Is IPL killing cricket?

May 17, 2008

I read this illuminating article about ‘ripping’ the textbook by Cricinfo’s Sriram Veera. Yes, the textbook is Test cricket. I was rather shocked to read that some of these cricketers have had to unlearn the things they spent their entire life on. Any guesses on who the ‘playing within the V’ cricketer is?

Moving on, this begs many questions. First of all, as Ajay Jadeja had alluded to during the T20 World cup, is this even cricket? Cricket has been a complex game: about strategy, declarations, field positions, “temperment”, and much more, not merely about hitting the ball out of the park thereby making the bowler feel like a “extra” in a dance-number. Secondly, given the changes required of batsman, shouldn’t we have two seperate teams – one for Tests and another for T20, which don’t mix. Test cricket and T20 have only the letter T in common. One is for men, the other for adrenaline-pumping-boys. True, there is a fearlessness associated with T20, which can rarely be seen in a Test match, but the latter builds charecter and does more to the development of person than many other things in life. So much for the well know adage that cricket is a metaphor for life. If we do deciede that T20 is cricket, and if that be our metaphor of life, India is likely to be filled with a lot of arrogant youngsters, who will have nothing but thier arrogance to flaunt.

There is yet another alarming prospect – this is a bit of a stretch. Consider the case where the Utthappas, the Gambhirs and other fly-by-night hitters of the upcomming generation make it to Test cricket, with their new found batting techniques, thereby polluting it with their vulgar slogging. Assuming that international standards also drop a notch, thanks to the IPL, then, Test cricket won’t be Test cricket anymore.

Granted, with time, games like language, are bound undergo change, but not at the cost of the very foundation. For once, I’m with the ICC on their pompous-sounding, yet mostly toothless declaration in support of Test Cricket. There is just some noise, not even a semblense of a game-plan to see it through.

While this is the case, the BCCI selectors have proudly announced that they are watching the IPL with an eye on selection for ODIs. This declaration the biggest embarrasement for Indian cricket, perhaps on par the Harbhajan episode.

If Test cricket dies and takes with it, the Dravids, Tendulkars, Kallis-es and Chanderpauls, damn you, BCCI. The Aussies might turn out as the care takers of the purest form of the game. Then, as a fan of Test cricket, I will then have to throw way my pride and turn into an Aussie fan, through and through.


More IPL Drama: of support, captaincy, thrashings and ban-reductions

May 17, 2008

The IPL has become the new source of endless drama, probably the best reality TV ever. There has been more off-the-field action than even a tour of Australia. 

 

Where shall I begin. Yes, the Shoaib story. Media sources now reveal that BCCI’s knee-jerk cousin PCB might soften down Shoaib’s five-year ban. Considering that it might be based solely on his show for the Kolkata Knight Riders, is that justified? Not really. Neither was the five-year ban that was slapped on him only weeks ago.

 

On the Bangalore front, some buffoonery is now being offered for free. Apparently, BRC’s Praveen Kumar ended up in a police station for involvement in a drunken brawl with a doctor in his hometown of Meerut. While fellow blogger Ottayan asks two questions on this. I have only one question, which is Ottayan’s second: Praveen, was it Kingfisher or Royal Challenge?  J

 

Furthermore, after VVS Laxman’s show of support for Dravid, his Royal Challengers’ team mate, Kumble minces nothing while adding to the support in his Hindustan times column, saying that those who matter must understand what sport is about. Mallya in response, has half-heartedly declared faith in his team, after reiterating concerns on team performance and selection. Dr. Mallya, it is about the people, the faces who wear the team T-shirt. If you aren’t supporting the people in the team, what is the Royal Challengers team? Just a red-and-yellow T-shirt.

 

Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh on being asked of the corporate culture and sacking creeping into cricket, gushes over having Ganguly as captain till he turns 106. Ganguly, on the other hand, had only diplomatic answers when asked of Dravid’s position.

 

“..Rahul Dravid is a great friend of yours. What if Vijay Mallya were to tell Rahul, ‘I don’t want you as a captain.’ Would you like that as a cricketer?

Sourav Ganguly: I’ve been in the situation of not being wanted as a captain (laughs). I haven’t liked it so I am sure Rahul won’t like it either.”

Perhaps, Ganguly is just thinking “nalla vennum, da unakku” (Tamil for now it’s your turn). I only hope that we don’t loose Dravid through this crisis.

 Back to cricket, Mumbai routed Kolkata today for an embarassing 67 from 15-odd overs. I almost wrote a post before the match with some hype for Ganguly, Shoaib, and Kolkatta’s odds, but my pre-match-hype-jinxed stopped me. But not posting didn’t help Kolkata, though Sachin flopped royally with a duck. Something told me that today, Tendulkar will get his first IPL duck, and for the first time, I wasn’t too upset about it.