Monday, April 28, 2008

Incredibly Popular or Irredeemably Polluted?

Now that everybody is speaking about IPL and its effects on the game of cricket, it would be remiss if I didn't put my two knuts in (as they say, Bhagwan ke ghar der hai...). After all, my love for (and experience of) the game is well-documented.

Given that I haven't seen any of the matches and given the lack of an essential ingredient (to wit, a TV) even if I wanted to watch one, you would be asking yourself, “how can this guy comment on IPL one way or another?” For all those "you"s out there, let me clarify first that I am neither for nor against IPL. Secondly, I am a Punekar (do scroll down to part about “Punekar” in the link for details). (Actually we don't need to continue after that, but still), thirdly, as you can tell by my experience, I am no less expert on cricket than most other people online.

So, why don't I find IPL the very embodiment of capitalist evil and an abomination of the great game? Simple. To paraphrase (and possibly extrapolate) PuLa, "in other countries, cricket is played on the grounds. In India, every hallway and compound has a match going on." How many of us haven't played 6( and lesser)-a-sides and T20s (or T10s or F5s) long before anybody else thought of the game? Don't we all have fond memories of those "hit out or get out" games (and less fond ones of team-mates who refused to listen to the first part of instruction at the worst possible moment)?

Not to mention, now the tournament seems to be serving a unique blend of sports for men and drama to rival any saas-bahu show on TV for women (with “ees thappad ki goonj” and all that). Talk about all-family entertainment.

Just leave out the cheerleaders.

Which brings me to the main point I have against the IPL. No, not the commercialization of the game, not the attack on Indian culture, but the underhanded tactics used by the teams to win the "gentleman's game". Now, using scantily-clad and attractively-gyrating cheerleaders to distract your opponents is just an overt method. There are other more subtle, but more dastardly methods in use on the ground. How else can you justify players draped in highly reflective golden helmets playing under high-powered halogen lamps? Talk about (opponents'-eyes-)dazzling performance. But then, what else can you expect from the team owned by the guy who steals (or tries to) others' girlfriends and fiancées (and now, wives) for living?

In summary, the gist of this post is that, as an Indian, I... have an opinion about IPL. Does it really matter what that opinion is?

Didn't think so...

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

P.S. This post grew out of a two line comment on Amrita's post. (Tell me I didn't hear the word “cancer” just now) After all, what is a genius but someone who creates an epic out of a single word?