To watch a young Indian team lumbering down a disastrous route is obviously not a very pleasing sight. Their faces do not reflect the flush of youth and their ungainly, ponderous movements on the field are an embarrassment to their age. Their eyes lack the sparkle which can ignite a million desires and make you believe that to be young is bliss.
Defeat hurts. Even more disturbing is the listless manner in which this Indian team has played and got walloped by the bottom-ranked team in the world. Are these the same players who just a month back were bustling with unbounded energy and arousing a passionate frenzy that had made a nation feel proud of its cricketing heroes and the product they were endorsing?
This was a team meant for the future, as our more senior players had shown a similar lack of vigour and vitality in the T-20 World Cup. In the IPL that preceded the World Cup, the players would celebrate each win like a hunter does when he captures his prey. They would mourn each defeat as if they would have to go hungry all their life.
After the loss in the final, one player even broke down, sobbing and drowning himself in bucketful of tears. The IPL history will always cite this as an ultimate example and testimony of a player's undiluted commitment to the game and the various interests it represents.
As we grapple today to figure out the reasons behind such an inexplicable dip in form and energy levels, we are not supposed to blame IPL's punishing schedule, glamour and hype and its parties as possible factors. If any one does that, his voice is drowned in a sea of screams from those, who like the players themselves, must be looking forward to the next edition of the event to further their bank balances.
While we wonder in what direction Indian cricket is heading, more and more dirt is spilling out of the IPL closet.
It now transpires that a parallel league was being planed in Dubai and, going by the email leaks "provided" by Lalit Modi, this was being done by film star Shilpa Shetty's husband Raj Kundra, a part owner of Rajasthan Royals, a team whose majority stakes are with the "suspended IPL chairman's" brother-in-law. Curiously enough the exchange of mail, in which Modi has claimed himself to be the guardian of Indian cricket and hence opposed to this move, has taken place in April, when the Tharoor-Kochi controversy was threatening to dismantle the Modi empire.
It needs to be probed seriously who was behind Kundra's "initiative" to form a rebel league which would have derailed international cricket.
The last has not been heard of the League which was being planned in England. The onus is now on the ECB chairman Giles Clark to prove that Modi is not innocent as he is claiming to be.
It will also be interesting to find out whether there was something more behind the move by a number of English counties to lure top Indian cricketers like Tendulkar, Sehwag, Yuvraj and others to play in their T-20 League. Did the Indian Board ban these players from playing in England because it got a whiff of something more sinister being planned?
Today, when news reports are linking Sharad Pawar and his family with a failed IPL bidder from Pune, it is becoming increasingly clear that IPL has become a snake-pit which is threatening to devour Indian cricket.