Monday, June 2, 2008

IPL : 3 Cheers

Debabrata Das is from Siliguri, West Bengal. If there was no IPL, we would probably have never known this guy existed. He played for Kolkata Knight Riders. By end of IPL's first season, this young man of 21 yrs from a small town in India had already made enough money to support his family for next few years.

My first cheer is for all the Debabratas and Asnodkar's and Trivedis of India who became "visible" because of this great tamasha of cricket. Rural, non-upwardly mobile class of Indians who reside in small remote towns are now seeking the same space in Indian mainstream today that was the reserve of a handful of well connected city elites. And IPL probably was successful in providing a semi matured forum for their talents.
The cash rich IPL has probably broken that first barrier. The barrier of small town-big town wall.

Dhoni, the cool captain of Indian national team had already in some way, made a dent in that wall sometime back; but with IPL that wall was official brought down.

My second cheer is for Decentralization of Power of Cricket's governing body. ICC, the once all powerful body would remotely control and wrest all powers of cricket till very recently. But post-liberalization, India became the natural cradle of world cricket owing to its large following and the center of gravity of Cricket itself shifted gradually towards the Indian sub continent. IPL was only the natural consequence to those chain of events. The club culture that was never a forte of cricket, finally found it's genesis in India. In India, that was willing to experiment, was bold enough to call out, and smart enough to sense the opportunity. An India that was for once "Ready".

My third cheer goes for the Indian crowd. Notwithstanding what Yuvi had to say for Mumbai crowd, they showed that they understood what was on the table. What was being offered to them. Mumbai was supporting Mumbai. Mohali was supporting Mohali and Chennai was supporting Chennai. Simple. So Yuvi should stop whining already. When India plays Australia, the next time in Mumbai, crowd will be backing him totally. BUT... for now let IPL be what it is. And the Indian crowd showed their maturity all over the country. They were cheering Jayasuriya when he was making a mincemeat of Ishant Sharma's bowling. They were supporting Akhtar full throttle when he got Sehwag out. Yuvi, the cricketer could not read, what Indian crowds had already learnt. Loyalties can shift and they will with IPL. So just shut the f up Yuvi.

Now for some reality check.

It is obvious that IPL was no philanthropic movement started by a big hearted BCCI. It was all about money. Sharad Pawar, Rajiv Shukla, Lalit Modi, I.S Bindra had a windfall. Let there be no doubt about it. But during the course did it help other aspects? The jury is still out, but.. yes, it helped build good stadiums, it helped poor local lads of states to rub shoulders with the greatest cricketing heroes, it helped generate a lot of buzz and employment in all franchises as more hands were required to manage. Basically the decentralization of power led to cricket's democracy becoming healthier.

If only more sports such as hockey and soccer could generate and roll such money in economy, we would be better off. We need our own NBAs and NFLs and MLBs. The combined economic clout of NBA/NFL/MLB is probably more than some countries GDP. The biggest challenge in India is to generate interest in these sports (hockey and soccer). And thats only possible if India succeeds on world stage. Not qualifying for hockey Olympics won't help.

I keenly followed IPL and so here's that inevitable list that every sports follower HAS to come up.

According to me..

The Team of the tournament : Undoubtedly Rajasthan Royals. The team that was treated as mere pushovers before the season started, proved us all that you don't need the hyper marketing of SRK or million dollar babies in your team to win. Common sense and simple cricketing sense is good enough.

The Captain of the tournament : Without doubt Dhoni. The image of Chennai team forming a huddle after the loss to Royals in a close finish is enduring. No blames pinned, no excuse furnished. That showed character. And strength.

The worst captain : Again without doubt Sachin Tendulkar. If your team is loosing three games by one run on last ball, you have issues. Your captainship has issues. You choke once- you are unlucky. You choke twice, thats pure shit.

The cry-baby of the tournament : Probably a tie between Yuvi and Ganguli. Or wait. Let's give that to Sreesanth. Sreesanth was on display after the slap-gate with Bhajji. The public sobbing of Sreesanth was lame to say the least.

Sour Loosers : SRK and Zinta. Suddenly invisible post knock out.

Find(s) of the tournament : Raina, YK Pathan, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Asnodkar, Manpreet Goni, Jadeja.

1 comment:

Rathchakra said...

Good summary. Did not follow the tournament until the finals, but def saw the new folks shine and outshine the so called heroes. Cricket and Capitalism both emerged victorious. IPL is def a good start, remains to be seen if it sustains over the years. Heck it might even overshadow every other tournament out there.