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'Indian Premier League' – A misleading identity

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Into the third week of the sixth edition of the nation’s most indulgent extravaganza, there are still a host of valid open-ended issues left unaddressed. The evolutionary innovation of this marvellous revenue-generating enterprise is perhaps not too praiseworthy, given the world’s awareness of India’s fanatical love with cricket. The laudable extension of the deal was to combine the two popular unrelated mainstream spheres of national interest – filmy entertainment and sport.

Successful as the broadcasters might argue, or progressively failing as the analysts would present, it’s a future that’s come to stay unrivalled. That the top players across the world are demanding of their boards an opportunity to participate in this lucrative league, is an indication of the direction of changing priorities. It’s a debate for another day if the once glorified virtue of the sport has fallen prey to temptation, but for today, we’ve got a more patriotic virus that needs to be quelled.

A closer look at the title of this addicting phenomenon sparks off a host of misleading issues passively hidden within all the euphoric celebration and glamorous exposure.

‘Indian Premier League’ is the proud name of this inescapable brand that consumes our time, money and energy for close to two months of our annual calendar. Essentially, in trivial break-up, it has but just three words – Indian, Premier and League.

Firstly, Indian?

KKR bowler Sunil Narine exults after getting a hat-trick during the match between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders match at Mohali on April 16, 2013. (Photo: IANS)

A cursory glance at the 9 teams speaks a lot about the state of affairs. Even if the total number of the players in the teams stands at around 30-40, the key emphasis from respective boards has always been on the purchase of foreign players, ready to spend whatever it takes. As much as the organization babbles about a promise to promote the future talent of our nation, helping expose them to the best in our own backyard, it’s been a misleading tagline to purchase our idolized souls. As a matter of fact, out of the nine teams, we have five teams captained by foreigners and the key strategies of any team are inevitably based around the core nucleus built off the four foreign players. And to think that there are a majority of sections demanding an increase in the representation of foreigners from 4 to 5!

In between, there’s perhaps the bitter truth to be acknowledged that we turn up to cheer our ageing stars rather than the blooming buds, which makes the fundamental motive of this flowering exercise totally redundant. The promoters, however, are apparently are only too glad to pocket the collections every summer and sit back planning the entire year for the next season.

Though quite early into the latest season, with the exception of RR, there is no team that seems to be producing fair results without overtly relying on the foreign might. It could be too much to ask amidst the myriad other policies, but it’s time the domestic talent of the ‘waiting-in-the-wings’ Bumrahs and Viharis started getting its due spotlight and stage.

Secondly, Premier!

As much as the roaring delirious Indian frenzy is hard to come by elsewhere, the major and minor cricketing nations have attempted replicating the IPL with varying success. With the birth of many such franchises all across the world that come together to compete in the Champions League, one is tempted to ask if there is stiff competition to the IPL.

In terms of the revenues collected, IPL is perhaps unmatched given its wise base, populated audience and star power. But if the performances in the annual Champions League are any indication, the abysmal results of the Indian franchises are shameful. Despite all that our money has managed to buy in the last half decade, success seems elusive, costly to our cheap game.

Though the imperial reign of the IPL’s might can’t be crushed, undeniably, in the matters of the art, the title of Premier, resting back home is frankly misleading. Hence it’s indeed, secondly premier!

Lastly, the League…

Perhaps the only word that retains a sense of sanity in this misguiding acronym. Indeed, it’s a League, though one could say, more infamous over the years for the Bhajji slap, cheerleader’s lap, ignorant yet glamour yap, betting crap, and Modi trap.

Thankfully, it’s still early days for this promising future and one can only hope there are better days ahead. Misleading as the name might sound, I’d like to believe it’s not too wrong to stay optimistic of a change unto the reality of a true Indian Premier League!


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