Wednesday, April 23

IPL - A smooth take-off

I had my doubts about the IPL living up to the hype. The audience, I thought, would be confused about whom to root for. However, one share-auto ride from my office to home and I am convinced that its beginnings, at least, are glorious. I saw agape as hordes of men crooned to get a glimpse of restaurant TVs broadcasting the Chennai Super Kings play, a scene I hitherto only associated with World Cups or the finals of a series and the like.

Having said that, I don't agree with Amit Varma's opinion that this is an 'intensification' of the game. True, most sports are shorter, but those who appreciate Test cricket, appreciate it for the beauty of the frontfoot defensive shot and the patience that a batsman exhibits to save a Test, apart from the perfectly executed aggressive shots. T20 intensifies a lot of things, but definitely not the sport as a whole with its aesthetic aspects. Like with all new things, we tend to gravitate to one extreme opinion or the other. Looks like Amit has been guilty of the same. Personally, I think Amit sides with anything that is a commercial success, but heck that's just me!

On the other hand, I echo Wasim Akram's views who says the one-day game is under serious threat. The really scary thing here is that I've never heard anyone say, "The one-day game needs to be saved." So far it was Test cricket that had its share of champions who wanted to keep it safe from the one-day format. We know that purists love the Test format for different reasons and youngsters like the slam-bang stuff that T20 provides. So where is the room for one-dayers? What is the positioning, the unique differentiator that sustains this form? You need to spend the whole day, and endure that painful part between the 25th and 35th over - twice! After the 20-20 World Cup, one felt that one was watching the future of cricket unfold. Too many people considered Test Cricket to be under threat, but Wasim Akram might be closer to the truth with his latest statement.

So congratulations are in order for Mr Modi (possibly a little too premature). He's created quite a commercial monster, and I dare say, I might well tell my kids and grandchildren one day, "I watched the first ever IPL with these very eyes."


  1. Rohan, I'm not pleased with the IPL concept although I will accept (grudgingly) that it has thrown up some good cricket. However, the cricket seems to be more a sideshow with the cheerleaders, movie stars and overhype. Read Mukul Kesavan's article below if you get the chance - makes some interesting points.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Sushil. Here's my response to that:

    Seriously Mukul, this article doesn't have a clear thread of reason running through it. Why does the IPL have to fail? Do you really think that the IPL sucks or don't you just like the T20 format? Is the razzmatazz distracting you?

    When I come back from work, I just like the fact that I can watch some entertaining cricket; the cheerleaders and Akshay Kumar are not my main areas of interest. And I love watching Test Cricket too. It looks like the hype of IPL and the things surrounding them have gotten to you. Most of the people I know have gotten into either the 'I hate IPL' or 'I love IPL' group, and you seem to have swayed to the former.

    Test Cricket will survive, it has survived 30 years of one day cricket, not merely as a 'curiosity', but as a genuine sport in its own right. Were naysayers like you saying the same thing back then? I think so.

    You're free to ignore the IPL and watch Test cricket, so why aren't you doing that?