Whether to call IPL a real cricket feast, glitz, glamour or, a multi-million dollar business or an extended Bollywood Showbiz? This is a question that needs to be answered by the readers. Because, Bollywood is taking over the IPL in more ways than one. Apart from Shahrukh Khan owning the Night Riders team along with Preity Zinta, Padukone aur na janay kone kone, more new faces are constantly appearing on the cricket screen. Bollywood director Sanjay Gupta was shooting in Bangalore doing the promo reels and Shahrukh Khan is promoting himself along with Zinta and whatnot are they really doing it for the promotion of cricket?.
The business tycoons like Ambanis, the Mallyas and the Modis are trying to maximize their profits and working on the ROI and also speculating about how much more should they invest to get a bigger slice of the pie? The way the owners picked up the players was not so appealing to a normal cricket fan. They lined up all the players on a stage and then there was bidding and auction just like a cattle farm and a bawdy house. Cricket players are very often referred by commentators as “good hookers” of the ball, but not in real terms. But, asking them to line up or parade on a stage just like models displaying their clothes and cleavage and, then sold to the highest bidder is something very degrading and humiliating for a player. After all these international players are known to everyone and their stats on cricinfo is like their CV’s, so whats the point of parading them like hoochie mamas? But, the irony is the players themselves have allowed this to happen, they have accepted it gleefully for the sake of money.
Now, the IPL inaugural ceremony has kick started the glamour, the cheer girls have come all the way from the USA to add some more colour, glamour and glitz into the stadiums to add attraction as well as distraction. For an average Indian who wants to enjoy his evening, the least he could do was spend three hours in aMmultiplex or a Cineplex, for him IPL is even better, this is live entertainment combined with cricket. So, cricket in fact is a side-kick here. If IPL is glitzy why not add more glitter to it?
Some people may not agree with this view that cricket is not in the forefront of IPL’s agenda but it is a fact. Although on paper and in reality it is a cricket match, but it has more to do with business, glamour and entertainment. Yes, cricket is an entertainment, that is true but, cricket when it is played between national teams bring out a lot of passion and emotions are is missing here. So far we have witnessed that IPL is creating regionalism and jingoism. People in the same country do not applaud at the achievements of their national heroes because, they are not from their city or province. Come on, if you consider it as entertainment then applaud on every occasion and be sporty or admit that it is not cricket. It could be like that wrestling competitions well known as WWW a couple of decades ago, which we call it as “noora kushti” which was very popular until the Internet exploited its abbreviation www or worldwide web and people have forgotten about that fad of World Wide Wrestling, because it was a fad.
A lot of people say that the IPL &r ICL is not a fad, in fact they are changing the face of cricket. Actually the face of cricket is changing ever since it started, if one needs to read about it in detail, below is a very good link from cricinfo which highlights the time line and the way cricket has changed.
So, the other question that comes to mind is whether IPL & ICL is here to stay or is this another fad which is here to damage test cricket? Once again some people may not agree but, here is an example of how the New Zealand players reacted: “Look, if we are playing in the official Twenty20 league, we really don’t want to join the New Zealand team in the warm-up matches before the Test series with England in May, because if we stay an extra three weeks in India, we can earn far more money than by just playing in the warm-up matches for New Zealand.” And who are these olayers? Their skipper Daniel Vittori, their ace player Jacob Oram and their charismatic wicket keeper Brendon McCullum. There are a lot of players like them who are saying: “Hey, this can make me a millionaire, a multi-millionaire. This can seal my future, so to hell with Test cricket.” So, the answer is obvious these leagues will definitely hurt the test cricket.
It will also hurt the young Indian cricketers too, because some of them playing for ICL may never get a chance to play for India due to obvious reasons and even those rookies and uncapped players who are playing for the IPL may be ending their career in similar fashion. The difference between today’s egg and tomorrow’s chicken is like a lay person and a visionary. The businessman is certainly a visionary but, he is not a promoter of cricket which is played with a different passion. He is a businessman and he will make money and the same goes for those actors and actresses they are getting more publicity and money, thats what they want. The players too are getting more money but, at whose expense?
If cricket was just an insect hopping and chirping around and not a game then, I would have said, let it go down the gutters. But it is the game of cricket that WG Grace played in style and Don Bradman took it to the zenith followed by the Laras, Tendulkars and Inzamams and we are allowing these business tycoons, the actors and actresses to ruin this game in the name of entertainment, then cricket is the loser and we are all losers. It is up to you to decide where you stand, what are your loses and what have you lost?