For The Love of Money

ipl.jpgThe Indian Premier League or the IPL has generated a lot of buzz all over the world. Planned and held as a response to the rebel Indian Cricket League, or ICL, the world’s richest cricket board, i.e. the BCCI seems to have given the cricketing world a new dimension in the art of marketing the game. The board stands to make millions by marketing this league glibly. However, the biggest loser seems to be the game of cricket itself.

There is no doubt that Twenty20 has taken the world by storm. With a host of new rules to make the game more thrilling, it seems to have revolutionised the game forever. However “popcorn” cricket as some like to call it, is far away from the good old days of five day matches. Conservative pundits rightly argue that cricket is fast becoming a market for money. There has been a lot of hue and cry about the way players are being bid for and teams are being sold to the biggest investors. Are we playing cricket or showcasing our money?

Kerry Packer’s World Series generated the same amount of controversies and protests. However, the birth of one day cricket also matched the birth of the world cups and even though one day cricket was in the lime light, test cricket still retained its charm. The main difference – cricket was still a contest between two teams with the best hoping to win in the right context i.e. in the spirit of the game. Nowadays, sadly, it seems to be all about the money and the hype that is generated about the players. The world seems to have become a market for players’ services.

It is indeed shameful to see that a cricket-worshipping country has been gripped by the madness of watching big superstars and cricketing icons play matches that have no value. Do we really believe that an Andrew Symonds playing Twenty20 under the leadership of an Indian will be more entertaining than the last day of the Sydney or the Perth test? Where has the charm of playing for your country or the love of the game gone? Are we to be dictated by pieces of paper and promises of big sums? Is our talent worth only marketing?

Give it a thought, it is worth it!

Budhaditiya Banerjee

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