Big Money, Full houses and Excitement!

IPL just ended a week back, yet the fever does not seem to have subsided. People are still talking about it. Husbands are still keen on taking the remote from their wives, who are on with their soaps after a month long IPL inflicted sabbatical, to watch the reruns of the matches. Every tea table discussion still rings with a distinct flavour of IPL and it doesn’t seem to stop for now. Such is the impact of this cricket tournament.

Is IPL. the future of cricket? Certainly so and why not? In an age of quick thinking, promptness of action, swift communication and pace packed travel, why should cricket, traditionally slow, be left to be a turtle amongst a host of rabbits? Let us face it, it is the rabbit who wins in this age and not the turtle. Change is invaluable and needs to be taken stock of, otherwise we might end up scripting our own decline.

With the success of the T20 World Cup, the establishment of the IPL was a transition which was inevitable. Even football has profited from the various leagues that have been played between the clubs since decades, and are partly responsible for the growth and popularity of the sport. Cricket is just cashing on this experience.

IPL is slated to grow in its next edition in every parameter, be it audience reach, inclusion of new players (English cricketers have wished to be part of the league), money, endorsement, possibly inclusion of new teams, more excitement, and might I add, a few more cheerleaders. This is an avenue for new talents and it spoils the selectors for choices and I am not talking only of Indian selectors but also for the other cricketing associations represented in the league.

IPL did start as a competitor to the ICL but one has to realise that its goal is not to counter the rebel league, but to establish cricket as an exciting game, which is not just fit for the ‘gentlemen’ but also for the masses. The IPL brought a new bunch of admirers into its fold – women, who have long suffered the wrath of not being obsessed about the game enough. This time though, they were attracted to the glitzy affair that cricket was and thoroughly enjoyed the matches.

I do not know if IPL was telecast in foreign countries, but in India, its impact has been enough for future editions to be forecasted in a knee deep flood of profit in every imaginable way possible. It is the future of cricket because it has brought the sort in a new light full of glamour and the trappings of star power which till now was limited to football. It is the future because it has turned the tables on the sport previously termed as slow and boring to fast and thrilling. It is the future because it has made BCCI into a money minting machine from an enterprise they would never let go off. It is the future because the league has given Indians new talents to cheer about and has compelled the Indian selectors to envision a new Indian team. Finally, it is the future because IPL made the sport bigger than the players in every way possible.

The only worry that its hectic schedule might consistently injure players and that its aggressive promotion might just take the game away from its 50-50 and Test format. These are the loopholes that need to taken care of, otherwise the game T20 and the IPL are here to stay and entertain like never before.

Sayan Das