Now that advertisers seem to be not so keen on the IPL, now that ticket prices are being slashed to lure spectators to stadiums, and now that TV viewership figures are dwindling compared to those of previous editions, a couch purist ought to gloat.
But the purist’s code of ethics demands the opposite. Being a self-satisfied twat, the purist (or at least this purist) feels that the moral high ground — or the high moral ground — has always been his, and he sees no need to trumpet his triumph from the lofty height at which he perches. The twaddle of “I told you so” is repugnant for the purist when — (especially) when — his view is vindicated.
IPL has its moments
So, tell you what? I think the IPL has its moments. Those moments turn up when you watch Dale Steyn bowl a near-perfect over; when Sourav Ganguly pulls Steyn over midwicket and then drives him, languid and precise, through the covers; when Rahul Dravid plays the cover drive that used to be worth going miles to watch, perfect in his balance and poise, his body a frozen arabesque on the completion of his stroke; when Virender Sehwag scores fifties on the trot.
Of course, the matter of Steyn’s bowling, and the treatment the great man sometimes gets from batsmen rather less accomplished than Ganguly in his pomp, must be considered in the context of the circumstances. Steyn has to bowl without a slip cordon, thus making it easy for some chancer to outside-edge him through third man for four. Had it been a proper game of cricket, we know what would have happened.
Still, the IPL does, as I was saying, have its moments. Which purist would mind watching old heroes in action? Who would not delight in seeing certain legends of the modern game (Murali, Adam Gilchrist, Ganguly, Dravid) emerge from old DVDs and TV programmes about exploits past and perform live?
Sometimes, watching the IPL seems like watching one of those games in which retired legends turn out for some charitable cause. Tell me something. How many retired players perform in the EPL or the La Liga? Yes, I did watch Paul Scholes’ current season with Manchester United.
Now tell me something else. What does that tell us about the IPL? No, no, I am not gloating…