For all die-hard cricket fans like me, the beginning of the Indian Premier League twenty20 (IPL) was a treat to the eyes. Two months of non-stop entertainment. While watching twenty20 matches every single day up to June with the heroics of some of the world’s best cricketers is an exciting idea; however, too much of cricket can be enough to put us off the game for some time.
In a world of instant food, instant communication, instant upbringing; “instant cricket” is nowhere out-of-place. No one has time to sit and think. Everyone wants to just get over with it. People want to do something different every moment. No one wants to stick with a particular thing. We want quick answers and faster decisions.
Cricket has evolved from a test game to a one day international to this more recent twenty20 format. Many people love the age-old 5 day test game, slow and steady. It takes a lot of strategic planning and sheer patience to win that one. Much more, later, started liking the ODI format; one single day and the game gets over. Its easy, its enjoyable and most importantly, you don’t have to wait until next day for the results.
Now, comes the time of twenty20; it doesn’t even last half a day. A super-quick ~4 hours and the game gets over! Its so instant! You are enthralled by the mettle the batsmen exhibit, the shrewdness of the bowlers, the constant fear of the fielders that springs from the fact that even a single unsaved run carries the fate of the game.
And, COMMERCIALIZATION! Cricket has become so business-like. There are scantily-clad cheerleaders (heck, we didn’t even know them, in this part of the world). There are musicians for entertainment purposes. There are actors, politicians, business tycoons, all ready to spill money as easily as water.
Cricketers are being bought and sold! Its kind of funny and extremely sad too. How can you judge the worth of a player in terms of monetary values??? Before the start of IPL, there was the huge market of buy & sell, where players were sold for huge amount of money.
I remember watching over the TV; a news channel was questioning the family of a teenage cricketer, they were asking his mother, “How does it feel that your son was sold for Rs.—?”
No amount of diplomacy can ever mask the absurdity of that question. Is it a matter of pride, that your son has been put up for sale???
European football clubs are no new to this kind of transaction. Every now and then, you see famous players getting transfered to other clubs and obtaining a lot of money for that. However, here in India, where, for years, values, traditions, customs have been given prime importance, where we have considered the character of an individual the highest and not his wealth, it feels strange to deal with such a situation.
No one is complaining, though. Who will, when there is so much of fun. Its not every day that you get to see all the famous cricketers in India alone and playing their best against each other. Its a fever that has gripped the nation. Every evening, you have a new match to watch. A new treat to look forward to.
Cricket has become this commercialized religion, where one God is superior to other in terms of wealth. Its overwhelming. You are torn between the love for the game and the business environment that has been created. Or do you even understand, what kind of love you have for the game?
There is money, there are players, there are a string of games….. If there isn’t a cricket game coming up for a few days, ever felt the restlessness and craving for one? And now, there are too much to bother.
Every day you see, brilliant plays, disappointments, ridicule of some of the finest men and rising of the unexpected ones. The ones you thought will reach the top, are the ones who are sweeping bottoms AND the one you thought will do no good, are the ones climbing mountains!
Its like selling yourself, selling your faith and glory, selling your love and marketing your own emotions. Its no longer synonymous with pure fun. Its contaminated with the desire for more, of greed and ruthless passion.
BUT then, am I being practical? It is making the Indian cricket board richer. It is making the face of cricket known internationally. It is bringing money and tourism for the country. It is bringing fame and recognition for the players. It is like living a dangerous dream.
Well, sooner or later, when we all have to deal with personal devils, I don’t know, what we will be happy with? The pure pleasure we once felt for the game or the sheer commercialization that turned us into money-earning and power-hungry machines!!!