Dateline Bangalore, April 18, 2008. The money spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) conceived by the richest cricket board of the world, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) finally got underway. After a colorful inauguration ceremony the first of the 59 Twenty20 matches to be played over 44 days took place between Indian Film Superstar King Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata team and the flamboyant beer baron Vijay Mallya’s Bangalore team. The stadium was packed to capacity and true to the Twenty20 World Cup traditions the hip swinging damsels danced mightily to every big shot played by the auctioned multinationals.
And as the media hype continued unabated even after a tiff with the BCCI the great debate of the cricket purists, the moderates, the cynics and the extremists raged on.
The purists cried hoarse. ‘They (the BCCI) have killed Test cricket!’ ‘Being the national Board they have to promote cricket at the grass root levels. What right they have to distribute big money only to a few lucky players?’ ‘We hope IPL will be a huge sensational flop!’ ‘From five days to one day of fifty overs and now to twenty overs. Tomorrow they will say it’s more fun with ten overs!’
The moderates are beating about the bush. ‘Well, every cricketer will earn the money if they have a chance!’ ‘Maybe it’s unfair to say Test cricket will be killed. Well, it’s a new form of cricket as per the demands of modern times-a new experiment.’
The cynics are trying to cut more ice. ‘Cricket is no longer a game. It’s only big money. A new form of entertainment. And promoted by none other than the BCCI with a central minister as its President.’ ‘Who wouldn’t want a windfall?’
The extremists are beaming. ‘It’s a god send for the youngsters of India. Look at the money and the opportunity they are getting! It’s bound to do them a world of good.’ ‘Can you imagine watching Ricky Ponting running for Ganguly or hugging Ishant Sharma who only recently devastated Australia? It’s incredible-it’s cricket redefined!’ ‘What’s wrong if the richest board of the world decides to distribute its riches internationally?’
Well, we can say something too while the heat is on. For the first time cricket is being played sans the loyalty factor. The crazy cricket fans cannot howl for Team India, but the stadiums are still packed. This could be because of the novelty of the format and the chance to see both national and international cricketers of one’s choice for ipl 2020 schedule bcci because they want all the public to know about the matches places where they are going to be held and about the players that are performing this time because lots of new comers have introduced in cricket this time. And this could also be due to the huge media hype since the great auction of cricketers. The question is how long the hype is going to last. Can you ever imagine a FIFA World Cup without the insanely loyal fans raving for their respective teams?
The Indian Cricket League (ICL) conceived by a private satellite channel was born, started, played and was over without many eyelids flapping. Yes, the IPL is different. It’s BCCI. It’s big big money. Plus the mega film stars and the industrialists and the business tycoons. And so, the hype. The market economy has its own set of rules. What mere mortals like us can do but throwing the wordy burden out!