IPL III is now underway. There is no pretending that it’s only for the masses.
Cricket as a spectacle has improved on all fronts: innovations from batsman and bowlers; the furious energy of fielders and technical acumen too in a shorter duration when decisions need to be made in less than a second.
Financially, too, sport has got a huge fillip in this country. There is now a blueprint for other sports to go widespread; a whole lot of new chains — like telecast in multiplexes, or on YouTube — has shown the spectacular marriage of sports, technology and commerce.
Never mind the doomsday prophets. They survive in speculating, asking what if?
A property which has seized the world’s imagination ought to be shown some respect. There’s got to be some intrinsic merit in how the world comes calling and purse-strings are loosened in this six-week celebration.
The logistics of this mega-event are unbelievable. Everything has to be executed with clockwork precision.
The infrastructure, the amount of travelling, the paraphernalia which goes with it, all those ticketing, hospitality and advertising issues and the creativity in expanding its boundaries takes some doing.
There is reason to applaud the team which stitches together the show, resourceful and untiring behind the curtains. There is always scope for improvement and this being done in the IPL too. Everything in life evolves and the IPL is no exception.
The strategic breaks have been reduced from seven-and-half to five minutes and it would help in sustaining the flow of a game.
The franchisees too have woken up to the fact that less attention to gallery and more to substance is the message for them.
Domestic players are now seen as a key. Four foreign players do play a part but it’s the other seven who count for their team. Younger players, we all have seen, impact a team’s performance enormously.
The IPL also allows the game’s superstars to remain in the public eye longer after they have hung up their boots. We all know legends like Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Anil Kumble can still entertain us.
It would be such a delight if bowlers were to come to party in this edition. Everything is stacked against them, given the batting friendly conditions of the sub-continent.