IPL —it is not only cricket — and yet it is cricket. Therein lies the rub — or, should I say, it not only about cricket – and yet it is about cricket.
Here I go…
The motivating factors behind the Indian Premier League are greed and revenge — greed to make even more and more money, greed to become more and more powerful; and revenge on Kapil Dev and Zee TV and their ICL (Indian Cricket League) which dared to challenge the supremacy and power of the BCCI, which is the richest and most powerful ‘board’ in the world —
And nothing motivated by only greed and revenge can be justified — no matter how many cheerleaders dance and how many film stars attend and how many sixes are hit and how may crores are earned; it is as simple as that.
I can hear you saying that entire nations; entire empires; entire eras — have been built on greed and revenge. I will agree — and that is the sadness in the IPL. Let greed and revenge work their horrible ways in the world of politics or religion or business —
Cricket did not need them — or the IPL; cricket was doing very, very well — yes, there were elements of greed and revenge in every match, every contract, every board — but there were also the far deeper elements of tradition and excellence and pride and history and exquisite skill.
Ah! I can hear you saying — but there is skill and excellence in IPL as well…
And there is – but no player is playing for either country or club or even city — they are playing for money, and that is all…
But — enough of this philosophy!
The saddest thing of all is that IPL, like TV soaps and pop songs and certain films and fashions, has reduced a great art to a circus.
And before you think I am being pompous — just think…
People who know nothing about the sport and art of cricket are not only watching it — in crores, both financial and numerical — but have now become the reason why cricket is played. They have become the ‘market’, the monster, which will dictate how and when the great sport reaches out to the world… aah!
We did not need an art-form like cricket to be reduced to a circus and I say this not only as a great lover of the game. I say this as a person who has always enjoyed the challenge and ‘test’ — pun intended — of both life and art; of both cricket and existence.
We are walking down a path, which can lead only to more greed and revenge.
Let us sit back and think — for a change.
Ask Dravid and Laxman and Ganguly what they think about the IPL — they have just fought their way through two great Test battles — with Australia and South Africa. Does anyone remember that? And how are these giants faring in IPL? — aah…
The ‘third umpire’ in the sky is waiting… and wondering… and worried.