IPL demands no more of our intelligence than Bollywood

The last year of following Indian cricket has left one craving for the simple hit and giggle joys of the IPL with its usual mix of incompetence, shameless plugging, white-skin-festand pompous egomania on the part of the owners.

Alok P Kumar April 04, 2012 16:29:29 IST
IPL demands no more of our intelligence than Bollywood

You’ll find no dearth of commentators, bloggers, columnists and whiners moaning about how meaningless the Indian Premier League is — that it’s all frills and no substance.

I completely agree.

But I think it doesn’t necessarily follow that we don’t need it.

The last year of following Indian cricket has left one craving for the simple hit and giggle joys of the IPL with its usual mix of incompetence, shameless plugging, white-skin-festand pompous egomania on the part of the owners.

For the dedicated Indian fan, like me, the year after that once-in-a-lifetime lofted drive over deep mid-on has been one of unremitting pain and misery. Those of us who saw the schedule of the season of 2011-12 and believed that the World Cup win was just the start of a glorious and fulfilling year of Indian cricket, we are now left hollow and broken.

Defeat is not the cause of our despondency. We (at least those of us with memories of the 1990s) know it all too well and wouldn’t be dismayed at its recent return. No, our despondency can be traced to the fact too many in our team did not seem to care about history, about winning or even putting in one’s best show out there.

IPL demands no more of our intelligence than Bollywood

The IPL now lets us do that. Over the course of two months we get one meaningless match after another. Reuters

For a generation of fans who have grown up on the hope and promise of increasing expectations, this was a supremely sore let down. Expecting an epic, closely competed and intriguing test series between the top two test teams in England and a long awaited series victory against a weakening Australia in Australia was not utterly unjustifid on the available evidence, we thought. A tame and meek surrender in the Tests, ODIs and T20s everywhere but in India was what we got.

The IPL allows us to watch the game for its own sake, appreciate the fight in the underdog, marvel at supreme skill and admire tenacity of defence whomsoever it maybe.

Over the course of two months, we get one meaningless match after another. No one who really gives a fig about who wins the IPL and who doesn’t. It’s fun to watch, fills the gap neatly between coming-back-from-work time and bedtime, and makes no more demands of our intelligence and attention than the average Bollywood flick.

Occasionally, the cricket tragic in us appreciates a truly intelligent and aggressive bit of bowling, an impossibly athletic bit of fielding or an unbelievable streak of hitting (as opposed to purely agricultural slogging which is always utterly hilarious to watch) but it is soon forgotten, until the next such event.

It’s soothing and comforting simply because it  lacks all meaning. One could even arbitrarily choose a side to follow through the course knowing that even in defeat, it’s always possible to disown as quickly as one adopted. A one-night stand, no strings attached, nothing ventured, nothing lost.

It’s just what the doctor ordered.

Alok is a Supreme Court/Delhi High Court lawyer who writes a bit about cricket and law with a potentially fatal weakness for hyperlinks, hashtags, and the reader's approval. You can follow him on twitter @alokpi.

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