Tuesday, May 28, 2013

IPL: Is it Satan come to destroy the Game or Cricket of the Times???

Right from the outset, the concept of IPL has evoked mixed feelings among the cricket fans. The purists and real lovers of the game have always looked upon this version as a fast furious brainless power game, lacking skill finesse and a test of real attritional skills and character of an individual. India's unexpected T 20 World Cup triumph in 2007 led by a Captain cool, with a bunch of untried untested talent mixed with some experience led to T 20 becoming a new kid off the block ready to entertain in an era of life in the fast lane, where attention spans were shorter than ever. I cannot imagine anybody sitting to watch a Gavaskar or even a Shastri play through a whole day with less than a hundred to their name and the team with just over 200-250 scored in a day. One cannot help but point out the irony of the moment of a young cricketer called Sreesanth catching out the Pakistani Misbah off the unsung Joginder Singh, giving a nation its great moment of joy contrasted with the same guy arrested and jailed for becoming a sree 420.

While T 20  was considered a game suited to the fast life, the top class cricketers and purists reinvented themselves and adopted their games to suit this format.. The battle which was heavily skewed in favor of the batsmen, slowly became an even contest as the bowlers developed clever variations to bamboozle the batters. All this was fine till this was a variation in the multiple formats of cricket, but IPL changed everything when the game became an entertainment and a dazzlingshow and   a means to earn mega bucks for average young players and for semi retired or about to retire old players to rake in the moolah. Corporates and moneyed film stars with spare money poured it in and like in all such ventures, rules were given the go by and were flouted at will. The methods of payment, to cricketers, the auction rules were all flouted at various stages during the previous years and finally the most obvious conflict of interest was allowed when the owner of a team playing in the league was also president of the controlling authority. Players put club and franchisee interest above nation and state as the money was huge. The official figures and player pay offs were to say the least unbelievable and so absurd that one had to be foolish to believe that Satan and evil had not creeped in. And to silent the traditionalists, money was distributed to cricketers of the past. The nexus of money, show biz, drugs, gambling and all that is evil took over and now threatens to engulf the game totally. Where do the Dravids, Kumbles and Dhonis fit in? Great legends of the game stand tarnished if they turn a blind eye to this menace and dismiss the deep rooted malaise ailing cricket as an aberration. I think it is time to kill the menace of IPL and rethink this league. Money is important and every sportsman has a right to earn his due, but I am sure cricketers of integrity must be ruing their decision to associate themselves with this monster called IPL.

While one can say that the decay is symptomatic of the times we live in, I think the authorities and the wiser counsels owe it to the cricket lover to clean the game and scrap the IPL if needed. Radical diseases demand radical remedies. T 20 can continue if the game is clean and regulations are put in place which make malpractice difficult and if detected punishable by life bans from cricket and cricket related activities.

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