Thoughts on IPL

April 28, 2008

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. Let's 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 it's neither being played nor marketed the right way. It's 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. That is 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'd 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.

Adithya is a graduate student of Computer Science in the United States. He did his Bachelor of Engineering in Madras, India and most of his schooling in Bombay, India. Adithya digs books, sports, movies and computers. In that order. He blogs, just about on everything, at http://gradwolf.wordpress.com
eXTReMe Tracker
Keep reading for comments on this article and add some feedback of your own!

Comments! Feedback! Speak and be heard!

Comment on this article or leave feedback for the author

April 28, 2008
02:09 AM

"I'd 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"

I know many English folks who have a similar aversion for Football. In fact, at my workplace NONE of them agree that they watch Football (cannot be validated though).

I used to watch a lot of football until I moved to England. Here you have football all the time. It is not that the quality of football ins brilliant. Remove half a dozen players (Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, a couple of Goal keepers) and you have RUGBY masquerading as football. Most of teh times players are physically hitting each other than the ball. 20 years ago even the slightest physical touch would be an infringement.

last year I had the opportunity to read some research on who watches football. No wonder that most people in my office donot claim that they watch football. Only 42% of british population watch football. It is quite a shocker considering the 99% newspaper space it takes. I also suspect it is because of the the 3rd rate football that is being played. No beauty nothing. Bang bang.....not only that, a majority of people who wtach football in Europe are working class. That is strange because in India the 'new' fans of the English premier league are nowhere near working class.......

This whole craze for Real Madrid and Manchester united is another way of distinguishing amongst our peers. here is a sample discussion at a workplace..........You watching IPL? you retarded or what? Have you heard of Kaka? oh! you havent? Bloody Indian watching cricket........me? I am great!! i watch European football...i am GORA!!!!

Tell your friend....Sport is sport. If you dont enjoy it, leave those who watch it alone.....no sport is perfect and everybody does not have to like other sport....and real madrid (or barcelona) versus manchester united can be very boring too...did your friend watch the semi last week?..or did he watch a thrid rate game etween Chelsea and MU last weekend....i was surfing channels to watch T20 highights.....that was better.....

Senthil Kumar
April 28, 2008
02:48 AM

Some of cricket playing countries are so small in population. For e.g. Australia population is about same size as Mumbai population. West Indies population is less than half the size of Chennai population.

The point is that, Each IPL league represents lot more humans than a country cricket team could represent.

You are saying that you have watched less than 10 hours of IPL. Why don't you watch some more before passing on your judgment?

I live in a small town here in Southern Tamilnadu. The people here all so much excited about cricket like never before. Most of the new coming spectators are woman and children.

I hardly could watch more than 10 minutes of either soccer or American football. Just because I don't like Soccer doesn't mean that that game is bad. If you don't like T20x20, just change the channel. The way I do with Soccer.

You are silly to say that Indians come to 20x20 match to watch white women. If that is the case, then making the hockey or soccer popular in India should be as easy as bringing white womens to stadiums. Basically you are the one who is insulting the intelligence of Indian viewing public.

April 28, 2008
07:56 AM

and here are some highlights of an article which was published in the daily mail today


"The grasping, grappling, shirtpulling, head-elbowing use of the upper limbs is reducing the beautiful game to an ugly wrestling match"

"At every corner, every free-kick, defenders are shoving and pushing as well as wrapping their arms around opposing forwards as if they are longlost lovers. Invariably, this goes unpunished"

"Not only does this flagrant and widespread use of the arms have nothing to do with football as it should be played, but it is increasing the emphasis on upper body strength which is turning so many footballers into muscle-bound weightlifters"

"Before today's power-centred training regimes, George Best would simply have been flung to the ground by Ballack"

"the game at large needs to remind itself that this is supposed to be football's Great Race not a WWE Smackdown"

April 28, 2008
08:27 AM

Chandra: I never said Football is better than cricket or T20 or anything in that sense. I love cricket as much as I love football. I just don't understand the way IPL has been marketed and handled. All the publicity stunts and the deliberate frenzy.

Senthil Kumar:

1. I never said I don't like T20. Nor did I say I like football better and its a better game. I do follow the matches on cricinfo.

2. I did not say people come to watch T20 to see white women. I don't understand the need for them is what I said. That was a quote and it was not mine.

April 29, 2008
12:01 AM

Hey Adithya or whatever u call urself...

If Preethi Zinta or SRK is in the ground its understandable for the money... but if Sivamani is there for no reason ... then that shows his love for the sport and home team... atleast these guys dont have to buy someone to cheer them while they have such people who can cheer them with love ... so what do u want to see... people with passion for cricket or people who are lobbying around cricket for money ..??

April 30, 2008
04:13 PM

T20 format is flawed

the biggest flaw is pandering to batsmen

if bowlers are restricted to 4 overs the batsmen should be restricted to 20 or 24 balls

that should even the playing field

April 30, 2008
04:14 PM

T20 format is flawed

the biggest flaw is pandering to batsmen

if bowlers are restricted to 4 overs the batsmen should be restricted to 20 or 24 balls (unless they are out first)

that should even the playing field

April 30, 2008
11:01 PM

temporal: That sure sounds like a good idea! wonder why that didn't occur to those at the helm.

April 30, 2008
11:38 PM

Looking at the way McG/Vettori/Warne are bowling does not seem to support what T says.

April 30, 2008
11:52 PM


so you (seemingly) believe the format is not batsmen tilted?

May 1, 2008
12:47 AM


I think the format is pretty balanced. Good bowlers like McGrath, Lee, Warne, Pollock, even young Piyush Chawla are all performing well which shows that you get what you are worth in this format.

At the same time, they should make concessions in the favour of the bowlers, in the interest of fairness and not because this format is harsh for bowlers. Narrow leg side wides are such a joke. You have to bowl just half an inch outside the batsman's butt to see the umpire stretching his arms. That's ridiculous. Likewise, it's time they put some sense into deciding what an off side wide is and what is not. It should be decided on the basis of distance between bat and ball (which is what a wide signifies in the first place - a ball which is so wide that the bat cannot reach) and not on whether the ball crossed some line or not.

Add your comment

(Or ping: http://desicritics.org/tb/7627)

Personal attacks are not allowed. Please read our comment policy.

Remember Name/URL?

Please preview your comment!