Tuesday, April 22, 2008

IPL thoughts

I have no access to the IPL. My schedule does not permit me to watch any of the matches. Hence, my take on the IPL will be distinctly second-hand as the days go by. I don't have the doubts about the IPL that many of its skeptics do; I think the games will entertain millions of folks, and generate billions of dollars. I also think that problems of partisanship will disappear given a couple of seasons of aggressive marketing. Fundamentally, cheering for professional franchises is like cheering for Ford vs. Chrysler, but people are ready to be sold a package and the marketing folks oblige. In New York, a man born and bred in Washington Heights is regarded as the enemy at Yankee Stadium just because he plays for Boston. And a Japanese man picks up huge cheers, because he is identified as a New York Yankee. So, I have no doubts that soon McGrath will be regarded as a Dilliwallah, and that other cricketers of various nationalities will be adopted by their cities' youngsters. My concern has always been focused on one thing: will any of this help test cricket? I read in this piece for example, that Warne has taken a young Mumbai leggie under his wing. All I want to know is: any chance this lad will go on to become a spinner in test cricket for the Indian national team? (Sorry, I meant the BCCI India XI?) Perhaps he won't bother; perhaps he enjoys wheeling away for a few overs at a time and making big bucks instead.

I don't have an abstract interest in cricket i.e., the kind that is happy if the game flourishes in any form whatsoever. My love for the game is inseparably bound up with a version of the game that stocked childhood fantasies, and provided plenty of fuel for my imaginative tendencies. Twenty20 will not do that to me; and its too late for me to start constructing a whole new set of dreams based around this version. That said, I wouldn't begrudge the new generation of cricket fans the opportunity to develop an entirely new set of dreams, fantasies and hopes, all centered around a different version of the game. All I can do is hope that test cricket will not be completely annihlated by this form. If it makes tests rarer, and possibly only played between teams of reasonable quality (i.e., we will not be exposed to the Bang-Zim fiascoes any more) then perhaps some good will have come out of all this.

10 Comments:

Blogger Straight Point said...

one thing is which looks like for sure that there will be even less draws if none... :)

for sometime now i have been saying that T20 is bowlers revenge from batsman...this is what we call 'MEETHA JAHAR"...once batters are used to it...we will see that they will carry this slam bang attitude in tests too...so we will see more 3-4 days test matches...

much like ODI changes tests...T20 will have inevitable impact too...

bad or good only time will tell...

3:19 AM  
Blogger Abhishek said...

Even I have not had the time to watch complete matches but I am keeping up-to-date with some important information for the effective management of my dream team on http://www.indianfantasyleague.com. Do try it out if you like fantasy cricket. Free registration and huge prizes!

7:03 AM  
Blogger John said...

Its a fascinating time, Samir. And I don't think any of us will know any answers soon. Will Tests die? Will ODIs exist as we know them? Will the concept of a 'national' team be reserved for the rare occasion? Will there be IPL Test cricket? so many questions, and answers will begin to emerge now, but finding clarity will be the job of historians - the present is too chaotic.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Reasnoble quality, well the Windies and New Zealand must be nervous, England too.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

SP: I agree - I've never been unhappy about the fact that test match batting has seen more adventurousness. That, coupled with use of television for line decisions, has helped in us getting more test results. I also hope that spinners learn new tricks to contain rampaging batsmen armed with heavy bats.

Abhishek: Thanks for the comment and the link. I'm not a big fantasy player but I'll check it out.

John: Word. I'm really desperate to see the test calendar cleaned up. Perhaps T20 will do it. And I'm quite partial to the idea of a two-inning T20 game. Why not?

JRod: I wanted to throw in that lot as well but I desisted. Largely because I have hopes for WI and Eng. But for the time being, if we could just get rid of Bang and Zim, I'd be happy (i.e., go back to the good 'ol days).

11:13 AM  
Blogger mukulkesavan said...

"My love for the game is inseparably bound up with a version of the game that stocked childhood fantasies, and provided plenty of fuel for my imaginative tendencies. Twenty20 will not do that to me; and its too late for me to start constructing a whole new set of dreams based around this version."

Very nice. Speaks for a whole cohort of fans I think, certainly for me.

2:11 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Mukul,

Thanks. Good to see you here as always. Are you going to start up another blog?

Here's hoping for a long life for test cricket.

Cheers,
Samir

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My love for the game is inseparably bound up with a version of the game that stocked childhood fantasies, and provided plenty of fuel for my imaginative tendencies. Twenty20 will not do that to me; and its too late for me to start constructing a whole new set of dreams based around this version."

good set of words. But they seems more of a colonial influence. Brits said Test cricket is the ultimate form and you seem to have taken their word?

A true cricket fan would appreciate all forms...skill and competition would always be there.

a question ..do you play 5 day games with your friends or 5/10/20 overs game?

12:57 AM  
Blogger Naked Cricket said...

samir, if t20 is down there for you, then t20 highlights are an abridged too far.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

NC: :) Very true. Honestly, I quite enjoyed the World Cup last year - perhaps international contests as part of a tournament will do it for me.

9:59 AM  

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