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Indian Premier League - Entertainment in itself

The entertainment is sure to reach a different level in four days from now. The entertainers are not going to be Bollywood stars. For the next couple of months, the entertainment will be purely owned by none other than cricketers from all over the world. The mega entertainment of all, the Indian Premier League, is entering its fifth edition, having tasted tremendous success in the last four years.
What once started as a brain child of Mr.Lalit Modi, the chairman of Modi group of companies, inspite of his exodus, now has its hold on almost all cricket lovers from children to veteran fans who have been seeing cricket from the time of Sir Don Bradman. I doubt that even World Cup cricket attracts or has attracted these many followers.

In India, cricket is religion and it is one thing which binds the citizens of India irrespective of their caste, creed and religion. This passion of cricket has been there for long in India and people have never viewed it as vapid. But for a few, cricket was too lengthy and they always had this tendency to dislike it. But now, even those people, due to the shortened variety of the game, seemed to have got spell bound by the entertainment it offers. In this manner, the game, which already was a larger than life thing for Indians, has now got its viewers multiplied.

Such a game, which is loved by almost all the people across India, from divas to doyens who usually stick to mega serials and the like on television during normal weekdays, I do not think requires any other tool to strike a chord if it has to promoted. But, when cricket itself is a bigger entertainment, we have been seeing certain strange ways by which the administrators are using to have it marketed.

The first match of IPL season 5 is going to be played on April 4th at the Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk. But interestingly, the organizers have come up with an idea of launching the season with an opening ceremony a day earlier. This opening ceremony will be commemorated by the performance of a few Bollywood artists. I don’t find any rationale behind organizing such events at all. Are cricket fans going to be enthralled by such tawdry showings by the tinsel world people?

People have already gathered around and purchased tickets for the first match of the IPL, though the rates have been intolerably increased. They want the team that they support to win and their only requirement is to see their favourite players taking guard and hitting the balls out of the park. Similarly, people will be glued to the television monitors to watch their heroes making errands on the field. The game of cricket can promote itself in this way. There is no need of any additional leverage for inviting crowds. Such a sheer waste I can say these opening ceremonies are which add no value to it.

There will be cheerleaders who start jumping by dancing on a pedestal, close to the boundary, whenever a ball crosses the ropes or a batsman walks back to the pavilion. Let me tell you, I have watched IPL both on cricket grounds live and also on television sets. Never had I seen any of the cricket spectators noticing the cheerleaders at any stage of the match as my focus was only on the match which was happening. I am sure all the cricket fans would have done the same.

All I want to know is why the organizers are doing something which seems to have no binding on the end result. Why can’t they do away with unconventional practices such as the performance of Bollywood artists and cheerleaders? IPL provides a wonderful opportunity for the younger players of the Indian domestic circuit to play against world class players. This is a rarest opportunity that today’s cricket players enjoy only because of the IPL.

IPL is not sheer entertainment as some people think. It develops and grooms younger players and so it needs to be looked upon with a lot of seriousness. Instead, bringing people from Bollywood or gathering cheerleaders has no meaning at all. Cricket is an entertaining sport in itself and has the players who have worked really hard to find themselves a place in whatever team they are playing for. So, it not only scintillates the viewers but also finds players like Tendulkars and Dravids for the future.

Therefore, the game needs to be respected and should be given special treatment, is what I feel. Please keep it separate from all other entertainments. Let cricket be cricket.

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