May 30, 2011

IPL threatens future of cricket


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Whatever the ‘engineered’ polls on the partner television networks might broadcast, the just concluded fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) seemed to have created serious doubts in the minds of the people many of whom preferred to tune in to other channels for recreational purposes.

The general feeling among the masses was that the matches were being played according the whims of a few individuals and the cricketers in the field were merely dancing to the tune of their masters.

In other words it was being suspected that every match was following a set pattern and cricket was played just as an excuse. Far too many one-sided matches possibly made the people believe that nobody cared for the entertainment in the field which was the basic purpose of staging the tournament.

There’re a few students of the game who seemed convinced that the outfits in the IPL 2011 arrived in every match with an agenda of their own which necessarily didn’t mean winning the day.

The organizers succeeded in roping in crowds at the strength of the big names present in each of the 10 participating team but it could be felt that the intensity was lacking and the arrangements looked cosmetic.

I don’t think it had much to do with the number of teams or the matches. It had something to relate with the awareness level that seemed to be improving. Obviously the cricket enthusiasts cannot be taken for a ride day in and day out.

The cricket-crazy community might overlook or ignore a mishap or a mismatch once in a while as they had so in the tournaments like the World Cup but to expect them to absorb it every single day is definitely asking for trouble.

As somebody very rightly pointed out there have been no high-measures in the IPL. So has been the case in the opinion of many people about the foul play involved during the course of almost every match.

The cricket lovers of India in particular have more reasons to feel dismayed and hard done by the policies of their Board whose prioritization to the IPL at the cost of the game remains a source of annoyance.

Isn’t it criminal to rest or sideline the world-class performers like Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the international matches in order to let them concentrate fully on the IPL?

Isn’t it an injustice with the cricket fans of the Caribbean to deprive them from the pleasure of watching these top guns in action on their grounds? The Indians don’t visit the West Indies often and sending a depleted team there amounts to compromising on national interests.

The only peace of mind for every cricket buff is that the IPL is finally over. Very little did people seem to care about who won or who lost out finally! Just like the Indian selectors who didn’t take the performances of the IPL in consideration while picking up second-string squads to the West Indies for they must have known it better than the most about what really was going on.

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