After the World Cup storm, one was expecting a lull, a period of pause, time for celebrating and savouring a famous win. Instead, we are being bombarded from all sides by the IPL, which is once again being marketed as a glitzy product designed to rake in new audiences for the game, which is already the most popular sport in the country.
Not a great fan of this most abbreviated version of the game, I would till last year still watch a game or two, but am finding it too difficult now to assume the role of a sadist and relish batsmen butchering bowlers.
I am not the only one to feel this way, especially after the World Cup once again established the primacy of the 50-50 game. Despite its shortcomings — too short for the purist and too long for T20 followers — the one-day format remains the best compromise between the skills of the game and the need to provide instant gratification to the spectators.
The argument that the days of one-day cricket are numbered and T20 is going to swamp it, are over. The 100-over game has the capacity to give enough space and time for genuine talent to express itself, unlike a 40-over game, where luck and chance play a far more pivotal role in the performance of a player.
The audiences — both at the ground and on the idiot box — have given their verdict by making the 2011 World Cup the most successful cricketing event in the history of the game.
Now that the IPL is upon us, it will be a wonder of wonders if it matches its best TRP ratings of the past.
The World Cup kept the entire country glued to TV sets for more than a month, with the end result fulfilling a million dreams.
For people now to still watch cricket with intensity and passion would be nothing less than an amazing testimony to either their ravenous appetite for cricket or lack of any other alternative form of entertainment to keep their evenings occupied.
If one has to judge from the media coverage — both print and TV — then IPL-4 is once again a super-hit. Experts are analysing the subtle skills of the players, the strategic moves of the captains and the discovery of new talent, making one wonder, is there much more to this slam-bang version than one gives credit to it?
One thing is sure, whatever you may say of IPL, you have to “appreciate” it for the way it has spread the money pool available to players, both former as well as present, including those aspirants who have their brush with stardom once a year.
There is no dearth of “incentives” here, so one would be better off praising the product, even if it is an overkill of cricket and of those Indian players who have a long, challenging season ahead of them.