Guess what’s in vogue this season? Not yellows, purples, high heels and all that—I wouldn’t know a zilch—but the monstrous IPL. The lad’s getting awfully lambasted this time—he’s wondering why?! He’s in search of Frankenstein. Perhaps, he should head London. Just a mere insinuation of his name ‘Indian Premier League’ (some call him ‘hit and giggle’) on my social network account and swords are ready to be crossed. “Are you excited about the IPL?” is all I ask and the retorts are sharp—“it’s killed Indian Cricket” laments one while the others just call it names. I am wondering now if the interview I gave last week will have any takers at all. Well, the guy, quite suspiciously asked me if I was looking forward to the league’s fifth edition, and I, much to his distress, said an emphatic ‘Yes’.
“Why?” he snapped. “Well, there’s a lot to be excited about the IPL.” I held my ground. “This is the only tournament that allows little known Indian cricketers like Paul Valthaty(Kings XI Punjab) to become a household name. Only the IPL allows a rookie Indian medium pacer like Pradeep Sangwan (Kolkata Knight Riders) to not only play along side Brett Lee but also take a tip or two from the legendary Wasim Akram.”
Well, let’s face it—which other platform gives an opportunity like this. How on earth can a Deepak Chahar, still cutting his teeth in domestic cricket, expect to meet his idol Shane Warne? I, for instance, picked up an important cricketing note during one of my conversations with teammate Ricky Ponting, while playing in the IPL. Ricky told me that sometimes, while in a bad patch, one prepares way too much. That false confidence developed at the net session is carried to the pitch. That’s a rare insight.
If it hadn’t been for the IPL, David Hussey would’ve never been able to give me the wisdom he did. I was batting No.7, way too down for my liking. “It would’ve been better had I not been played at all”, I had grumbled. That’s when Hussey told me how important it is to play, no matter what. Every chance to show your wares is valuable, he’d said. One might be comfortable with a particular spot, but T20 is all about allowing your inhibitions to take a back seat.
And that’s not it—IPL is the only tournament of its kind where one can see Rahul Dravid and Shaun Tait, Sehwag and Morne Morkel, Sachin Tendulkar and Malinga playing with and not against each other. That’s an interesting prospect for any cricket enthusiast.
But the reporter was having none of it, he refused to budge. “Don’t you think that the IPL is the reason for India’s dismal performances overseas?” Here we go again! Blaming the IPL for all the sins in the World! The next thing we may hear is that the IPL is responsible for global warming, or the 2G scam, or even the box office showings of Don 2.
C’mon, if we think that our Test debacle was only and only because of the IPL, then we might as well believe that everything that went right in the last five years was also because of the IPL. Otherwise, let’s open ourselves to a debate. Comparing Test with T20 cricket is sillier than comparing apples with oranges. We failed in England and Australia because our seasoned cricketers didn’t perform and not because their skill set got corrupted because of a few seasons of the IPL—Period.
I don’t insist on watching or rooting for the IPL, that’s a personal choice. But at least not disregard for the wrong reasons.
Food for thought: If you really want to help Indian Test cricket improve, instead of abandoning the IPL (because it’s fashionable to say so), start following domestic cricket and domestic performers. That’s where we’d find our real heroes. Let’s follow the IPL for what it is—fantastic sporting event with a healthy dose of entertainment throw into the mix.
IPL 5 will anyway be the last time we’d see many of our cricketing legends showcase their wares. The likes of Gilchrist, Dravid and Ganguly may not be around in 2013. Did I count Ganguly in that list?
There will be more games in this season than any of the previous seasons and hence fan loyalty will be tested, especially with regards to ground attendance for 4pm games. Bigger teams like Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders etc.seemed to have stolen a march over the rest in the last two seasons. This IPL may be a good indicator whether that divide between the stronger teams and the relatively weaker ones is widening.
The first match between CSK & MI has set the ball rolling.
I stand by my word—I’ll watch the IPL. Will you?
This article was first published here
This entry was posted on Friday, April 6th, 2012 at 5:08 pm
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.