OPINION

IPL Frenzy

February 22, 2008
Kartikeya

Subhash Chandra ought to be ashamed of himself. The BCCI refused his bid for TV rights, and he took it badly. Just to spite BCCI, he decided to start the Indian Cricket League, which caused BCCI to launch its own Indian Premier League. Today we had the first, and possibly most exciting day of the this league with various players being auctioned to various franchises. Shah Rukh Khan and other monied people inflicted their taste in cricketers on cricket and the public.

I have a hard time seeing Mr. Ambani as Cricket's Roman Abramovich. International Cricket has been reduced to being a faux-national joke. Some of the top players in the world will be playing silly cricket (twenty overs a side), peddling their hard earned Test match reputations for a few extra bucks. The game is shortchanged because its best exponents are reduced to participating in a farcical format which does not allow any real contest between bat and ball. The spectators are shortchanged, because they see a team sheet with some of the greatest names in the game, only to find that most of them are over the hill, playing a format which is better suited for under 12's.

Many people will seek to compare this with Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. Packer Cricket was real cricket. Many of the players who participated thought it was some of the highest quality cricket they played. Real test matches were played and real contests were seen. Twenty20 by definition cannot produce a real cricketing contest, for reasons discussed before.

At the end of the day BCCI will make lots of money, but at what cost? Might they not have taken the Ranji Trophy and built it up into something similar instead, without the Twenty20? County Cricket has attracted the world's best cricketers for 40 years now. Why would Ranji Trophy not do the same? What is BCCI's strategy for domestic cricket? It is no secret that the Indian first class calender needs a wholesale revamp. Instead of rebuilding the Ranji Trophy (something which BCCI has paid a lot of attention to in recent years, with different formats being tried) and applying their business acumen in an area where there might be benefits beyond their bank balance, BCCI has taken the easy way out and floated a silly franchise based system. They have ignored their local associations, which are their real franchises.

In doing so, they have stooped to the level of Subhash Chandra. The difference between BCCI and Zee TV, is that the BCCI is the trustee of the game of cricket in India, while Zee TV is merely a Television channel on the look out for lucrative television software. The IPL weakens this differentiation. Previously, the BCCI's monopoly in running cricket had merit. Now, it is obvious that there is no difference whatsoever between BCCI and Zee TV or any other company that wishes to make a quick buck off cricket.

If you want a summary of the result of the bidding, see this. Suresh Raina $650,000, VVS Laxman $375,000, Ricky Ponting $400,000, David Hussey $675,000... Enough said!

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IPL Frenzy

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Author: Kartikeya

 

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#1
raj
URL
February 22, 2008
10:53 AM

"The game is shortchanged because its best exponents are reduced to participating in a farcical format which does not allow any real contest between bat and ball. The spectators are shortchanged, because they see a team sheet with some of the greatest names in the game, only to find that most of them are over the hill, playing a format which is better suited for under 12's."

You seem to arrogate to yourself the power to decide what's good for the game, the players and the spectators. If the players don't want to be auctioned, they can say so and stay out. If the spectators don't want to see the match, they have the option of staying out. Where's the question of being short-changed? There's no coercion or false claims.

#2
Chandra
February 22, 2008
11:14 AM


Too early and difficult to guage it's impact. What worries me most is its impact on Test cricket. But we will see....wait and watch,,,,,in the meanwhile there is an interesting Test match between SAF and Bangladesh. I have a feeling BD will win this one (their first against a leading test team)

#3
lomi
February 22, 2008
11:25 AM

well u are wrong on kerry packer altogether.
When packer started in late seventies, he had same dilemmas:
1) tarnshin pure cricket
2) not gonna work.

It worked and it was famous fr 30 full years tat we still look forward to 2008 world tri series goin on now which was by product of the packer series.

Now 30 yrs frm now ppl(meanin the general joe of india) will say 20-20 is better than test cricket and ofcourse 50-50 wud have become extinct.

So lets wait and watch.

#4
lomi
February 22, 2008
11:26 AM

well u are wrong on kerry packer altogether.
When packer started in late seventies, he had same dilemmas:
1) tarnshin pure cricket
2) not gonna work.

It worked and it was famous fr 30 full years tat we still look forward to 2008 world tri series goin on now which was by product of the packer series.

Now 30 yrs frm now ppl(meanin the general joe of india) will say 20-20 is better than test cricket and ofcourse 50-50 wud have become extinct.

So lets wait and watch.

#5
Kartikeya
URL
February 22, 2008
02:07 PM

Raj... there is however a monopoly on the part of the BCCI, which i have no problem with, but which, as guardians of the sport in India, they must stay worthy of... T20 as a format is dubious for reasons that i have discussed earlier (the post is linked in this article) - it is not as many people suggest a compressed ODI game, just as an ODI game is not a compressed Test match.

The reference to Packer was purely a reference to the quality of cricket it produced. In that sense it did no disservice to the sport.

No other sport in living memory has abused its own format and rules as easily as limited overs Cricket has.

Ultimately it is T20 and ODI cricket that Test cricket is in competition with. ODI cricket has already caused Test series to be reduced to a token two tests per series in most instances. It remains to be seen what T20 will do..

Its obvious that it is too early to say what T20 will do to cricket.... but the argument here is based primarily on two concerns - the poor format, and the position of BCCI as the guardian of the sport as against just another company seeking to get into the entertainment business.

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