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IPL: The Cocktail of Business and Pleasure

I

t’s glamorous, like we love our friends to be. It’s expensive, like we love our possessions to be. It’s controversial, like we love our gossip to be. It’s quick, like we love our relationships to be. It’s short, like we love the hemlines to be. It’s all our dreams and fantasies, teasing us on a screen just a few feet away, and yet the channel is stuck, while we continue to be seduced by its poisonous charm.

Hello there ICC; welcome to the ‘no-boundaries no-rules’ species of cricket; welcome to the capitalism of cricket; welcome to the rendezvous of ability and celebrity; welcome to the IPL.

 In the family of cricket, test cricket was for the gentlemen; the 60 over matches for the working gentlemen; the one-days for our dad’s; and just so that our generation didn’t feel left out, cricket gave birth to its most speedy, spoilt, naughty and controversial form: the IPL; and I love it! It represents everything that I would have ever wanted as a cricketer – the attention, the money, the fame, and the girls; and it exemplifies everything that I would have ever wanted as a businessman – a cricket team.

More than just a humungous sporting event, the IPL is the greatest administrative project of the 21st century sporting world. In our race to equal the developed world, the IPL has given us an enormous edge. While the financial and economic comparisons will continue to dominate India’s scale of success, we can now proudly stand up against our sporting contemporaries like the English Premier Leagueand American Football, securely backed by the mighty Indian Premier league.In its 2 month long format, it already forces producers to shift movie release dates; it will now go further and make the calendars of all the cricketing nations of the world bow before it. The ICC will shift series to accommodate players in the IPL; and players will retire from the long formats to concentrate on the IPL.Club will be put before country, all in the name of entertainment, money and fame; and we will have no choice, but to enjoy it.

The IPL is on the cusp, if not already, of commencing a new religion in India; and this will be the religion of “Episode Cricket”. Just like our favorite American sitcoms, or like the less popular Ekta Kapoor genre, IPL will too come and go in seasons; it will only be more real; more exciting; and if your pocket allows, LIVE! Behold while the very threshold of Indian cricket in its entirety is transformed in front of your eyes. We have a bigger and “badder” equivalent of Monday Night American Football and their cheerleaders, except that the can of beer is replaced with Darjeeling tea. We have Torres waving for attention on the sidelines, while the ladies chose to drool over Kohli. Girls paint themselves blue, leaving their boyfriends striving for attention (payback’s a b****). Controversies, parties and page3 have all been brought to the cricket field.They may be dieting to maintain their legs, but the lady stars want a bite of this cake just to stay visible. IPL has and will do for this nation, what KBC once did – sweep the streets clean of humanity, and make sure that families are in front of their TVs, watching cricket, cheering victories, and consuming the latest steroid of TV entertainment.

It has made me forget how to support a team, and only cheer for boundaries and sixes. It has put me in weird predicaments by teaming up Sachin and Malinga, a week after their World Cup rivalry. It has exposed me to the idea of cricketers being commodities, merely to be bought by rich men. It has broken geographical boundaries by hiring Australians to play for Rajasthan. It has changed the face of disciplined cricketers by forcing them to party. It has brought businessmen out of their board rooms and in to the stands.It has brought controversy and corruption to the sacred game of cricket; and finally, by mixing business and pleasure, it may well have created the kryptonite of the superman that is capitalism.

Neither you, nor I know the future of cricket, but with T-20’s astronomical popularity, and the technological metamorphosis being brought about in cricket, it is time that we archive our favorite cricket videos and save those paper posters from the yester-years, for you never know when cricket, as we know it now, may exist in a unrecognizable form in the next decade.

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