game format is exciting…A lot less hype would’ve comforted everyone…But now, we just have to adjust and let it be- in the name of good cricket…

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  8. I wish cricket in our country would do well without the extra hype its getting. Why cant SRK just do another LUX ad instead of turning the camera towars him at the staduim?

    As for the cheerleading thing, tt about women. Its always about women. Its why see a seductress clad in skimpy red for an automobile ad.

    Cha.

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  9. Cricket is the latest victim of excessive commercialisation. Not to mention the blatant bitchiness that BCCI is doing as far as ICL is concerned. IPL is very exciting and all that and it’s not a bad concept in itself. It’s just this excessive marketing and hype etc which is leaving a bad taste. And after every half an over, there’s a shot displaying the mugs of ChimneyKhan, MashedPotatoZinta with her RichCuteBoy or some other “Look ma, it’s them!” kind of person. What are we watching? A cricket match or a star display? But then, being the nation of cricket worshippers that we are, we can never totally give up watching IPL or similar stuff. We’ll diss it, we’ll whine about it, we’ll yell how commercialised it is and at the end of the day, we’ll be rushing from school/college/work asking other people, “Score kya hua?”
    As for the cheerleaders, I don’t see what the big deal is. I don’t like them as such and I think they make any sport look silly with those bloody pom-poms and dumb blonde-sy antics. But then, if they’re already there in IPL now, raising a hue and cry against their clothes is so bleh. It’s as if we’re a nation of burqa-wearers.

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  10. Nice post. I used to bunk school to see W.I vs N.Z. matches when Justin Vaughan and Gavin larsen used to open N.Z. bowling. Very recently I saw every ball of a 3 match series between Zimb. and Bangladesh. The reason I state this is to substantiate the fact that I watch cricket for cricket’s sake, and not necessarily for India.

    There are a few good reasons why I won’t watch IPL

    1. High-handedness of BCCI towards ICL.
    2. It is 20-20 cricket. Bowlers have absolutely no role in the team. It makes sense to play 8 batsmen, 1 keeper and 3 part-timers like Bangar. The crux of cricket is preserving your wicket. In 20-20 nobody really cares if they get out.

    3. Lack of identity. So for Kolkata Knight Riders some 3 international stars played 3 matches. Now they are replaced by 3 others. Who am I rooting for? Just the name of the team? The composition keeps changing based on the availablity of players.

    4. The IPL is simply a glorified version of Ranji trophy. Every team can have only 4 stars. The remaining 7 may have 1 or 2 current Indian stars. That means I am seeing Jignis Bhai bowling to Ravi Teja 50% of the time.

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  11. @butterfly:
    lol@ wanna be whitey. i know.

    @chutney:
    lol, ellam ok, still konjam overa irukku. adhurudhu it seems :p. my question is why bring movie stars everywhere.

    @naren:
    i agree with a lot of your points.

    @jayashri:
    thanks!

    @v:
    that really happened??sad!

    @max:
    ROFL good idea. i’ll tell you when am jobless machan :D

    @mali:
    fair enough! but lot of things seem unwanted.

    @preeti:
    typical response from you :P

    @mayth:
    i know and LOL@ typo. :P

    @drenched:
    back?got the snail mail eh? nice :D

    @ok:
    Hmmm, makes sense, all the math.

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  12. @OK: The remaining 7 may have 1 or 2 current Indian stars. That means I am seeing Jignis Bhai bowling to Ravi Teja 50% of the time.

    That’s the beauty of it pa, and the only thing I liked about it. The occasion, decibel levels and bullring atmosphere encourage guys like A.Dinda, M.Gony to rise up to the occasion and bowl snorters to names like Kallis, Jayasurya et al..

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  13. @arun:

    lol, totally agree. all vetti bandha!

    @preeti:

    aiyo, thats not what i meant ma, you can very much express yourself here. it just sounded so…’preeti’ :p

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  14. @Adi padi:
    Kick these dissenters and break blue plates on their heads, I say! Creating unrest for no reason at all! Bleddy naansense.
    On second thoughts, Preeti can be spared. She’s nice.
    Let’s just target Ok.

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  15. I think IPL is a start of bigger things. Success at IPL might force ICC to rethink on this FTP and make a window in May and November so that all players can participate. Also ICC might bring a tourney like Champions League for club cricket. I agree the fact you like to watch Manu vs Real because these clubs have been there for decades , so may be just may be our next generation might write a blog abt enjoying watching Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings

    reg cheer leaders,it brings back the old question do we need dress code at work or at college,it depends on ppl’s views,i liked them in ICCt20 in SA they were well dressed than the ones we see for Royals

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  16. @nirmal:
    yes, i do agree it’ll take time for the team to become household names. But then, to take them to that level, it should be cricket and not the brands they endorse, the cheer girls etc.

    And the dress is not the problem. The need for cheer girls in the first place is questionable.

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