I saw the first match of IPL. And believe me, it didn’t impress me much. The match was played between Shah Rukh’s Kolkata Knight Riders and Vijay Mallya’s Bangalore Royal Challengers. The latter ended up tasting defeat at the hands of Dada’s men.
Not that I don’t like cricket. Or that I am someone who will ask others not to watch it. I agree that I am not very enthusiastic about the sport as I am about football. But hey! I watch men running around with bats as well. And some of the encounters are highly riveting and thrilling. So, it was with much trepidation that I prepared myself to watch the match.
The first thing – the attire. What was it? I have never seen such extremely ridiculous uniforms before, in the world of sport. The Knight Riders looked like they had ridden right out of an ancient, antediluvian thriller. Their smooth, shiny, spotless, unblemished helmets looked like those worn by knights in days of yore. They could easily endorse a brand of ‘light reflectors’, so golden was their uniform. Perhaps, it was befitting the Kolkata team…who had christened themselves ‘Knights’! They looked like a bunch of golden stooges, trooping around on the field.
Then there were the Royal Challengers who looked like they were on fire, or had set themselves on fire, or would, at least, lead to a bad case of spontaneous combustion. Their attire was a blend of red and yellow, and they actually looked like chillies, with the colours of the uniform in beautiful wavy patterns – which would have been nice to look at, but didn’t quite suit the players who were playing cricket on an international stage.
And then there were the cheerleaders. Seriously, what does Vijay Mallya think he is doing? I do not shun the concept of girls cheering for their teams, as it is the popular concept in the West and I am sure Mr. Mallya is highly inspired by the NBA, or even Formula One for that matter. But, having half-naked, scantily-clad ladies dancing on-camera is not that great an idea, especially when you are watching matches with your entire family. With your father, and your maternal grandfather, and your twelve-year old brother who seems fascinated by the girls onscreen. Really, the cheerleaders of the Bangalore team were the worst of the lot. The others, at least, had some clothes on, and were clad in sporty attire. But the red-and-yellow ones from Bangalore were over-the-top and in-your-face. It seemed like they had nothing to do apart from shaking their “booties” and dancing seductively whenever the players hit a boundary or a six. Will someone tell Mr. Mallya that doing a touchy-feely dance is totally un-needed and uncalled for when someone hits a four? Though that is what most cheerleaders are supposed to do, yet Mallya’s entourage ended up looking like some kind of crass, crude and a totally unwanted promotion for Playboy.
Indian cricket is in a league of its own and does not require embellishments to take it further. The IPL has proved what the country can do on its own. Everyone knows how the ICC has been rapped on the knuckles by some countries, who still have not gotten over the hangover of the pre-colonial era. India on the world stage does not appeal to them and cricket, an English import into the country, being dominated to such an extent by the subcontinent, will surely not go down well with them. However, it does not matter to the players at all because IPL means a lot of lucre for the already rolling-in-wealth cricketers, who can play any number of tournaments, provided there are multi-billion dollar contracts to be signed. Same seems to be the case with the BCCI. With our national sport already in shambles, it looks like cricket is the only sport in the country. And the administrators and the sports authorities and even the public will surely make it the case. Amen.
[Image courtesy: http://www.saharasamay.com/Images/FullStory/cricket12.jpg]