I don’t know why people complain about the ads that run when the game is on during the IPL. I think it's churlish to complain. I rather fancy the glut of ads, the various meaningless ways in which they drop down, crawl across, and pop up on the screen in the middle of an over.
It seems to me like a vindication of the principles on which the IPL is predicated.
First, it symbolises money, at the altar of which IPL genuflects. More advertising means more money, which means more success and glory for the IPL. Splendid.
Some months ago, in a column for cricinfo, Sambit Bal said that watching cricket on Neo Cricket (with the nasty - and singularly ill-timed - ads that the channel springs on its viewers) was like a test of fans' loyalty to the game. I completely agree in that instance, because there we were talking about cricket.
Here we are talking about the IPL. And the other principle of the IPL is to try and turn cricket more and more into something like another game. All the boring stuff associated with cricket has been amputated. The aim is to squeeze out all those senseless bits that anachronistic purists enjoy, and have nothing interfere with 82-metre sixes - no, sorry, with DLF Maximums, I mean.
So advertising in the IPL in the middle of overs, in the Maxx Mobile Strategic Timeouts (what an invention!), between overs, after each wicket falls is not merely appropriate. It is a tribute to the spirit of the tournament.
Bring on more ads, I say. Why not have them when Harbhajan is snarling at a batsman? Why not run ads when Dale Steyn or Shane Bond is running in to bowl? (All those long run-ups, who needs them?) Besides, some of the ads are so idiotic that on occasion they can make even the IPL seem like a pleasant distraction for me. I ask for only one thing: No ads when the cheerleaders are doing their stuff. Please.
(This occasional column will appear through the IPL)