Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And so the IPL is over. Like always it had some great cricket, some great games, some terrific performances and some sub-standard coverage. IPL does some funny things to you. Thanks to the IPL, I know more about the MRF blimp then I do about my family. But that is for another entry……….

But this time the IPL was overshadowed by Modi, Tharoor, Twitter and IPL gate. News channels had a field day. Even Barkha Dutt, normally not associated with cricket, was concerned about the game. Was brand IPL affected? (don’t need to be a Einstein to find an answer to that). Was Indian Cricket affected? (never). There were suggestions that this was the greatest crisis to rock Indian Cricket. The same was said during the match fixing crisis (rightly) and when India was knocked out of the 2007 World up.

There really should be no cause for concern. If you have studied the BCCI’s history, you would realize that this is not the first case of corruption it has been associated with. Modi himself was involved in framing and trading charges of Financial impropriety against, Jagmohan Dalmiya. TV rights deals involving the BCCI have always raised eyebrows and numerous court cases have always been filed against the BCCI.

Fortunately, cricket in India has not been affected by all this. Indian Cricket has grown, thrived and to a large extent prospered inspite of the shambolic administration on the part of the BCCI. Hence to jump to conclusions and state that Indian cricket will be terminally affected by all this is totally wrong.

Now to the IPL. Yes the IPL is a big event. Yes it captures the imagination of the entire country and yes for one entire month the country follows it. But that Cricket in India has never been dependent on the IPL . Cricket in India was thriving before the IPL and it will continue to do so even after the IPL. And IPL as a global brand? I really don’t know about that. No body in England and Australia ( apart from the Indians based there ) watch it and frankly no body really cares about it apart from Indians.. Why even some people based in India find the IPL boring.

It is really strange that the IPL Governing Council was not aware of all the hidden stakes in the various franchisees. It is also very strange that no ‘fit and proper test’ was applied to the people bidding for the various franchises. If Lalit Modi had a problem with respect to the various stakeholders in the Kochi franchisees, he should have raised it before the bidding process and not allowed the consortium to bid. Once the consortium was allotted the team, there really could not have been any objections to their make up.

But that is a different story, perhaps to be ignored or as Harsha Bhogle has said to be commented by people experts in Corporate Governance. This blog is primarily about cricket and we shall talk about cricket, of which there was some good quality on display at the IPL. Sachin Tendulkar was sensational, playing some outstanding cricket shots and showing to all of us that great batsmen will be great batsmen at any level. He was primarily the reason why the majority of the people in India were Mumbai Indian supporters during the final. As long as Sachin Tendulkar is playing, cricket in India will never ever be threatened.

And then there were the others. Anil Kumble bowled magnificently, his dismissal of Saurabh Tiwari during the game at Brabourne was probably the moment of the tournament. But he was overshadowed by Pragyan Ohjha, surely the bowler of the tournament. I daresay that Pragyan Ohja is the best left arm spinner in the world but unfortunately he can’t even find a place in his country’s team. Some body needs to do some explaining about that.

Robin Utthapa showed to the entire country what tremendous ability he had and why all of us showed be frustrated by the fact that this ability has not transformed into performances more often. The same is the case with Rohit Sharma who remains the most enigmatic young cricketer of India. If he is not a regular member of the Indian team by the end of this year, it will be Indian Crickets loss and not his. Yousuf Pathan’s hundred in 37 balls was sensational and there were some stunning catches taken during the course of the tournament.

It is the cricketers of this country who keep the game going. And so long as they are in good health, the game will remain in good health.

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