Monday, 25 February 2008

Will the IPL connect emotionally and financially?

The IPL organizers and bidders seem to have understood that watching and appreciating a cricket match is an habit or an obsessive compulsory disorder for the Indian public, whereas it is actually an option. Otherwise, why else would such mindless money be invested in IPL.
Attachment to the teams cause is what attracts the eyeballs of a viewer to a sporting encounter and not the fact that his favorite sporting star bank balance is going to add a few zeros. In a game like cricket, if you have to be attached to a team, you have to connect with all the eleven players and this happens only when they are representing your country. Nobody is going to feel disappointed if an X city loses a match nor there is going to be a great attachment to all the 11 players representing your city. I come from Bangalore but I would like to see Ishanth Sharma knocking the day lights out of Kalis rather than the otherway around. English Press is not going to take a team to the cleaners if they lose a match because viewers in the winning city are going to be terribly disappointed.
The most important assumption of the IPL business model is the love of Indian Public for Cricket. This love is very limited and specific to the matches being played by India alone. Our public cannot take a defeat lightly and come to the streets burning effigies and attacking players homes when the team loses important matches. Will the lose by a city team result in venting of such ires? Our love for cricket is more because of a certain TINA (There is No Alternative) Factor rather than genuine love for the game. These are the reasons why Cricket has become such a passion in India. How many of our self professed cricket fans know who was the Man of the Match/ Series in this years Ranji Trophy? How many know who is Sangwan and which grade of cricket he plays for India? Not more than an handful.
Will the players have the same competitive edge that they posses when they represent their country. Failure in IPL would not cost them a place in their national teams nor is it going to affect their records in any way. Some of the players are going to get three times of the amount that they will get by representing their country for a whole year. Even a year or two of playing for IPL is sufficient to take care of them post-retirement. They are not going to stretch themselves while playing for IPL. Nobody would like to get injured playing IPL and risk the chance of playing for their country. Thus, the contention that IPL would improve domestic cricket is as true as a lamppost being a rain shelter. Moreover, will two cricketers from the same country representing opposite city teams sledge each other. There is no emotions that are going to be involved in these matches. In that aspect the ICL players are better placed because once they join this league their international career is effectively over and they have to perform well in the ICL for their earnings to continue.
I am in no mood to waste 40 plus evenings of mine watching two city teams sweat it out for the profit of a franchisee. How na?ve the cricket administrators can be? Was it not a few years back the super series involving Australia V Rest of the World, a damp squib, though performance in these matches added to the records of the individual players.

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