IPL 5: Why it seems like force-fed fun
Between that, a cranky Salman Khan, seemingly-aloof cricketers and Katy Perry’s pattu sari-clad backup singers, the opening ceremony was an interesting reflection of what the Indian Premier League is in danger of turning into – force-fed fun.
The image of a massive Salman Khan cutout lined with light bulbs on the YMCA grounds in yesterday’s newspaper, prepared me for a tacky IPL opening ceremony in Chennai last night.
The moment Sameer Kochhar burst magnificently (read comically) into the Extraa innings sets – stance heroic and arms flailing — I knew I would not be disappointed. Between that, a cranky Salman Khan, seemingly-aloof cricketers and Katy Perry’s pattu sari-clad backup singers, the event was an interesting reflection of what the Indian Premier League is in danger of turning into – force-fed fun.
On the bright side (or not, depending on how sadistic you are), nobody got dehydrated mid-performance in the humid Chennai night and more importantly, the organisers made the bold decision to give Kolaveri a break. For the latter reason alone, I have decided to give IPL Season 5 (in the words of the smooth talker himself Mr N Srinivasan) the “proud privilege” of my viewership.
Before the cricket begins and I shamelessly abandon all my IPL-directed cynicism to whistle-podu for my team the Chennai Super Kings, I have decided to lay my cards on the table. There are three main issues that sour my relationship with the IPL:
• Stealing our World Cup glory – For people to not get sick of the league, we need it to be a once-in-two-years affair. I still can’t get over the fact that IPL-4 happened practically the day after we won the World Cup, and I staunchly believe that it was the morning-after chaos that completely undid the Indian team to its current condition. It’s like giving a child a lick of a lollipop, but snatching it away before she can eat it. Lack-of-lollipop-relish can really scar a person. Even more than bad analogies like this one can.
• The Brawn Brain imBalance – Granted, luck plays a role in everywhere; it’s what makes life and sport exciting. But with an already dangerously-compressed game, the significance of luck in the result is high enough to sometimes dampen the spirit and the intelligence of the game. The number of players needed to win us the match is reducing with the length of an innings, thereby is undermining the point of cricket being a team game. Rash, mindless batting and the frenzy with which new records are made have sort of ruined the romance of cricket.
• Patriotism complex – This one is just a rant, but something to think about. What is it about some teams, namely Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors India that reeks of this ‘We’re better Indians than you are’ complex? Why do they need ‘India’ in their names when they’re essentially representing a region? They could’ve gone with adequately corny names like Pune Power Ponies and Mumbai Macho Men or whatever, just to get with the spirit of the tournament. But no, they had to get all deep and meaningful. The Pune Warriors even went to the extent of employing Bharatnatyam performers as ‘cheerqueens’, their righteous answer to the customary tacky cheerleaders. What was the point they were driving at, one wonders.
At the end of the day, you’re best off not thinking too much. IPL-5 is upon us, like it or not, and there’s still some cricket to salvage the situation. And if we’re truly lucky there’ll be anomalies like the Fake IPL player to give the money-makers some jitters.
Nandita Jayaraj is a Chennai Super Kings fan. She left the science lab for journalism. Her tryst with Indian cricket began with the world cup of 99.
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