[MJR] IPL symptomatic of the end of civilization

28 May,2012

Ranjona Banerji

By Ranjona Banerji


There’s only one newsmaker this morning and that’s the IPL. As Manoj Tiwary hit a four over Chepauk stadium winning the title for the Kolkata Knight Riders, season five of a very successful Indian Premier League comes to an end.


And what a season it has been – a film star team owner fights with a security guard, another film star team owner castigates a third umpire for being unfair to one of her players, a player assaults a woman at a party, five players are exposed for spot-fixing and the management is exposed for unfair processes in the buying and selling of players… have I left anything out?


And then there’s been the cricket. The drama over Saurav Ganguly now being with the Pune Warriors, the expectation that Sachin Tendulkar would soon reach his 1000th Test century, the thrilling last ball finishes, the sentiment attached to Rahul Dravid and all the news finds.


And of course, the media. For some, like the ultra-bore Boria Majumdar parked in the Times of India stable, the IPL is symptomatic of the end of civilisation. The erudite Ram Guha doesn’t like it either. A player misbehaves at a party and a couple of former players threaten to go on a hunger strike – which I don’t think happened. Or at least, everyone forgot soon after. The TV channels also decided that IPL was the thin end of the wedge before the human race sinks into an irreversible path of iniquity. I would say the same thing about TV news as far as the fate of the media in India is concerned but…


Sharda Ugra in The Indian Express lauds the good things, hopes the BCCI will fix the bad things and then focuses on what was really wrong with the IPL – the terrible pre and post shows on Sony’s SET Max, Extra Innings. I think there may be an extra ‘a’ in there for some inexplicable reason. Having dispensed with the dispensable Mandira Bedi, we have had the unpalatable and hysterical Gaurav Kapoor and those two girls foisted on us. Isa Guha, since she understood cricket and took it seriously, was a rare breath of fresh air. Why those two badly dressed, screeching and oddly accented girls had to interview minor starlets on the grounds was not explained to us. The cheerleaders in the studio were the worst available. I cannot understand a word Navjot Singh Sidhu says so I was spared tearing my hair out. My only concern was that he needed to go on a diet. Ever since Harsha Bhogle had a hair transplant, I cannot but concentrate on his new fringe to the exclusion of his platitudinous and fatuous observations on cricket.

Ugra, I have to confess, was not this nasty.


Mid-Day’s headline “Ra.Won” is the winner of the day. The Hindustan Times gave us a sort of truncated report, obviously written in a hurry and the reporter clearly did not like Shah Rukh Khan. The Times of India had a better report – a real surprise since its sports coverage has sunk to new lows recently – but its reporter is clearly no fan of MS Dhoni’s and called him out for his “standard tricks”, in this instance, slow over rate towards the end of the match.


Now that the IPL is over however, it will be interesting to see how our perpetual moaning machines in the media will fill up their time…


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