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IPL | holding cricket at ransom

April 23, 2009

You look out the window…the beginnings of dusk are starting to extend towards the horizon. You turn to look at the clock…your brow furrows…it’s well past the usual time. You figure some last minute thing might’ve come up. You busy yourself with chores…yet, certain unease remains…lurking in the corner of your mind. You now don’t need to look out the window to tell that it is now officially dark and yet…no sign? You make a conscious effort to not let your mind wander towards your worst fears.


A couple of hours have passed, and you’re now not even pretending to appear calm. Pacing up and down, a glance out the window every now and then, still hoping that it was some irresponsibility and nothing more. The shrill jangle of the phone nearly causes you to lose your footing. You snatch at it and say the customary “Hello”, with more composure than you feel.


Beads of sweat make a miraculous appearance on your forehead as a squeaky voice at the other end says

“Hello…this is Lalit Modi…We have your sport”…dial tone.


  • Moments of success are now contingent on a financial institution
  • Sixes have a realty group’s name attached to them
  • Team jerseys are collages of brand names
  • Deafening music blares on the PA system between deliveries
  • Cameras linger longer on team owners, “the commissioner” and cavorting cheerleaders (in that order) than they do on the players
  • Mandira Bedi, Ranjith Fernando, Mark Nicholas, Arun Lal


All minor inconveniences to be put up with, for the cricket viewer, like sitting too close to the speakers in a pub while sharing a few beers with good friends. Except, the friends are really only acquaintances, one you owe money to and whose baby you once called ugly when you thought he wasn’t listening.


The odd shortlived gripping contest aside (Edwards v Ganguly or The Gilchrist assault), premeditated shovels across the line, outside edges racing away for four, horribly mistimed top edges trickling over the fence are the order of the day. The difference between skillful batsmanship and swish-blade hit-or-miss batting has been all but eliminated. In an average innings lasting roughly 20 to 40 deliveries (3 to 6 overs), does it matter how they come? One could argue, Even in the other formats, did it ever? but then that ‘one’ probably never saw VVS in full flow.


Batsmen of mediocre technique, when faced with the skill of a Shane Warne or a Fidel Edwards, have little to do but swing away like woodcutters hacking at a tree. Conversely, a compact forward defensive with the ball ending at the batsman’s feet is of the same use that a wild heave that takes a thin inside edge and settles in the same area.


IPL cricket is increasingly resembling arcade games, especially the shoot ‘em ups. No real skill involved, just point at the screen, keep your finger pressed on the trigger and keep feeding the machine.

I think I’m fast running out of coins.


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