Anil Thakraney: I concede defeat to IPL

03 Apr,2013

By Anil Thakraney


I have been secretly wishing for the last five years that by some miracle, the IPL vanishes from the scene. Instead, it’s been going from strength to strength. My big allergy to this pyjama form of cricket is that it’s everything but cricket. As a so-called purist, I detest what this tamasha has done to the game itself, and these issues have been debated before.


That aside, I have two other grouses with the IPL. One, the laundry list of controversies. The list is so large, one could write a book titled ‘IPL & Scandals’, and it will be an international bestseller. I recall interviewing the IPL CEO Sundar Raman (for GQ) a couple of years ago, and the question listing the controversies was ten times larger than his response, I had to edit the question to maintain some sort of balance! Since then, the suitcase of scandals has grown even larger. Makes you wonder if such a tournament is worth staging.


My other complaint with the organizers has to do with the manner in which the IPL was born: Sans grace. Lalit Modi (now persona non grata) directly lifted the idea from the Zee group (ICL), without even leaving behind a little Post-it note saying ‘Thank you for the idea, guys’. Rather, the BCCI used tremendous money power to demolish their show, even going to the extent of penalizing young players who had signed up with the ICL. Here’s another interview memory: I met Kapil Dev (then in charge of putting the ICL together) in 2007 (for Mumbai Mirror). The national hero looked utterly crestfallen and defeated… he knew he was captaining a fast sinking ship. I can’t bring myself to respect a project that’s created out of malice and vendetta.


However, all this doesn’t change the fact that the IPL is huge, it’s very successful, and it’s here to stay. Everyone loves it. Uncles, aunties, bhabhies, nephews, nieces, saases, bahus, and the family dog. As ticket sales plummet for traditional cricket, there’s always a mad rush for this nonsense club cricket, people beg and plead for passes. And the TV audiences remain faithful over the long two month period. Plus, it makes marketers very happy. Advertisers queue up to open their purse strings, even if they otherwise complain of ‘recessionary times’. In short, the nation has taken to the IPL gleefully, and old world relics like myself have no option but to eat humble pie and watch the madness from the sidelines.


So let the games begin. Yes, I will gate crash this party. Look out for my review of the opening ceremony on Friday. I am already going ‘Dhumping Dhapaka’, or whatever else Farah Khan calls it.




PS: Now this I like. We need more such cool and spirited souls in India. We are a nation of stuck up people, and it is maha refreshing to watch singer Anvita Dutt personally arrive to accept her ‘insult’. Jai ho!




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