Bollywood is a global phenomena and this is not doubted by anyone. Singing and dancing is an integral component of Indian culture. The combination of various forms of entertainment; namely, singing, dancing and acting have combined in India to form a global industry like none another.
It’s greatness notwithstanding, there are issues when this singing and dancing culture is mixed
with cricket, big businesses and big money and the result is something that is neither pure cricket, nor pure business and nor pure entertainment. What exactly is IPL? It is a platform where cricketers are bought in auctions, paid ridiculous amounts of money to mingle with actors, singers and dancers. On its face the IPL is considered to be a cricket extravaganza but in reality it does not promote real cricket at the highest level.
Real cricket at the highest level can only be played when a country’s pride or international reputation is at stake. The IPL would not have been criticised in this thread if it was an exclusive Indian cricket platform. Unfortunately, cricketers from around the world are tempted to play in this contest by money and they do not play for patriotism, but for cash. They have no special admiration for Indian entertainment industry, its cricket system or culture, they are simply motivated by money. This is the reason why outside India, almost no one pays attention to IPL.
Pakistani players have not performed to a high standard in IPL so far but, Pakistanis are not so
despondent about their players’ spineless performances. What disappoints them is that their players are so motivated by money that they sacrifice pride and succumb to global humiliation. Australians, Englishmen, West Indians- barely anyone cares about which of their players is performing in IPL. That is a slap on the faces of ICC and BCCI.
It is accepted that the IPL is not an ICC “World” League as such, but an Indian league. Yet, if that is so why the need to hold it out to be a global event? Why are top players around the world included in the auctions? Why the need to boast and brag about the billions of rupees that are invested every year in this League?
An argument in support of IPL is that it bolsters the Indian domestic cricket system and gives a chance to youngsters to play with the best players in the world. From India’s perspective, this is a valid point. Yet, this has to be balanced against the disgrace of cricketers being auctioned like mere items. This has to be balanced against the degrading quality of cricket that is seen around the world where pitches are becoming more batsmen friendly and not many matches produce convincing results. It appears batsmen are forgetting how to play Test cricket and the promotion of T20 cricket is to be blamed. But, with IPL it is an overkill of T20.
Pakistani cricketers have disappointed their fans by expressing relentless, desperate interest in
IPL. Not long ago Pakistani players suffered global humiliation when there were no auctions for them in IPL. Even in an earlier IPL event, Pakistani players were sold for peanuts compared to some lesser renowned T20 players. Yet, in the face of this obvious disgrace Pakistanis are desperate to be a part of IPL: the movie. The travesty is that these Pakistani players already earn millions from match fees, sponsorships and hosting events. Yet, why is there such a lust for money? Recently Pakistan cricket has been hit by a spot fixing scandal and there are reports much of the team is involved in spot and match fixing. If this is true then surely these players will have made millions. Even then, the lust for money remains? At what cost?
The Pakistan Cricket Board has recently released a statement that it wants its players to play in IPL. This is depolorable. The cricket board is governed in part by the Sports Ministry so apparently this move is being encouraged by the government. This government has no shame, integrity or commitment to the country. Ijaz Butt is a failure. Under his leadership Pakistan cricket has transformed from a failing organisation to a circus.
There were reports of financial irregularities and corruption in IPL, but it is not known exactly whether investigations have concluded and findings have been drawn. It was believed Lalit Modi has been involved in corruption. This adds to the controversy surrounding IPL. Mumbai and Dubai are considered to be centres of match fixing and betting and all links between IPL and bookies must be investigated.
Cricket was a game invented by noblemen to be played in a certain manner. Over time the game has evolved. This blog is not against T20 cricket, but against this extreme commercialisation of cricket which detaches all the charm that is associated with cricket. There is no point mixing cricket with Bollywood, singing, dancing, razmatazz and auctions. The result is a complete lack of substance. The IPL has failed to be the global cricket extravaganza BCCI and ICC envisaged it to be. Its interest is only limited to India and even many Indian fans who prefer substance over style disapprove of IPL. Cricket is best played with the heart, passion and a desire to compete for the sake of one’s country and pride. International sport is meant to be played like that. The IPL sucks the charm out of cricket.
As far as this blog is concerned, the lack of interest globally will affect IPL detrimentally and it will not last. Substance will trounce style and the real spirit of cricket will be reinvigorated. Forget the hype of billions of rupees. This Indian Premier League is destined to fail.