IPL fever has gripped the country!! For those who don’t read the newspaper (or listen to radio/ talk to people / see the news…) and for those not living in India and thus not consumed by this phenomenon, IPL refers to the Indian Premier League. The concept of sport clubs is not that novel, it’s been done to death in soccer, baseball, basketball and most other sports in the west. What is novel though is the fact that India picked up this concept, merged it with a format that is racy and gave it a shot of entertainment. Lo and behold, what do you have? An alternative for those bored of family soaps on TV!!
Critics have enough to say about this series. They cry hoarse about the fact that it’s not about cricket anymore, it’s about entertainment. The 20-20 format is taking away the skill and the art of the game. It’s a batting game and is unfair to bowlers. Everything is too commercialized; the seriousness of the sport has gone away. It won’t work because people watch cricket with the fervor of national pride and will not care less about regional teams….
Well, you know what? It works. There is no questioning the fact that it is a runaway success, shutting up all those who turned up their noses at it. Stadiums are packed, people are glued to their screens and it’s the topic of discussion in every office cafeteria. Loyalty to teams may be missing, but people are happy taking sides in each match and predicting the result. I agree, there is much more of the entertainment factor than we are used to. But then, who said that’s a bad thing? A person like me who slept off while watching a one-day match in Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium can not wait to watch who will win tonight. The target audience is being redefined; there is a new enthusiasm in the game, whether it is a product of Sreesanth’s antics or Akshay Kumar dropping from the sky, or even Shah Rukh Khan dancing every time his team hits a shot. In a world of individualism, where people are going more and more into themselves, IPL in its own small way is bringing people together. Drawing rooms are being filled with friends and its something exciting to talk about and debate. So for once, just drop the criticism and go cheer with your friends as two teams battle it out tonight…after all, the party has just begun!