IPL and its theatrics

IPL has thrown up more controversies than any other sporting event in the country. Although, I am gradually getting bored of the same kind of matches being played over and over again, the press, the franchisee owners, the boards and the players do not stop themselves from creating some story which keeps the attention fixated on IPL.

Shoaib Akhtar had a dream debut in IPL. He took 5 wickets and took home an easy win against Delhi Daredevils although I feel it was more of a lack of seriousness on the part of the players from Delhi which lost the game for them rather than Shoaib winning the game for KKR.

Now, there is a lot of hue and cry over SRK‘s presence in the dug-outs. Apparently, he was there to ‘motivate’ his players to perform better and win the matches for him. My point is, what was the need for Shahrukh to jump and dance like a monkey on Shoaib soon after (READ: during) the presentation ceremony? The ceremony was not completely over at that time. He is just the owner of the franchisee… IPL is not indebted to him in anyway. He is also not a part of the governing body. He just cannot create his own rules and be whatever and wherever he wants to. It seems there is no rule book in place because the game’s beauty is being plundered with delight by people who think they are gods. I am a big fan of SRK but I do not approve of anyone going out and doing that kind of stuff on the field which should be considered a place of importance, if not sacred.

Fun is OK. Commercialization is OK. But, at least please don’t make a mockery out of this. Do players really need motivation from the likes of SRK to perform better? I don’t think so. I know he has invested a lot of money on this, but at the end of the day it was his own decision.

Another laughable character is Lalit Modi. He will always be found near some one whom the TV camera is surely going to capture. Being the organizer, he should have the sanity of not openly showing support for any particular team. But, our Modi commissioner sir celebrated with SRK once a Delhi wicket fell against KKR… and he was also showing remorse (I think he was trying to impress someone) while standing by Preity Zinta when Punjab Kings XI lost a batsman.

Anyways, I probably did not have anything good to write about so thought it would be a better option to crib about the circus called IPL. BTW, I am no way anti IPL. In fact, I am happy that India brought forth this concept… But sanctity of a game has to be preserved. And things look good upto an extent… nothing should be overdone.

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Sreesanth slap dashed

Much has been said and written about Sreesanth and the infamous bolt being slap dashed on him by none other than our harum-scarum madcap Turbanator… Yeah, I am talking about Harbhajan a.k.a Bhajji.

I am no way a great admirer of Bhajji and his harebrained practices on and off the field but, I am also not in favor of putting the entire blame on him and letting Sreesanth run away unscathed.

Sreesanth once mocked and jeered at Sachin and Sehwag in two separate incidents during a Challenger Trophy match. A newcomer who is yet to prove his credentials as a match winner on the international stage should not resort to such behavior. It is not about performances on field. You would never see a Hayden being involved in a spat with McGrath. Being professional is more important than being uselessly aggressive.

I would say he is a good bowler and he has a great future ahead. But, rather than wasting his energy on those otiose gimmicks, he should try to learn from his mistakes. It is in fact going to hurt him more than anyone else.

Anyways, I am not here to barge on you readers with my own version of morality. But, if Sreesanth is not punished by BCCI, then I will be one of the very few persons (probably) who will be disappointed.

Bhajji Paaji slaps Sreesanth ‘the Saint’

The recent controversy involving the spat between Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh was funny, yet humiliating to Indian cricket. Controlled aggression is always healthy but these two perpetrators have not been able to substantiate their aggression with similar performances on field.

Now, it will be interesting to note how BCCI reacts to this controversy. I sincerely felt that Harbhajan was being over-protected during India’s tour down under. The fallout of the same is in front of every one to be seen. Here Sreesanth is also no saint and both of them should be dealt with strong fists…

What irritated me the most was the reaction of Sreesanth… He proved that he is a cretin of sorts, who could cry when being slapped on face by a fellow team mate who played along side him for his very own country.

This is gross and frustrating for fans like me.

Just another blog post…

The last few days of any sporting season are full of thrill and excitement. EPL countdown has begun and the Champions League final in Moscow is less than a month away. Man-U is on its way to grab its second successive Premiership title and it is still in the race for another European glory. I am a die-hard ManU supporter and I would love it if we can make it a double this time.

ManU plays Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. A win would ensure that the league is ours… I hope we can seal the fate tomorrow itself without waiting for too long and then go and outplay Barca in the Champions League semi final at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Soccer is a beautiful game. The intensity, fervor and passion make the game so special. Sadly, the situation of soccer in the country is not as good. Recently, I came across a piece of news saying that India has signed a treaty with Brazil where we will be teaching cricket to the Latin Football giant and in turn, they will return the favor by teaching football to our players. This is a positive step but in India, we are always good at making plans and strategies, whereas execution always takes a back seat. Let us see… We can always hope for something good.

India is a huge country. We definitely have a great scope for another sport where we can excel. No, I am not talking about eating away any fan following from cricket. Fans are not exclusive as far as sports are concerned… But, a game like soccer can have mass fan following in the country. There are pockets like Bengal and Goa where soccer is being followed locally with unmatched interests. The same can happen on a global level provided; people get to see some quality games from quality players.

Well, after quite a bit of prodding, I thought it was high time I should get a Manchester United jersey. Although, the price tag always repelled me, I decided to keep my senses at bay and bought one at the forum mall here in Bangalore. It did cost me some 2300/- odd bucks but a credit card payment ensured that I did not feel it when the money was actually going out of my pocket. But, I guess, it was worth it. I love the club and the team… Hope we win and after that, I would be eagerly waiting for another soccer delicacy, the Euro 2008.

IPL mania grips the nation

A few months back, I predicted that cricket would be taking an altogether different route of commercialization. It is not only about media, hype, money, glamour and glitz anymore. Cricket is changing. The gentlemen’s game has transformed itself into a far cooler version of what it used to be. With the advent of T20 cricket, the time taken for the completion of a match has reduced from a day/5 days to 3 hours. Cheerleaders, pyro-techniques, colorful jerseys, and players defying nationalities… wow… things look a lot better now. India’s triumph in the T20 world cup final brought the latest version of the game to India and here we are now facing the dawn of a probable change in the way cricket will be played in the years to come.
After that epoch triumph at Lord’s in 1983 against the mighty Windies, Indian cricket changed for good. Indians started believing that they had the ability to discern themselves as a major competitor on a global stage. That win gave a major push to cricket in India and the 1996 world cup made the subcontinent, the powerhouse of world cricket. Indians are cricket crazy and the players like Sachin, Sourav, Rahul, Yuvraj, Dhoni etc. are like demi-gods. The greatest reason behind so much fan following could be the lack of any other sport where India has a potent presence. Even Indian hockey has lost its grace and thanks to the utter nonchalance being shown by IHF and Mr. Gill, we could not qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Zee group’s rebel ICL raised alarm bells in the BCCI camp. It realized that it was sitting on an opportunity which was similar to a potential gold mine. Right from denying access to major stadiums to imposing restrictions on players from playing in the ICL, BCCI has played all the dirty games. Eventually, it came up with its own version of IPL…similar to the EPL of soccer. Eight franchisees and a unique way of buying players through competitive bidding laid the foundation for a competition which has been riding on the hype and hoopla surrounding it.

Today is the fourth day of IPL. Till now, apart from the Mohali match, where the stadium was sparsely filled, almost all other matches have seen full attendances. Though it would be too early to talk about the future of the competition, one thing that cannot be denied is that the kind of money involved and the fan following that exists in India for cricket is nowhere to be found in the world. Therefore, if any thing like this can be done to world cricket, then only India can do it.

It would be interesting to see how fans adjust to the new mode of fan loyalty. Whether Indian public is willing to support one particular entity or they will be confused for a long time is still a big question mark. It is good to see Punter hugging Dada and cheering for Ishant. At the end of the day, it will be a victory for cricket.

Those cricketers who usually do not get the chance of playing in the national side because of stiff competition would also get to learn a lot from the big shots of international cricket by playing alongside them in their respective clubs. I hope IPL has a long life…

India Wins

So finally we belted the Aussies on their home turf. What is more exciting is that, all these things have taken place after a string of controversies… both on and off the field.

Indian cricket has definitely taken a new turn. I am not saying by conviction or this is not some thing which has come out of an ardent supporter. In fact, I am sure and I believe, Indian cricket is more professional now. There is no place for emotions… One has to play and perform to stay in the team.

One act of professionalism shown by the team was to select youngsters for the One Dayers. I know many of us were unhappy because Rahul and Sourav were dropped. Even I was critical at that time… But look at the situation in 2011 when India hosts the world cup. How many of these senior players will be in the team till then? I am not sure whether India will tour Australia before WC2011 again… Aussies will come next. So, to give our “team of future” the best and the toughest experience was a good decision indeed. Australian cricketing conditions are far tougher than they seem. It is not only about cricket down under… It is more about handling pressure and the obstinate media. Aussies often demoralize opponents by making ‘off the field’ remarks…

Anyways, congratulations to the entire team. I hope this is just the beginning.. It is always easier to win than winning continuously.

On a personal front, I am happy and hopefully getting more matured with every passing day. 🙂 But I don’t know why there is some kind of an emptiness inside… Too much of work has ensured that, I don’t have free time to think… That is good but again it happens that, at the end of the day, u want to talk with some one who is close and who understands u truly. It is hard to find some one of that kind…

I am waiting for the moment… 🙂