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Updated: May 26, 2012 00:56 IST

Smash-and-grab crony league

Ramachandra Guha
Comment (133)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

The IPL is bad for capitalism, democracy and cricket

I live in Bangalore, down the road from the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA). I am a member of the KSCA, which means that I can watch all the matches played in its stadium for free, and from a comfortable seat next to the pavilion. I exercise the privilege always during a Test match, often during a one-day international, and sometimes during a Ranji Trophy match. However, I have not yet watched an Indian Premier League (IPL) game played at the KSCA, nor do I intend to in the future.

My original reasons for boycotting the Indian Premier League were aesthetic. 20-20 lacks the subtlety of the longer form; no one can build an innings, no one bowls a probing spell. I didn't much care either for the way the game was packaged, while the man who owned the local Bangalore team was — as seen by someone whose day job is studying the legacy of Ambedkar, Gandhiji, Nehru — somewhat on the loud side.

The sting operation involving some (fringe) IPL players and the fight between Shah Rukh Khan and the Mumbai Cricket Association both seem to confirm these aesthetic reservations. But in fact the problem with the IPL goes far beyond petty corruption and boorish celebrities. The Indian Premier League is not just bad for me, but bad for Indian capitalism, bad for Indian democracy, and bad for Indian cricket.

With liberalisation …

Let me defend these claims. When the Indian economy was liberalised, in 1991, it unleashed the long-suppressed energies of the entrepreneurial class. Sectors such as software and pharmaceuticals, that depended chiefly on innovation and knowledge, prospered. This was capitalism at its most creative; generating incomes and jobs, satisfying consumer tastes, and also spawning a new wave of philanthropy.

More recently, however, some less appealing sides of capitalism have manifested themselves. The state retains control of three key resources — land, minerals, and the airwaves. These resources have become enormously valuable with the expansion of the economy, prompting sweetheart deals between individual politicians and individual entrepreneurs, whereby land, minerals, or spectrum are transferred at much less than market cost, and for a (quite large) consideration. Creative capitalism has increasingly given way to crony capitalism, with dire consequences for society, for the environment, and for public institutions. Hence the 2G scandal, the spike in the Maoist insurgency due to the dispossession of tribals by mining companies, the killings of whistle-blowers by the land mafia, etc.

The Indian Premier League is decidedly on the crony rather than creative side of the ledger. The original auction for teams was shrouded in secrecy — the allocations were not made on the basis of bids transparently offered and assessed. Player prices do not accurately reflect cricketing worth either. Thus foreign players are paid a fraction of what Indian players of comparable quality are paid. The most egregious form of cronyism, however, is the ownership of an IPL team by the current president (and former secretary) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. It is as if Alex Ferguson was simultaneously manager of Manchester United and the president of the English Football Association. Tragically, the cronyism runs down the line. The current chairman of selectors is the brand ambassador of the team owned and run by the Board president. The famous former cricketers who cover Indian cricket on television have been consultants to the IPL. Other commentators have accepted assignments from IPL teams. To put it bluntly, their silence on this (and some other matters) has been bought.

The IPL has given capitalism and entrepreneurship a bad game. But it has also been bad for Indian democracy, in that it has vividly and even brazenly underlined the distance between the affluent, urban middle classes and the rest of India. Consider the fact that no city in India's largest State, Uttar Pradesh, which has an excellent Ranji Trophy team, was awarded a franchise. Nor any city in Bihar, Orissa, or Madhya Pradesh either. To leave out four of India's largest States — all cricket-mad, and which collectively account for close to half the country's population — must seriously disqualify the League's claim to be ‘Indian.'

Names and bias

Yet it can still be called ‘Premier,' for it speaks for the more prosperous parts of India, and for the more prosperous sections within them. The very names of the teams are a clue to its elitist character — two ‘Kings,' two ‘Royals,' and one ‘Knight,' this in a democratic Republic whose Constitution and laws (rightly) did away with aristocratic titles of any kind.

The IPL is explicitly biased against the poorer States of the Union, and implicitly biased towards what, in marketing argot, is referred to as ‘S(ocio)E(conomic)C(lass)-1.' Maharashtra has two IPL teams, based in its largest and richest cities, yet it is the upper strata of Pune and Mumbai society that most closely follow these teams. Some watch the matches at home, over a drink and after a hard day at the office; others go to the stadium, seeking vicariously to soak in the glamour of those even richer than themselves. That is to say, they go not so much to see Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar bat, but to be in the same privileged space as the Nita Ambanis and the Shah Rukh Khans, this fleeting proximity reassurance that they too are within that part of India which is Shining as well as Winning.

Balance of power

The middle classes of the major metros are large and prosperous enough to sustain the IPL. But the rest of India, that is to say, the majority of India, does not appear to connect with the tournament. When there is a match on at the KSCA, there are crowds in the ground and in pubs in central Bangalore, but no interest in the poorer parts of the city or in villages 10 or 20 miles away.

On the other hand, when the national team plays, as India, the peasant and the slum dweller can follow its fortunes as keenly as the hedge fund manager and software engineer. The IPL is exclusive; the Indian team inclusive. Notably, they do not live in separate worlds; rather, they are connected, with the former having a decided impact on the latter. Had the Indian cricket team taken six weeks off after the 2011 World Cup, they may not have lost four-nil to England in that summer's Test series. Two of India's leading batsmen and its leading bowler were carrying injuries sustained by playing in the IPL, which was held immediately after the World Cup. The weariness and the exhaustion carried over into the Australian series, likewise lost four-zero, and into successive one-day tournaments, where the World Cup champions were humiliated by such sides as Bangladesh. The ordinary cricket lover now knew what our ‘professional' cricket commentators were too nervous or too polite to say — that too much cricket, and too much of the wrong kind of cricket, was a major reason behind the disgraceful performance of the Indian team in the latter half of 2011.

English and Australian cricket administrators may have other (and less salutary) reasons to dislike the IPL — namely, that it has shifted the balance of power in world cricket away from the white countries to India. However, some former colonial countries should be less than pleased with the tournament as well. Thus, the international game would benefit hugely if the West Indies were to somehow rediscover the art of winning Test and one-day matches. Recently, the West Indies have fought hard in series against Australia and England; their pluck might have been rewarded with victory had they the services of their best bowler, Sunil Narine; their best batsman, Chris Gayle; and their best all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo — all, alas, choosing to play in the IPL instead of for their national side.

There is a larger, cosmopolitan, reason to dislike the IPL; and also a local, patriotic, one. The baleful effects of the tournament should worry Indian liberals who admire that form of capitalism which rewards those with the best ideas rather than those with the best contacts; Indian democrats who wish to nurture a more caring and just society; and Indian cricket fans who want their team to perform honourably at home and abroad.

(Ramachandra Guha's books include A Corner of a Foreign Field. He can be contacted at ramachandraguha@yahoo.in)

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The author has no clue on what he is talking about. IPL is catered to a separate set of audience who only appreciates Slog hitters, glamour & Bollywood. And this stupid Greig wants to forward an article on twitter whenever he sees 'IPL is bad'.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 16:02 IST

Mr. Guha's point on boycotting the IPL for aesthetic reasons is well taken. IPL is tacky. Everything about it jars - the owners, the colours, the dancing girls, the T-20 format, everything. And, yes, IPL is not as universal in its appeal as an ODI or a Test match; it doesn't generate that amazing connect one instantly has with (almost) every Indian on a match-day, and to that extent is not "inclusive". But it is possible that people who choose not to watch it, irrespective of SEC 1 or 4, are staying away for the same aesthetic reasons. And perhaps also because one doesn't know who to support, with Dhoni in one team and Sachin in another!
I always like Mr. Guha's work and this article was no exception. Thank you!

from:  Mona Kachhwaha
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 14:29 IST

The article by Mr. Guha is an eye opener. In my view, IPL has killed the real cricket in India. Now more and more young aspirants of playing test cricket, are choosing IPL to make more money. Now we have year-round cricket season, which simply put is too much. May be with the success of T20, there will be T10. IPL brand of cricket will produce hard hitters, not the classy batsman, such as Gavaskar, Vishwanath etc, to name a few. It was a treat to watch these great players in action. May be the powers that be will not understand the long term effects of IPL, but it is a fact that the cricket as we know it, will lose its charm sooner than later. And that will be a sad day to reckon with.

from:  K K SHAH
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 22:40 IST

People have taken to IPL as a duck takes to water and that is its sole justification.Everyone watching IPL enjoys himself with a smile in his face.He would have gone away saying give us something else had it been otherwise. It is no use judging the IPL by the maxim "surely the whole purpose and mission of man is the well being of society."

from:  Bejoyadtya Pal
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 19:12 IST

To the folks, who think, that IPL is a perfect avatar in a capitalist
world, are missing the fact that, it emerged by killing ICL the father of this format in India, and I wonder, how Competition Commisioner of India didn't act on this!
People who take satisfaction from the fact that young players are getting opportunity, all who excelled in Ranji Tropy get to play against some big names in all over the world. Pre-IPL days, I used to read about matches when India-A, under-19, under-17 etc used to play against other countries. Virat Kohli, Yuvi were products of such under-19 tournament... The gain of IPL to Indian cricket is minuscule as compared the other ill effects that is being artuculated in this
article.

from:  Arun
Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 11:28 IST

Looks like IPL is not "classy" enough for social elite Mr Guha. I agree there are lot of problems with IPL and the tournament seems to be representative of the political and economic problems of India, I can't accept the argument that this tournament will affect Indian democracy. There is not enough proof to show cause-effect relationship between this tournament and Indian capitalism and democracy.

from:  Gayathri
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 07:11 IST

The IPL reminds me of the Roman emperors organizing non-ending Gladiator/Sporting events at the collosium. End objective: the Rich get Richer and the Poor remain occupied, entertained and oblivious.

from:  Osman
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 15:47 IST

Before the IPL Started, we were the T2O Champions, after it was started we didnt even make it to the Finals..
Agree with the author's statement that IPL is one of the major reasons for our 4-0 whitewash against England..

from:  Sudhan
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:49 IST

Sorry Sir, have to disagree with you....
If according to you, the larger states were also accomodated, the
number of matches would have gone up and again you would have started
complaining, if it was done at the expense of any other team, then
again you would have said, that x city/state was left out....

With regard to the West Indian players, they were not selected to be
part of the West Indies team.... so why do you want to blame them???
If my memory serves right, last year, Dwayne Bravo completed his ODI
commitments to his country and then returned to IPL.... And the
players mentioned by you are not selected for tests by the board... so
why blame them?

Regarding the losses to England and Australia, it was a collective
failure..... our bench strength was not that good to handle the
injuries and they do happen to every team in the world... Just
putting the blame on something you dont like is not a solution

from:  Deepak
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:25 IST

I think one has to make a distinction between the quality of cricket in IPL per se and the "extra-curricular" activities associated with IPL. Some of the cricket played in IPL is breathtaking - the fielding has an athlectism which "conventional" cricket could never emulate and the batting has an adventerousness about it which only the great West Indian batsmen of the past could match. IF IPL was just about 22 men playing cricket I would applaud.
However,it is the off-field behaviour that is the cause of concern. In this, IPL's unsavoury aspects are not unique to it but part of the general Indian ethos where issues of conflict of interest are brushed aside, the cynical flouting of rules is the norm, and nexus between big business and government is shamelessly exploited for the benefit of both. In that sense IPL simply mirrors the behaviour of India's elites at their most cynical and vulgar. To reform the IPL one would have to reform India's rulers.

from:  VKBorooah
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 12:23 IST

Dear Readers,
When IPL was staged in South Africa, it was mandatory for the IPL
organizers to make substantial amounts to deserving charities in each
city played. Why not do this in India ? Take cricket beyond the
stadiums, glitz and glamour and contribute to any/many of the
deserving causes each city holds. What is the point in giving away
money to cricketeers who are already wealthy and still earning
fabulously. Some deliberation there is warranted. Poor past
cricketeers Yes. They deserve support. Not the wealthy, still
working ones who have accepted the gratuity. They do not need it.
It is unfortunate that the IPL organizers cannot think of beyond
themselves and the cricketing fraternity and choose to segregate the
cricketeers from the public at large. After all, is not the general
public the main cause of IPL's success ?
V. Karthik

from:  V. Karthik
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 11:52 IST

When IPL was staged in South Africa, it was mandatory for the IPL organizers to make substantial amounts to deserving charities in each city played. Why not do this in India ? Take cricket beyond the stadiums, glitz and glamour and contribute to any/many of the deserving causes each city holds. What is the point in giving away money to cricketeers who are already wealthy and still earning fabulously. Some deliberation there is warranted. Poor past cricketeers Yes. They deserve support. Not the wealthy, still working ones who have accepted the gratuity. They do not need it. It is unfortunate that the IPL organizers cannot think of beyond themselves and the cricketing fraternity and choose to segregate the cricketeers from the public at large. After all, is not the general public the main cause of IPL's success ?

from:  V. Karthik
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 11:51 IST

Mr Guha, you have made some valid points and they are worth pondering
upon.

However, one question for you too. Who will be reading this article?
Middle-class and the upper-middle-class in cities or the people in the
poorer parts of the cities or in villages? We know the answer. By that
yardstick, you are being pretty elitist too.

from:  Utsav
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 09:07 IST

Agree with commenter Shreya, this is elitist drivel. Also talking about
extremes, I am quite appalled at the various commenters calling for the
ban of IPL - grandpas, chill !

from:  Siva K
Posted on: May 28, 2012 at 04:27 IST

Mr Ramchandra Guha, if your understanding of cricket is so superior to that of the mortals of this country, then you are most welcome to switch off your TV. Other people are free to love IPL and it is victory of their freedom. The fact that some people enjoy it, more than justifies IPL's existence. Whether poor people care about it does not matter. Whether it caters to your fine taste in cricket does not matter. But I have the right to follow it, players have right to play and sponsors are free to sponsor. If crony capitalism worries you fight against that corruption and not IPL; if poor states having no team worries you, find a sponsor for an Orissa team or sponsor it yourself; if players' high salary worries you, then you must also be having problem with IT professionals getting paid so much. Clearly you have a shoddy understanding of capitalism and democracy. You also have problem with the free-will of some West Indies players. But you heard of the word - freewill of men.

from:  Pulak Sahu
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 22:42 IST

If cricket is the opium of the Indian masses as justice Katju famously
declared,then IPL is a rave party, a vulgar,heinous,hideous one that.

from:  Veerabhadram
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 20:42 IST

Does the writer not understand how many people died playing Ranji cricket. None of them had pennies to carry in their old age. Benefit games had to be organised for them. Look at how many people in the domestic leagues can get a chance to show their talent, play with seniors and also earn some money for future security. With injuries and heavy schedules money in your peak years becomes important. Its gained a lot of hearts and new fans who would later migrate to other forms. Without T20 we would have a situation like 2007 WC which everyone knew but none saw

from:  Vineet
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 20:16 IST

The author completely missed the point that IPL is a private enterprise venture, comprising individual teams of investors for a profit. This is not a 'National' event for every state, major or minor, to be considered. Just like the owners of private organizations, they can choose to employ whoever they want; and deploy the funds in any (legal) manner that may occur to them as best. The fact that entire media inland and overseas are discussing IPL itself is proof of its popularity, does not matter if it reached the rural areas of India. Apart from certain unpleasant events (which once again are private affairs and anything illegal will warrant its natural punishment by Law), which does not bother the IPL fan who wants to enjoy the thrills and spills of this event. Like it or lump it, this multi-billion dollar industry has come to stay, and surely will be copied in other countries - already Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are following; so are similar but less moneyed events in Australia.

from:  Vasu
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 17:40 IST

Anguish of a true cricket lover. I watch a cricket match just for cricket. Indian cricket administration is flooded with politicians having no vision for uplifting the standard of the game. Quality of the IPL TV Broadcast is very poor. On top of it after every boundary the focus turns to cheerleaders instead of the Shot played. I lost interest in it after two seasons now I stopped watching it too. IPL Huge Money Little Cricket.

from:  Satish Kumar
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 17:39 IST

The issue with IPL is this; the BCCI is on a power trip and wish to throw their muscle around the ECB and CA. This is fine, given the injustices we have faced in the past. What is not fine is the adverse impact on international cricket. The BCCIs' mismanagement of the sport is going to hurt them in the long run. The younger generation are losing the appreciation of the longer forms of the game to this ADD induced acid trip that is the IPL. Let me make my views clear; I'm not anti T20, I am anti IPL. Even if audiences are growing - shortening the form of the game is never the answer in the wrong run in general. The BCCI & IPL are ticking time bombs. Given the lack of regulation, the high stakes and limelight the league brings to itself, the bubble with burst and the only loser will be the game of Cricket itself. The only way to soften the adverse impact of the IPL is for the ICC to bring its foot down on the BCCI - unfortunately that won't happen since BCCI is the ICC now.

from:  sonia
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 14:35 IST

I agree with Somnath. I seriously feel IPL is wrong,well i cannot link it with capitalism as the author,and also his linking it with capitalism is not understood by me. but my concern is that because of IPL,players are unable to concentrate well.We see virat kohli's poor form in this IPL..its because he didn't got time as its too fast game.and repeated poor performance must made an impact on his confidence! Also that i think its for those who take bets..as all of its match seems as if its been fixed!

from:  Sagar
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 12:58 IST

Why not a state govt.not yet having an IPL representation own a IPL team and distribute the funds and corpus thus collected from the wealthy be used for the development of the state city or people.

from:  Arun Saxena
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 12:57 IST

I disagree with you Mr Guha on multiple counts. 1) T 20 is not hit and miss cricket, but a different variation of it. In fact its a variation that has been in existence since ages. Do you think kids start off playing test matches on streets? 2) If kids all these years have played mostly 10-20 over matches and then some of them still graduated to tests, shows that it takes skills and attitude to do well in test matches and official T20 leagues are not going to change that fact. 3) My son is 7 years old and cricket mad. He loves IPL and knows each and every team member in every team. But his aim is to play in England and beat them on their turf in tests. IPL only increases his love for cricket and does no harm. We can not produce great cricketers by forcing them to play only tests. Those who want to do well in tests will do so because they love it. 4) As for IPL mis-governance and other things. Its typical of us Indians. Nothing specific to IPL. We have to become better in all spheres.

from:  Jerry Kurian
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 12:54 IST

IPL is pure entertainment, like any other sports, entertainment and many of them enjoy. If some of them do not enjoy, do not watch them. No need to write all these stories. It is also a fact that many of the youngsters are able to score in crucial games due to the way they are used to play under pressure, in the process they get to make money too.
We have more rotten system to correct and clean before targeting IPL

from:  Tony
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 11:28 IST

Mr. Guha has given many solid reasons but most of them unfortunately for him support the opposite conclusions. The current form of IPL promotes sheer capitalism whereas Guha's ideas reek of socialism. If all states are to be represented is he suggesting some sort of reservation which implies more of a communistic rather than socialistic theme. The Union territory of Delhi is well represented and for all practical purposes part of UP and well Bihar too. There was a time when India fielded 10 of 11 players in a test from Bombay and Karnataka teams. Test cricket was then not holy or pure either. The logistical and commercial fallacies attributed to 20/20cricket are often valid for test cricket. I can go on and on picking on Mr. Guha's writeup but I just made a few observations that discredit his premise. Guha has made some noteworthy points but the article is flawed to say the least. Last but not the least, India does not operate on either pure capitalism or pure socialism.

from:  RajB
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 10:11 IST

It is a pity that Mr.Guha, a reputed historian and lover of cricket
has mixed facts and opinions in this article. His criticism of the
state of Indian democracy and crony capitalism are valid. His
questioning the business ethics of the President of BCCI being a
franchise owner is understandable. His revulsion at the vulgar
display of wealth in all matters relating to IPL is laudable. But, I
believe that 20/20 (or T20)is another form of cricket that has its own
merit. I have been an admirer of Guha for several decades now and
would like to remind him that similar sentiments were expressed about
Pajama cricket when the ODIs took our fancy about 3 decades back.
IPL's popularity is not just around the big cities as he claims. It
is being watched wherever people can afford those paid channels that
display them. Mr.Guha's anger is justified but let not truth be a
victim in the process. IPL has to be cleansed and sanitized, but it
will live.

from:  N.Muralidharan
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 10:06 IST

IPL format of cricket be banned from India,otherwise already lazy country India will loose tendency to work more.Young generations have already become watchers from doers and if this IPL type cheap entertainment flourishes in India,the already poor country India will be poorer and it will turn into country of beggeres and importers from abroad.
How many hours do our students study,think and analyze. What new innovations do our young generations innovate during the past ten years ? What new research works are done by our young generations in
medicines,science etc ?
IPL had brought works vacuum to all sections of people particularly to the young generations of India.
It is time to back to work,not to whole time entertainment

from:  Maheswar Deka
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 09:57 IST

Many Indians appear to fixate on the negative aspects or issues. Any and every coin has two sides. I think people in India need to learn to look more on the brighter side. This same attitude has been adopted toward Aamir Khan's satyameva Jayate. Even if you choose to see the negative aspect, there is no need to seek validtion in national newspaper. You are competent enough to earn money while staying positive.

from:  Karthik Krishnan
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 03:52 IST

Brilliant article sir.. IPL just epitomizes what is going wrong with
India today... rampant and open corruption, as illustrated by the
owner of CSK and lalit modi's involvement in RR before that (not a
surprise that RR won the 1st edition and CSK is winning now).
As to the people who say that this league is giving chance to
youngsters to show their talent, probably popularizing the existing
ranji or duleep trophys would have worked better than a tournament
where a lil bit of luck while slashing with eyes closed makes you an
instant hero. I mean to say that you wont find any players capable of
playing good quality test match bowling through the IPL as is evident
by the brilliant suresh raina n m.s. dhoni who were part of the
winning IPL Team in 2011, but both looked like a bunch of hockey
players forced to play cricket.

from:  Amit
Posted on: May 27, 2012 at 01:16 IST

I agree with Mr.Guha on his observations about crony capitalism and huge conflict of interests. Yes, it is very evident.
As regards the observations about the T20 format and the format of IPL, well, the market is powerful enough to decide its outcomes. The crowds and TV viewership have dropped this year. The expected merchandising has not happened. So, perhaps the coming years could see a twist in the tale.
I agree with Mr.Nambiar on the ridiculous salaries dished out for IPL format. Several million Indians are paying for a few minutes of entertainment so a few cricketers, staff and franchise owners make crores.

from:  Sathya Karthik
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 20:46 IST

The article is thought provoking and Prof. Guha brings up several key
issues. However, in my humble opinion, he did not touch upon few other
issues which needs to be raised. As observed by Prof. Guha poorer
section of the society has no interest in IPL while they are much more
interested in matches involving our national side. What does our
national cricket team means consisting of players contracted to BCCI
which does not even fall under RTI? When our national side gets beaten
in eight consecutive tests, who do we hold accountable? Why the nation
has given full liberty to the BCCI which are using the contracted
players to play IPL rather than focusing on their deficit in batting
and bowling skills? The generation of Sachin, Dravid and Kumble had
the opportunity which the contemporaries like Kohli, Rahane or Umesh
are missing. Is it good for Indian cricket? Why is this question not
being asked? Finally, IPL is having a negative effect on professional
relations between seniors.

from:  D. Sengupta
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 19:14 IST

This is not the cricket we know or enjoyed. As much as one can deny it
0 the sad truth is this - This is no longer a "gentleman's sport".
Today the sport has been replaced by big money, some of which may have
been laundered by the underworld. The involvement of criminals, the
large scale movement of money, the greed involved and of course our
politicians who head these sports "associations", when they have nothing to do with it, could you ask for something else that can be
wrong?
Agreed, the cricket of the 70' to 90's did not have much money. It did not involve large corporate sponsorship. On the other hand we did not worship our players, did not kill the spirit of the game by auctioning our players like slaves. We did not have match fixing, and illegal bets and franchise owners getting drunk and abusing those who did their duty (there were no "franchises").
All this, because what was played was cricket. It's no longer "cricket". Give it another name, if you please!

from:  Rama
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 12:25 IST

Excellent piece of journalism! But, Mr. Guha and I may be out of touch with the
realities of present times. To that extent, this kind of moral deprivation is across all walks of life, is it not? There are some aspects which the Government should certainly look in to like the charges of money laundering, cross-border transactions violating foreign exchange laws, unacceptable State subsidies to a commercial entertainment event, co-mingling of National sport with private affairs....Then considering cricket in India is favorite pastime of politicians in power, that is asking for too much.

from:  N.K.Raveendran
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 11:33 IST

If the rich and famous want to have some fun at the expense of the not so rich and famous then we should allow it as long as it is making some money for the exchequer too and does not create or deepen the social divide. IPL is like horse racing and those who have the money they will want to bet on their favorite horses. Cricket is not an indigenous sport nor is the format an indigenous one, so why we getting so nationalistic about it? The dark side comprising of corruption, nepotism, cronyism and lack of transparency in the deals all have to be tackled, but that is the tough part because the format encourages a bazaar mentality and those with money and power will keep flocking to this market in the hope of making a killing by hook or by crook.

from:  Rajnish
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 11:02 IST

A good commentary on the state of affairs- but then cricket has always been like this for some time now in India-completely compromised governance, most of the teams have owners with dubious legal compliance records, the associations who support local logistics turn a blind eye to the rape of the association guidelines/laws on use of grounds and facilities and most of all an antire tribe of sports-journalists and former cricketers who have conflicts of interests when they can't but be silent. All in all, a typical case study in how "convenience and might of a few cronies" override "the right". Not much to say about its global impact, though- cricket is fringe game scoring low in physical prowess and fitness needs in the spectrum of game and sport. It is a game just played by a handful of nations, half of them incapable of winning a single medal in Olympics- that says a lot about the game itself.

from:  KPM Das
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 07:34 IST

I am not quite sure where I stand on this T20 issue. As a lover of the game, I am distressed when I find that slam-bang is the thing that counts. Bowling has become a different kind of art from what it was. The definition of 'slaughtered', of course, changes from one format to another, so giving away 10 runs an over is not really being slaughtered, which is OK by me, but the demented manner in which batsmen look to 'brain' the ball couldn't be doing much good to the inner person in him, nor much good to maniacal responses of his supporters. This game seems to celebrate violence and aggression. As I said, I can't be sure, maybe this serves as a catharsis for the pent up frustrations of living in such fast moving times! The vulgarity of pumping fists and screaming victory screams has caught on quite nicely among kids everywhere, not just in cricket. An additional mark over your rival in the maths test evokes similar responses. I am pitiably out of sync with times, I guess.

from:  Nadeem Khan
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 07:23 IST

IPL itself is not a bad concept. Please note that its not a brainchild or something from BCCI but its something that was started to counter ICL (started by Zee Group). The concept picked up well and became popular with Indian Cricket viewing population. As with anything in India that involves huge amount of money, corruption becomes imminent that breeds match fixing, money laundering and with young players getting money over and under the table, naturally disciplinary issues crop up. This is an issue with overall Indian system and mentality towards things in general rather than IPL in specific.

from:  Suresh Soundararajan
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 07:22 IST

Well said, Mr. Guha,IPL is the bane of Indian cricket and India will soon be bottom of the heap not only in Tests and ODIs but also in T-20s. How come no local talent flowers despite non-stop 6 weeks of IPL ? Will those who criticize Mr. Guha care to comment,o this, or don't you really care what happens to Indian cricket as long as you can wave your IPL flags, see yourself on TV, and "enjoy" the shilling inanities of Danny Morrison and fellow commentators, these guys really are the limit;sorry, I should say 'DLF Karbon Kamaal limit' !!

from:  Jaytara
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 06:40 IST

Tough I've always enjoyed Mr.Guha's columns, this one sounds too much like one of those columns by jealous of the success of IPL. Mr.Guha, I am happy to take your place/seat in the KSCA stadium for every IPL match played there. Care to swap?
What has patriotism got to do with IPL? Was India winning all the overseas tours before IPL? If you have a son or grandson playing in the league, I am sure you would not have wrote this column. It's helping cricketers in so many ways:
1. Indian youngsters play against international players
2. Cricketers are paid well
3. Retired cricketers benefit from proceeds
4. Build facilities for cricket
5. Find new local talent
I think you dislike IPL just for the sake of it.
I still love all forms of cricket Test, ODI & T20. IPL is special because it relaxes me for 2 months in a year but I still follow all the international cricket that is on at the moment.
If you don't like IPL, you have right to stay away, do not throw rubbish at it.

from:  Hemnath
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 02:18 IST

Brilliant article, strikes at the heart of this sham "game". Neither is the IPL truly inclusive nor does it breed a healthy competitive culture. This commercial drama does nothing but fill the pockets of fat cats and make fools of the people who are there for the fad - most of the so called fans don't truly care who wins or loses as long as they can claim some dubious "been there" value.

from:  Ram
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 00:50 IST

I totally agree with author. Even the commentators have changed Sunny
and Ravi Shastri were not the same 5 years back.
They keep defending IPL saying it will nurture Talent and will build good bench strength - Then we should be the Best T20 side in the World with so much T20 being played in IPL. We are not. In fact it should be noted that IPL is not only bad for Test & ODIs but also 4 International T20.
Sometimes it feels it's not cricket but a baseball match is being played in IPL. The number of 6s (Homeruns) are shown to be ever increasing & the ultimate aim is to clear d boundary no matter if the boundaries have to be brought closer. I was surprised to see 6s which hardly went 60m in Bangalore. The game is so modified that there is no contest between Bat & Ball.
Just leave all that What does one feel when u watch the extra innings show supermodels are dancing ,skirts r flying - that they are going to talk about a cricket match?? - Which is(/was) called a gentleman's Game? Sad

from:  Hari
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 00:46 IST

Could not accept more. The article in fact pointed out well the
perspective changes that are getting accommodated to the views of a
biggest democratic country also supposed to be the second biggest
capitalistic country(by number of ideas)through a sports lens. This
could be well called as 'National Sense' on IPL -V

from:  Venu Gopal Reddy Muvva
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 00:45 IST

Totally agree with the author's view on this fantastic article
highlighting how IPL has waned the level of cricket in India and all
over the world.True, IPL has provided opportunity to so many players
but in which format??T20, when the true cricket is defined by the Test Cricket.All those arguing in the above comment regarding the opportunity being given to many players and the exposure that they are getting in T20 is hardly of any use in the longer format of the game which ultimately is the true essence of cricket.One important point that i would like to add regarding this IPL is the no. of matches.There is also Australia T20 big bash in which there are 8 teams and each team play with each other only once in the league games accounting to total of 7 games by each team in contrast to IPL in which team plays each other twice accounting to total of 16 league games and stretching near to two months which is really disturbing for the many players of international level.All for Money!!

from:  Ankit Trivedi
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 00:29 IST

Guha points out that IPL is the reason behind the humiliation Indian
team experienced at the hand of Bangladesh team. what guha forgets is
that the whole of Bangladesh team attributes their recent spirited
performances to Bangladesh Premier League, an idea certainly inspired
by the success of IPL where they had better experience playing with
international cricketers( even if they are freelancers.. be that as it
may) and that really helped each player immensely. So, there is no way
we can point all the blame towards IPL. Instead let IPL evolve. surely
the flaws are going to be corrected over a period of time

from:  varun b shankar
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 00:29 IST

This is just another way IPL is abused by a person for his benefit.I dont like IPL so I ignore it just like many unpleasant things that happen in India.I totally disagree with Mr.Guha on this writeup.He has been a person who is making money by writing articles on Cricket.Nostalgic pieces cleverly targeted at the elitist population(A corner of a Foreign Field never mentions about Cricket being played in Kerala in 19th century itself as it may not sell books in kerala,though he wrote about other regions,This is just for example)and now he turns against IPL.This is double standard which is so synonymous with the English Writers of Independent India.

from:  Vijesh Balasubramanian
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 23:24 IST

I think tonight's Delhi-Chennai match is an example of creative cronyism. Morne left out of the team and a new local guy playing his first game were certainly creative moves to allow BCCI cronies have a well-designed finals. Enjoyed reading this article.

from:  Swapna
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 23:01 IST

Good article

from:  krishnan
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 22:34 IST

IPL is a toxic mix of sub-standard cheap cricket, bollywood, media,
politics and corporate. The Government of India requires IPL, Bollywood,
Big-Boss, some ekta kapoor's serials and I forgot Times of India to
divert people from its failures on all important fronts.

from:  prasbad
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 22:31 IST

The CONTROL in the BCCI (Booard of Cricket CONTROL in India) needs to be
investigated and it needs to be legally challenged through law in the
court. Only constitutionally setup institutions should use CONTROL word
(like Centers for Disease CONTROL and Prevention).The word CONTROL
itself is colonial and no surprise IPL was just a final goal of this
colonial CONTROL game. Funny thing is BCCI gets tax benefits to CONTOL
the game. Could anyone explain me why there has to a CONTROL set up for
game like cricket?

from:  prasbad
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 22:27 IST

IPL is both boon and curse , its a boon because of experience it
provides to lesser known domestic players but at the same time its a
curse when national duties are not preferred over IPL like just after
world cup by BCCI and by few players of different countries. So it
becomes pure capitalistic in nature when its main aim becomes
commercial benefits to individual franchise rather than benefit to
Indian cricket.
Mr. Guha has made some really good points here and article seems
almost true. Transparency is what is required , BCCI must be forced to
come under RTI for this any how.

from:  Alok
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 22:28 IST

Good writing Mr. Guha. I am waiting for the BCCI/IPL response, at the very least a
ban from Chinnaswamy stadium or from KSCA itself. Unfortunately, I cant expect
anything better from the custodians of cricket!

from:  Joseph George
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 22:20 IST

Out of all the points Mr.Guha raises against the IPL, I find the charge of "crony" capitalism the most convincing and serious. Crony capitalism appears like proper capitalism but is in fact a game that is rigged from the start to favour certain players. The best analogy is, in fact, match-fixing in cricket, where the outcomes are pre-determined and winners are fixed. This makes capitalism an unequal game, one in which the disadvantaged can never hope to participate on even terms with the priveleged. It becomes a game in which who you know starts to matter more than what you know. It destroys the entire ethos of capitalism and destroys the promise of democracy in the process.
The moral conclusion is inevitable - a league that been rigged from its inception, the entire setup created fraudulently, behind closed-doors, without a shred of ethics or credibility and honesty, should not be supported by thinking and moral Indians - boycott the event.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 19:39 IST

IPL shame has reached its peak thanks to the happenings in the past few weeks.First its murky deealings of match-fixing secondly the scene of SHAME in the Wankhade Stadium at Mumbai involving Sharukh and securities.THirdly the Luke affair in which the RCB man tried to behave badly with a woman in a hotel.The reason for ALL this is perhaps due to MONEY and Money only and the gentle mans GAME takes a backseat totally.One is compelled to recollect the plight of Indian greats who played for the NATION with small reeturns!
Polly Umrigar was one of the towering personalities of Indian Cricket of the past. One of the finest strokemakers Umrigar was our India's Sachin Tendulkar
of yesteryears.Whwn he gets out the former test commentator Vizzy used to cry over the radio.On one of the occasions when India lost 5 wickets for a paltry
50 runs against the West Indies at Calcutta when Umrigar got out Vizzy termed
it as 'vinachakala vibaritha buddhi' meaning in bad times you lose your brains!

from:  AAKASH AKHLESH
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 19:30 IST

Sri Ramachandra GUha has penned a very powerful article in the HINDU centrespread on the 25th MAY and any knowledgable Cricket fan will agree with every syllabal of what he has written and exposed IPL!
IPL matches are the topic and event currently and MANY cricket fans are spending time very joyously and we see a lot of fans are glued to TV almost for 4 hours on a daily basis and 8hours on weekends.Is this kind of too much of Cricket good for us?NO is the answer and it affects both the player and the viewer equally.Further it makes many lazy sitting in a place for a long times.School and College students are diverted very badly.Further Only the game cricket gets such a focus and no other game.For that matter Hockey which is our so-called national game gets only the back seat.Other games like Football and Tennis have now hidden and blocked out fully.TOO much of cricket will SPOIL the future of the game of cricket. Further it is the exam time for number of students and such

from:  VENU
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 19:24 IST

I am at a loss to understand Mr.Guha's angst over what is essentially
a "tamasha". Every one agrees that T20 is to cricket as texting
language is to Shakespeare. Its a form of entertainment full of
colour, razzmataz and girls, period. Its purely incidental that it is
played using cricket equipment and by cricket players. I do not grudge
the audience the entertainment nor the players the oodles of money
that T20 brings to them. It did not take T20 to bring monetary
manipulations and wagering to Capitalism. They are intrinsic to the
latter which is about taking risks (a form of wager) and making insane
amounts of money.Above all, it is about giving everyone a chance which
is absent in any form of state controlled or guided economic
endeavour. The basic belief in economic capitalism if that if the
people have to live with the consequences of the choices they make,
they should also have the right to make those choices. I would say
switch off the TV if you dont like T20.

from:  Muralita
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 19:02 IST

I dislike IPL for a few things:-
(a) The whole thing is about money and much less about cricket. The
owners, players, advertisers, sponsors etc are in only for money.
(b) IPL make demons out of batsmen and pitches are made to assist
them. I hardly see a good battle between bat and ball.
(c) It is bad for Indian Cricket (except the fact that it seems to
have raised fielding standards) since it seems to be more remunerative
to play the league and the essential rest for players during the peak
summer months are foregone.
(d) It degenerates serious sport to crass entertainment.

But then I guess IPL is here to stay since everyone is making money
out of it, the least that can be done is to reduce the duration of the
tournament to may be 2-3 weeks.

from:  Anoop
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 18:37 IST

Good article as always by Mr Guha. I agree to almost all of the
arguments against the IPL laid down here. But I would not say that we
should scrap the tournament altogether. There are many good things about
EPL that IPL should learn from like transparency, focus on the game and
not on glamour and managing it in such a way that it ultimately doesnt
come in the way of Indian national team's success in tests and ODIs both
at home and abroad.

from:  Alok
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 18:16 IST

Author's first and foremost reason to hate IPL seems to be the T20
format of the IPL. Well then, I think that T20 format is not at all bad for the cricket. It's just a totally differnt platform were every individual shows his mettle. In fact ,I think that we are able to see more versatility in players which we didn't see earlier. One such example is the great Sachin Tendulkar. Comparing T20 format with test and ODIs is not a good idea at all. Also, IPL gives exposure to many new promising cricketers. I don't know whether the author has a problem with that too!

from:  Kshitij Sharma
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 18:11 IST

This is another way to see "I-DON'T-LIKE-THE-20/20-GAME-FORMAT". The author certainly has utilized his part of 'freedom-of-speech' to describe the (no)pros and (only)cons about IPL. The big question is "Is it the 20-20 game format, he is talking about or is it the IPL" (I'm confused). Whatever it is, the author has certainly impressed me. There was, there are and there will be numerous arguments about other games/sports (in India)getting overshadowed by the colors of cricket, its fans and it-being-a-religion. But tell me, who are we blaming??? Its we and we all developed this love for cricket. There was/is no individual to point that "He is the one to blame for making cricket a big game in India". If we all are loving it....let's continue loving it. Why do 'you' think, had it been football or basketball (and not cricket, in India), then probably the argument(s) would have been lesser??????

from:  Aditya K. Sahu
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 18:08 IST

In other words you don't like it. It doesn't matter why don't like it.
People like it. If you have problem with format that is a different
issue. yes it hides lot of weaknesses of batsman. But it is played by
international teams as well. It affects Indian cricket somewhat.
Everyone agrees. But it should not be hated because it doesn't cater
to large audiences. First who will buy teams for every single state.
It is hard enough to put together a decent 11 for world T20. You want
more teams? Instead of watching pointless television serials that run
24/7 you could rather watch this.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 18:07 IST

What is wrong in plying your trade for the company which pays you more? Sunil Narine has not been offered a contract. Pollard is not a test match player. Chris Gayle is not in the team. Why cant they play in the IPL?

from:  Siva Bhaskaran
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:59 IST

The Hindu is highlighting the ills that has spoiled the dignity of cricket as a sport by the advant of the IPL.Was this multibillion dollar extravaganza intiated for the love of cricket? It's 5 years operation confirms, NO.The IPL was started for the love of wealth by the rich and powerful .The involvement of the Bollywood,shaddy deal in auction,skimmed clad cheer girls were designed to lure audience,enhance revenue by all means,in particular with TV rights.Therefore,Mr Guha is perfectly justified in calling it a vulgar disposition of 'crony' capitalism.The IPL is a bye product of the 'free market order'(Privatization, Liberalization, Globalization),introduced in 1991.The IPL ,like cricket (BCCI) in India, is under political patronage.Extensive corruption in the top echelons of political,bureaucratic,judicial and military establishments are proliferating economic "cannibalism" in India.Therefore, will the IPL be scrapped,it is doubtful.This is a tragedy for the cricket and for India.

from:  Prof A N Malviya
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:51 IST

Guha's sweeping comments smack of public display of personal likes and dislikes,not a dispassionate assessment.Why grudge the public,irrespective of categories such as affluent,urban middle class and the rest of India, their moments of pleasure on grounds that IPL is bad for Guha, Indian Capitalism,Indian Democracy and Indian cricket,in which the last three are capable of withstanding the pressures of IPL except Guha himself.Cronyism is a fact of life in all 'isms' and Indian capitalism is no exception.Guha decries that four important states have been left out of the franchise system.IPL will lose its appeal if more teams and more matches are allowed.The ninth team itself was admitted after much hesitation and a tenth team was thrown out.I can,however,agree with Guha on the vital point that IPL contributed to the disastrous tour of the Indian team to England and Australia soon after the World Cup.

from:  Chidambaram Kudiarasu
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:46 IST

Agree with Shaun Warren

from:  Jayesh
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:45 IST

As I understand, Mr Guha's article has given an IPL as an example of the present direction of the 'liberated economy' in India. Apart from this, IPL has certainly had a negative effect on the Indian cricket team in the latter half of 2011. A good liberated economy should generate jobs, reward the talented and at the same time make us a more humane society. Mr Guha has certainly pinpointed the three major examples which show that we have to take corrective actions NOW. We have seen how the 'license & permit Raj' shackled us for more than 50 years. Let us not shoot the messenger for the message.

from:  Raman
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:43 IST

Good comment from Mr.Ramachandra Guha. Most of friends commenting that IPL pays the good way for the young Indians. That is not real scenario here. May be the IPL might have started with the sake of motivating and encouraging the young youths. But when we see the IPL team, the team consist of 4 foreign players, 4 Indian International player. Obviously the team giving the remainaing chance to 3 local players. As the Mr.Guha suggests, the IPL is only for the richest states.

from:  Siva
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:38 IST

This article is childish and smacks of ignorance and arrogance.
Democracy is exactly how the IPL is, messy, loud and exciting.
Anybody who can play a bit, can get a chance! Quite unlike the Indian
"national team", in fact, where the same players play match after
match despite repeated failures, there is no plan for grooming new players that is worth the name, there is zero accountability on the part of the players or the board... and if you have been to the stadium to watch a test match, you would know how abysmal the facilities are. Facilities during an IPL match are princely by comparison. Why? Because it is run by private parties, not by a govt body that could care less about the comforts of the poor spectator. If after 60 years of independence our "regular" cricket is so bad in every way - the players, the grounds, the selections, and more; then I find it churlish to criticise the 5 year old IPL that is privately run and must make money and thus be accountable.

from:  Prasad Iyer
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:37 IST

I 100% agree with Shreya. IPL has led to improved sports infrastructure. It has led to a powershift in cricket towards India, which is a good thing. The crowds, housefull stadia, cannot be stage-managed. Its a reality. IPL is a phenomenal success and this success needs to be studied to be replicated in other sectors. It is Mr Guha's views which are elitist, not IPL.

from:  Dilip
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:29 IST

There are several other more justifiable criticisms of IPL which you have glossed over. The rise of cringeworthy bowlers such as R Vinay Kumar, The eye watering scope for corruption which no one talks about, The fact that VJM has the resources to be the sugardaddy for an IPL team while his flying business fails miserably. The abject lack of professional management (KKR being a good exception) which exists in other sports An employment opportunity for Ravi Shastri etc etc..

from:  Arjun
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:19 IST


1) Disliking owners need not prevent one from enjoying the game on restful evenings at home. People who had a hard day at the office are also human (with or without a drink by them). 2) With any change there will be a reaction against it. Till last year I felt that 20-20 is the death of cricket. Now i see it as a different genre of cricket. 3) Crony capitalism is all bad. Till we can move against it legally, let us enjoy its fruit, the IPL. No point joining the Maoists. 4) All right We lost 4-0 after playing too much cricket and the wrong kind. What happens when IPL becomes the right type of cricket and the other ones obsolete? 5) I like it when a Rahane scores well when some of the icons keep getting out early. Who would have known Chandila if not for IPL. 6)I come from UP. We are supporting Chennai tonight against Delhi. No regional reason for that. 7)to know that IPL has shifted the balance of power in world cricket away from the white countries to India.

from:  Paritosh
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:16 IST

I have been a big fan of your books, Mr. Guha, but this article is downright disappointing.
You set the tone for the disappointment with that 'Names' bit. Yes, aristocracy has been done away with and rightly so, but the use of the words 'Kings' and other such strikes an emotional chord with the people. Royalty and luxury is something people aspire for, even today. If you are suggesting that the name of our teams be more 'in touch' with our times, our teams would be known as the Mumbai Businessmen, Delhi Bureaucrats etc. Who'd watch this game then?
Secondly, IPL is exclusive? Really? Where i live, in Pune, people still queue outside restaurants and TV shops to catch a glimpse of the flashbang entertainment on display. Try telling them IPL is elitist. IPL if anything appeals to the baser need of humans to see stars being brought down to earth by the 'Gaylestorms'. A schadenfreude which is sadly very universal.

from:  Arjun
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:14 IST

Wow, what an article! Every statement has so much truth in it -- this article can be saved for posterity and can be referred to whenever anyone wants to analyze the malaises in cricket especially due to IPL. As a great saint had said, let it go so low that after a point it has no option but to come up -- let the IPL take cricket down to the dumps if it already has not, then this article can be used as a guide to create a protocol to rectify it!
But a possible immediate solution could be to make it mandatory for top national players to take rest after a tiresome international series so that they will play to their full potential and for ICC to make it mandatory that non-Indian players must play for their respective national teams if there is an international series going on.
But the big question is will this thing be allowed by those who make money out of it -- the team owners and the TV/Internet/Media broadcasters? The game needs to be reclaimed from the sharks -- the effort has to begin and must be sustained till things fall back into proper order.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:09 IST

I would agree that the corruption that happened in the allocation of franchises, the India TV sting, the Lalit Modi saga do represent the darker side of IPL. But that is neither the cricketer's nor the fan's fault. Despite all the unacceptable approaches the organizers took in setting up the tournament, the fan still gets amazing cricket and the I'm sure the cricketer gets great joy in playing a new format to packed stadiums in high-skill requirements. Just clean up the mess that the organizers have created and believe me this is really a great format to play cricket in. ODIs were presumed to rob the game of its aestheticism too when they were introduced. The purists gradually accepted it and now it is as much 'cricket' as test cricket is. For all the love we have for test cricket, this format brings in a new dimension of cricket with it. If at all anything is wrong, it is with the BCCI which hasn't been able to control the corruption in it. Cricket is still beautiful in IPL.

from:  Rameez Raza
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 17:01 IST

If one doesn't want to watch 20-20 it is his/her prerogative. But one should not call it as less aesthetic. Who decides what is aesthetic? Request Ramachandra Guha to write books like Mahabharata and Ramayana. Why does he write smaller tomes? Now, I am not trying to belittle the great author, just trying to say each one has its place. A few lines of poem is also great entertainer and educator as is Mahabharata and Ram Guha's books. Similarly, Test is a classic and 20-20 has its place as well. I would say, anything that elicits human emotions (without having one lose his/her mind) is good.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 16:42 IST

Guha has fit a theory into a series of recent events. There was nothing 100% pious in the first wave of liberalization and there is nothing completely sinful in the second. Both have had episodes of productive and unproductive, corrupt and clean business. IPL is watched by millions and the changed tone and tenor is reflective of the India we live in now (good or bad is for time to decide). Where I agree with Guha is on lack of transparency in IPL, conflict of interest and over-loading of cricketers.

from:  Alankar
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 16:40 IST

Yes, agreed the Standard of the INDIAN cricket has slumped to a great
extent & as rightly pointed out the Indian cricket team being white-
washed in series after series just which began after the World-cup.
Also looking at IPL from this perspective wherein young talent gets a
good-platform to showcase their performance & to bring it out in open
is a good aspect of IPL. But the stark flip-side to it being some of
the new players recently were caught under a sting operation conducted
by the media.. its a shame. Yes truly said that the IPL is driving
crowd in the metropolitian cities & the poor slum dwellers just a few
miles away from the city is least bothered about IPL & most bothered
when the whole of the Team INDIA is playing against some other country.
what i strongly feel is that some part of the money which is spent on
marketing & broadcasting must be used for the good of this Indian slum
dweller who just resides in the outskirts of the city where IPL is
being played.

from:  Kunal...
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 16:38 IST

Indian players getting more money than foreign players is simply the outcome of supply and demand; a true essence of capitalism and economics. Who are you to say people like me go to stadium not to watch sachin bat, but to be in a company of someone like Neeta or Mallya? This is a baseless statement. If you remove cricket from IPL, it will not survive even for a minute. IPL is a derivative with cricket as the underlying asset. Why no teams from Bihar? The answer to this question is the same as the answer to the question 'Why no big multinational companies are based in Bihar?'. Again, a true essence of basic economics that capitalism can bring.
Not liking T20 due to asthetic reasons is the author's personal opinion, which i completely respect.

from:  gopal
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 16:25 IST

Well articulated article on some of the negative effects of IPL.
Cricket being tagged as "The Opium of the masses" by Mr Katju, this not-so-clearly-labelled-sport-or-entertainment is causing a huge drain on Power consumption of the country. With more than 8-10 hrs of powercut in rural places in Tamil Nadu, watching IPL matched everyday till midnight is causing additional strain on our natural resources.
Recently I saw a Photostudio unable to perform any productive work for the entire daylight and people around them are not even realising it and watching IPL during evenings. This very same issue was raised by P. Sainath in 2010 (Refer to The Hindu article - How to feed your billionaires)

from:  Manuel David
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 16:00 IST

Brilliant article. I hope the author, whose views I respect a lot, takes
up the issue of BCCI ignoring Kapil Dev at the recent cash awards
ceremony. It is like a company not paying dividend to a shareholder who
disagrees with the board of directors. I am surprised that no other
cricketeer thought it fit to highlight this.

from:  jai
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 15:55 IST

It is hard to understand why Mr.Guha holds a grudge against a
tournament which helps obscure cricketers,who go through the hard
grind of the domestic tournaments without being recognised, earn a little more money & in the process help them chart their course to the
national team.Yes, the IPL might not be the paragon of probity.But
that should not be the reason to run it down.After all, how many
institutions in our country are untainted? Even hallowed institutions
like the army have not been spared. The IPL will never be able to hold
a candle to test cricket.It never pretends to. It prides itself on
being an unabashed commercial venture whose only objective is
entertainment.Why does everything have to be "inclusive" ? If you go
by the same yardstick, cricket itself is not the "aam aadmi's"
game.How many people can afford to buy a cricket kit? Disappointing to
see Mr.Guha make a mountain out of a nothing.

from:  Satish Viswanathan
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 15:21 IST

Very Good Article, points are very well put. IPL is ignoring some dodgy practices like you mentioned above. BCCI should clear this out..and should restructure how players should get paid. I am not objecting on the players salaries. Let them earn heavily but there should be some clarity in it....
However I don't think IPL is hurting Indian Cricket that bad... Infact it has helped Indian cricket more than anything else. and to be honest, you should go and watch one match at least and then you would understand it is cricket after all. If batsman require some skill to judge the line of the ball and leave perfectly, then he also requires some skill to hit the ball with no extra time to settle. It is skill after all. Same with blowers, If it is hard to maintain the correct line and length for prolonged period. it is also hard to bowl yorkers after yorkers after yorkers.
just for the cricketing skills, you should watch it and you will be astonished that How hard Gayle can hit the ball....

from:  Abhijit
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 15:18 IST

Thanks for putting up the issue. I think while the concept of IPL is good, there some things that darken those good things. You're quite right when you say "To put it bluntly, their silence on this (and some other matters) has been bought." They've bought the whistle-blowers and we don't often get to hear the unbiased opinion of the game. Otherwise for every other sundry thing, these 'experts' offer their (unsolicited?) opinion.
On brighter side, it has increased influx of money in the system and provided a platform for many aspiring and worthy domestic level players which otherwise, they wouldn't have got in this birth.
In nutshell, if managed properly, avoiding 'conflict of interests', IPL has potential to be better aesthetically and otherwise.

from:  Nilesh
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 15:16 IST

thought provoking. It's not cricket matches but mess of cricket and leisure blind captitalist class. Very difficult transition in the history of the game.

from:  aicheng
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 15:06 IST

I have read India after Gandhi and the book on essays that you had written so well. It however pains me to see the kind of adverse reactions that have been given to the concept of IPL. To call it elitist and far from reality is I think to a large extent unfair.
I remember a friend of mine who played division cricket starting from when he was 10 right upto when he was 23 and inspite of being talented, he ended up only in the 1st Division, the reason stemming from the fact that there is place for only 16 at the national level. Thus he gave up his dream to play cricket for India due to disillusionment. The fact that the IPL has a pan India presence is a boon and opportunity for these strugglers.
On your take on how the poorer states have been left out of the IPL, I believe it is a figment of narrow socialist thinking. Rajasthan, a BIMARU state has an IPL team. Dont know what you think about that.
And lastly the point on Indian losses away due to fatigue in IPL does not hold water

from:  Pranav Pethe
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 15:00 IST

For me the major put off was that the IPL was played in South Africa, can you ever imagine the football leagues of England playing in some other country. There was not one player who said he would not play in SA. Everyone is in it for money.... thats fine... but when you take my country's money out I have an issue with that. Imagine the amount of business that was taken away from the local vendors and given out.

from:  Archaana
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 14:55 IST

"My original reasons for boycotting the Indian Premier League were aesthetic. 20-20 lacks the subtlety of the longer form;"
Nothing smacks of absolute elitism than that comment. A rich man scoffing at us common folk wanting to enjoy a game of of T20 cricket. Wake up, Sir. It is just a game. Don't put Cricket(or cricket?) on such a pedestal that we confuse it with life. Coming to the cricket part of it. Why should India care if the West Indies cannot sort its problems? India did not advise them to go align themselves with a ponzi-schemer like Stanford. If anything India probably is the brightest spot in their scheme of things having hosted and toured them in one year. And what right do we all have to preach to Narine or Gayle what cricket they ought to play? Will we even bat an eyelid if they end up like Patrick Patterson?
Cricket's biggest threat is not from leagues or formats. It is this superiority complex which is stoked by the self-appointed Guardians of the game!

from:  P Satish
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 14:37 IST

Wow! so many comments, and more to come!
I stay in Pune and completely agree with this reading given by the author:
""Some watch the matches at home, over a drink and after a hard day at the office; others go to the stadium, seeking vicariously to soak in the glamour of those even richer than themselves. That is to say, they go not so much to see Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar bat, but to be in the same privileged space as the Nita Ambanis and the Shah Rukh Khans, this fleeting proximity reassurance that they too are within that part of India which is Shining as well as Winning.""
Well, personally, I fall into the first category ie relax with a drink and watch the game!

from:  Prinit
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 14:32 IST

Orissa,MP and Bihar doesn't get a team because they don't have the infrastructure. Also you can't fill the stadium up with crowds if you have 8-10 matches in 50 days. Its common business sense. Jaipur was not supposed to get a team, it was just Lalit Modi who did it. Ahmedabad deserved a team.

from:  Akhil Agrawal
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 14:25 IST

We saw the same reaction when the Cricket loving nations started moving from the 4 day format to the 1 day format. Today the 1 day format has become "conventional cricket". So get over it, the "uber intellectual ramchandra Guha's" of the world, and just enjoy a sport, not worrying too much about classical finesse or its effect on poverty and capitalism in the country.

I guess for the author, its ok if Sahara sponsors the Indian team, but not ok if they sponser Pune.

Gosh, the holes in this article are too may... I need to stop and do something better... go and watch the IPL

from:  Whoever
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 14:08 IST

As the IPL itself displays, the biggest reason why Indian team lost was
the selection. Most of the players who are giving top performance in IPL
were not a part of the national team. It shows glaring deficiency and
lack of application of mind in the selection procedure in a way Ranji
trophy never did. IPL shows that sports in India can be a means of
livelihood (for the players, for the support staff, organisers and
media).

from:  Maneesh
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 14:02 IST

I agree with Shreya's comment. Guha has got it all mixed up. Yes, BCCI is an opaque organisation; yes, T-20 is not classical cricket but these are not enough reasons to deride the concept of IPL itself, which is a creature of its times. Yes, IPL has a seedy underbelly with its own scandals, but is there one institution in India today that is clean? If there is no IPL team from UP or Bihar (why has he left out the north-eastern states, aren't they part of INdia too?), its because there is no market there. How many players can he count in the Indian team from these States? Surely, the Indian cricket team is not elitist?
Guha's article is another example of the reverse snobbery that has now come to characterise our intellectual elite. And I cannot understand how IPL is bad for our democracy. IPL is just entertainment, like Bollywood. You can take it seriously only at your own peril.

from:  Jay
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:35 IST

Whatever u say mr guha, the people who likes ipl ,outnumber the people who dont. So ,
talking about democracy, the votes are in favour of ipl. Enough said.

from:  Anand
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:35 IST

Mr. Guha,
Yours truly has never watched any IPL for similar reasons and you have
articulated in a manner such that I could never have.
Alas, we are in a tiny minority and the Juggernaut will roll on ..
Thanks.

from:  Veera
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:32 IST

There is no interest in non-metro part of India regarding IPL!!!!!!!!!!

Himachal is small state and dhramshala is small town , but I tell you there was a terrible interest for two matches played over there.

from:  satty
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:28 IST

I feel that IPL is both a boon and a curse.Boon in the sense that it has given opportunity to many a young players to earn money which they couldn't have earned without getting entry into the national side which,we know, is very tough and a lot depends upon the luck.It has given them the exposure and opportunity to showcase their talent to the world and subsequently get entry into the national side.players like rahul sharma,rahane etc are prime examples of players who got recognized through IPL.IPL has done wonders in their lives in more than one ways but IPL has been full of controversies which disturb cricket fans a lot.
Corruption is prevalent in IPL.Be it lalit modi contoversy or the recent controversy of IPL players involved in fixing,it has done harm to the game and has disheratened the followers.It seems that everybody is chasing money-cricket is just a medium to attain that.IPL should be free from such cheap things..

from:  himanshu khandelwal
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:22 IST

Spot on piece. The problem with the IPL is the BCCI. The premise of an Indian T20 league is not a bad one and why shouldnt the players be rewarded with a large payday every year.
The problem is the way the IPL is run and the way the BCCI is now prioritising the IPL ahead of Team India and the world game.
The BCCI are well aware of the impact IPL has on West Indies Cricket, yet they make little attempt to resolve the issues. In simple terms they should tell Chris Gayle his responsibility lies with West Indies cricket and not pick him.
Team India players should be rested if required during the IPL - if necessary. Last year was a prime example of the IPL damaging team India. Sehwag and Ghambir played with injuries during the IPL and then missed most of the England tour.

As a fan the most disappointing aspect of the IPL is that fundamentally the players are there for the money. Would any Internantional player turn up for free or a small fee........NO! Game over

from:  Ramski
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:16 IST

I disagree with Mr.guha.. Today d world is fast n No 1 has the time n patience to watch a 50 over match... also wat sells in todays world is masala whether it is a bollywood song/movie or cricket n i guess d IPL guys have understood this thoroughly..all I know as a common man is ipl is entertaining n thats all wat matters

from:  BHAVESH SHAH
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:15 IST

IPL initially came up with a nice idea of bringing Indian and foreign
cricketers together. This was visible till the second season. However
now the entire format alongwith the game has changed. Its is more about
grabbing TRP'S

from:  Sandra
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:12 IST

I agree with Mr Guha and Mr Shaun Warren. I think the IPL embodies what is wrong with our society at present - brash behaviour, the disappearance of class & good taste and worship of money at any cost by banishing all values to the dungeons.

from:  dhananjay chitnis
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:11 IST

The piece of writing seems to be very confusing and shows more of discomfort of its author towards the fast moving game format of Cricket.

The author, though highlights ownership of the BCCI president and the conflict of interest therein, he forgets to mention that IPL Commissioner is a respectful (?) Minister of Congress Union Government... I personally believe that if conflict of interest can play any role, then for sure the involvement of senior politicians from the ruling party may make much more questions raised!

Thank God, the author did not obliged CSK winning the last 2 tournaments as some sort of 'fixing'!!

The author highlights non inclusion of few states because of some 'self interest' engrossed reasons... Alas, he shud have done more study... Last year Orissa had its own set of Orissa Premier League OPL... And was witnessed with full packed houses!! I remember their was some muck doing around soon after, like IPL, though the news died down soon.

As far as non inclusion of West Indies players, as per media reports, the named players were keen to play for the country... but were not included in their national side!

We always talk about 21st century, fast moving cars, hi-tech movies and gadgets, 4G mobile services..... And many more such FAST services/products... Then, what is wrong with such 20-20 matches? They are shorter versions and are enjoyed by one and all..

As far as corruption is concerned, please, those who find IPL to be the 'blot'... Please have the records and facts checked properly... If these matches may be fixed, so may any other version and game... If this tourny promotes corruption, their are much bigger and much more serious and heinous corruption scandals which are affecting our daily lives... Unlike IPL.. Which is a source of entertainment like a 3 hour odd 'thriller' movie!!

Why not talk about a strong Lokpal, a more efficient Judicial system, Police reforms, and many other such issues, scams and ineffective government decisions, which affect our daily lives, friends!!

And just enjoy WATCHING the game... If any muck, let the authorities remove them!!

from:  gagan sethi
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 13:06 IST

Excellent piece. That's what I call "Naked truth"

from:  Ranjith Palakkad
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 12:56 IST

There should be absolutely no place for ism and sch-isms in sports.
Sports through the ages has been a shining light of human effort,
dedication,camaraderie, joy, despair, drama and desire.
Sports is about respecting your team-mate or opponent and knowing that
the other person on the field is just as determined as you are.
Please stop intellectualizing sports!!!
There is no other joy in the world than running after a round object,
it does not need rhyme, reason, time of day etc...
Stop bringing textbooks to the sports field

from:  Sukrit
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 12:49 IST

My problem is not with crony capitalism as plutocracy a dervative of cronyism cannot be stopped. What most worries me and the aothor has missed out is casino capitalism.We cannot leave everything for market to decide based on self interest. Imagine someone earning USD2mn dollars in just 4 weeks. How can we earn this in any profession but IPL. When more than 25% leave under the pverty line a cricketer ( most of them today are not educated) earn walloping amounts. Dhoni annual income exceeds 200 crores. this mjust stop. The better way to tackle this to cap peoples annual earnings which shud remain constant for all citizens. Any amount excess of the amount shud be invested for productive purposes that can create value. Value for IPL is created by ordinary people watching it as technology makes it cheaper in reach. Govt intervention is required and for that we (globally) shud change the current economic model of capitalism skewed towards self interest. Shared capitalism model is needed

from:  JP Nambiar
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 12:43 IST

We are living in fate of an ambivalent future of the economy. I think
government invitation of austerity measure is fallacy, If it is not
then whom else government was asking for austerity measure? I
earnestly ask to BCCI: What else they are doing after grabbing the
money from the sponsors & hoi polloi? Is it ever spent on public
welfare or countries growth barring IPL glamour? I am not against the
IPL or against the future of emerging javelin cricketers, but just
tell me, based on IPL performance how many young cricketers made it to
Indian team, perhaps No one or even one. It's a shame for selectors
and BCCI. Cricket is game of dignity, however, I would contemplate the
story and found that the subvert politicians and BBCI made a dubious
future of cricket. Cricketers are playing for money or for the country
the question left unanswered. I urge not the make the people wacky
and stop the non-sense of IPL glamour and let the capitalist/film
stars stay away from it.

from:  Prasannajeet Mohanty
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 12:40 IST

IPL clubs what are they doing for the place, they have just named their CLUBS against big cities and what, they dont nurture young talents, they don't have any obligations towards that place. They just collect their BIG FAT bucks and go away with it and after every season to see how much they have made profit.
Malinga just because he is playing in IPL denies to play for country
and IPL fans are cheering for that, what if it is same case with some INDIAN players! One thing is that it is very bad OMEN for other sports, even killing! Seems like INDIAN sports is converging!

from:  renangso
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 12:37 IST

ipl itself is not bad. it gives money and enjoyment and oppurtunity to young players.we have to make it succeess

from:  R.Srinivasan
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 12:34 IST

Accountablity in BCCI is great concern but however it is better then other sports control body in india, with this reason every young man who want to go in sports field , want to choose cricket as game not others. On the views of Mr. Guha I am totally agree with Shreya.

from:  khemu
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 12:24 IST

Like Mr. Nirmal Sekhar says, cut calling it cricket and label it entertainment with a pre-decided script like World Wrestling Entertainment, etc, in case that is not already the case!

from:  Rajeev
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 12:02 IST

If young cricketers today make exorbitant money, so do some of the
corporate young entrepreneurs through huge valuation game and elusive
exits deserting many other stakeholders' interests.
Where there is plentiful money, there are more people and by default and
design we see politics, corruption, greed and unethical practices - not
just in sports, we see it in every organisation - corporate, religious
organisation, political parties, regulatory authorities, educational
institutions.

from:  P C Bala
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 11:52 IST

I agree to your point that the indian players are being fatigued due to
playing in IPL and are not able to provide they best services to the
country.But the rest of it is nonsense

from:  sudheer
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 11:49 IST

Whether we like it or not, T20 matches are drawing huge crowds, as they are quick, result oriented and exiting. They conveniently timed to watch. The connoiseurs can still identify a shot or two. They can still exclaim an express delivery that misses the edge of the bat by a whisker. Let us accept this form as an enjoyable offfshoot of the conventional form.

from:  R Narayanan
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 11:45 IST

A good note from Mr Guha and I agree and disagree in parts. The game
is changing and this change is bringing crowd back to the stadium,
else, even a best in class test match looks deserted and looks more like a street cricket played by professionals as the match is watched by a very few. Today, people don't have time and inclination to watch test matches and run of the mill one day matches, hence 20-20 is here to stay. If you ask me if there is so much of corruption, nepotism, conflict of interests, it is a big YES. This is to be FIXED ( positive ref ) by the policy makers and regulators. The game has succeeded and would succeed as it has brought new talent, it is a new format that the crowd enjoys, it has become a family outing rather than just men flocking the stadium and it is a win win for all concerned. Cricket is a sport that entertains the viewers.

from:  P C Bala
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 11:46 IST

Mr. Guha, thank you for a brilliant and timely write up on IPL. There are other things also like IPL which make my heart bleed. Anyway I would have written more but most of my points are covered by what has been written in the comment by Shaun Warren. I agree with it completely. Thanks.

from:  H Madhok
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 11:35 IST

Excellent Article..
Has summed up the IPL perfectly.

from:  Sitaraman V Iyer
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 11:32 IST

Some claims are factually incorrect. IPL TVRs are uniformly high across all SECs. However that is not material to the argument. IPL as a creative thought is at best mediocre. Result of a reaction to ICL which was a blatant copy of Packer's World Series. The bigger issue is that Cricket which is meant to be a competition between bat and ball has been reduced to the massacre of the bowler. Glamorization of any game in itself is not bad. There is enough glamor in EPL. Newspapers such as Sun and NoW filled their columns on the basis of football WAGs. But the game on the pitch is always about footballing skill. I don't get the sense that cricketing skill is in anyway material to IPL. Even when I used to watch test matches in stadia I had all around me people who would ask, 'How did he get out?' as soon as a wicket fell. I have never been to an IPL match but I suspect there are only handful who actually follow the action on the pitch. All eyes are perhaps on the glamor at the fringes?

from:  Manju
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 10:41 IST

Excellent article! The IPL is a mighty curse on cricket and country.
Like Mr. Guha, I too have consistently boycotted this obnoxious distortion of the gentleman's game. I hope many more will join us. I also wish that my favourite Indian cricketer, Rahul Dravid, who has performed well in the IPL, does not associate any more with this form of the game.

from:  Nileen Putatunda
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 10:39 IST

I feel that IPL is both a boon and a curse.Boon in the sense that it has given opportunity to many a young players to earn money which they couldn't have earned without getting entry into the national side which,we know, is very tough and a lot depends upon the luck.It has given them the exposure and opportunity to showcase their talent to the world and subsequently get entry into the national side.players like rahul sharma,rahane etc are prime examples of players who got recognized through IPL.IPL has done wonders in their lives in more than one ways but IPL has been full of controversies which disturb a cricket fan a lot.
Corruption is prevalent in IPL.Be it lalit modi contoversy or the recent controversy of IPL players involved in fixing,it has done harm to the game and has disheratened the followers.It seems that everybody is chasing money-cricket is just a medium to attain that.IPL should be free from such cheap things..

from:  himanshu khandelwal
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 10:35 IST

Well! I agreed that Bihar is not represented in IPL but why did you
forget to mention that the state has not been represented in Indian
national team also (after Saba Karim). India's dismal performance in
England and Australia can't be squarely attributed to IPL because the
history bears the testimony that we have lost in more humiliating way
before IPL era too. They've got to blame someone so the punchbag IPL.
Chris Gayle is debarred from playing his national side for whatever
reason and others have willingly chosen to play IPL. IPL has given
young players a platform for international exposure, why don't you see
that? Aggression and class are two indispensable part of cricket. Test
is classic, one day is semi-classic and IPL is aggression. Lets not
compare IPL with tests or one day matches. Three formats will exist
simultaneously the only pre-condition is don't let the politicians play
plague with cricket. We have got a golden goose instead of killing it
lets nurture it.

from:  Ajeet Tiwari Patna
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 10:07 IST

(i) Famous public schools saw team sports like cricket not just as outdoor play, but as an organised way of teaching English boys, the discipline, the importance of hierarchy, the skills, the codes of honour and the leadership qualities that helped them build and run the British Empire. (ii) Through the game of cricket-the ideal that cricket was played not for victory or profit but for its own sake, in the spirit of fair play, the British imperialists sought to justify their conquests and glorify the self image of English elite as "unselfish acts".

from:  Selva
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 10:03 IST

I agree with Mr. Guha, the standard of Indian cricket has gone down. With the nexus between the corporates, media and the BCCI, our poor performances in England and Australia have been conveniently forgotten. IPL is a league of few selfish rich people who care less about cricket and more about money. They have successfully changed the priorities of the players who represented our national team. The IPL is a remarkable example for crony capitalism, a nexus between the capitalists and the governments (state and central). I wish Mr. Guha writes about the foregone revenue for the government in terms of electricity, security arrangements, tax evasions and exemptions. Probably we need a CAG report on this.

from:  Vamsi Krishna Tumuluru
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 10:01 IST

Sir, with all please respects,please chill down. Without these IPL itself India is in a deteriorating state. I think IPL gives the young cricket players a chance. There are numerous Professional Cricket players in the country. Not all of them have the chance to showcase their talents in the International matches. Let them too have a chance. Please don't make a big deal of this IPL.

from:  aswin
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 09:52 IST

IPL is the born out of the confluence of BCCIs jurisdictional hegemony over cricket with superflous crony capitilism lead by Indias envious enterprenuers who have taken their war to cricket field to the next level.With oomphing passions,crazy emotions and indecent behaviour it has ruin the Indian cricketing culture

from:  Dr Deodatt M Suryawanshi
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 09:51 IST

The author makes repeated references to an elitist society that the IPL is a part of but fails to take note that this entire column is nothing but creative elitism. There is always one underlying communist opposing every new development in society. IPL is exclusive. So what? It is not like the middle and lower sections of society are denied the pleasure of watching cricket altogether. By this logic every expensive restaurant, bar or club must be closed down just because it is not inclusive. The author seems to claim that the IPL goes against democracy. The core idea of a democracy is freedom and this includes freedom to form associations in whatever manner one chooses to as long as they do not violate the rights of any citizen. At the risk of sounding elitist, if a country were to take every one of these pretentious manifestations seriously, I doubt we will have democracy or capitalism around for long.

from:  Shreya
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 09:51 IST

Rightly said - IPL is not broadbased, widely followed and largely inclusive as NBA, NFL, NHL in US or English Football league in UK. This is an elitist version of downsized cricket that caters to the huge appetite both financial and ego of the upper strata.

from:  Ramesh V K
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 09:37 IST

The author doesn't seem to appreciate that IPL is just 5 years old and have brought lots of opportunities for young players all over the country. When other countries can build big basket ball or foot ball leagues which makes tons of money , what is wrong if India does it in cricket?. Surely IPL has its problems. But as it grows I am optimistic it would add more teams from other states , and bring in more professionalism and accountability . As an Indian it is inspiring for me to see our men can build such a big league and dominate the game. So I don't agree with the author and I just think he his still in colonial mindset which doesn't allow Indians to do anything big.

from:  Ramakrishnan
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 09:36 IST

Excellent piece. However, if only there are more T20 leagues - within and outside india - perhaps the players would have more freedom and BCCI and other cricket boards would probably think before being dictatorial.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 09:32 IST

Why lambast IPL or capitalism. All new channels give maximum coverage to IPL. The IPL matches are given coverage as if they are of highest standard. Now World Chess Championship is being played where an Indian Champion is defending his title. There is no coverage of this event in any channel.We have in a society of cheap, tasteless and vulgar persons.

from:  Somnath
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 09:13 IST

I like the author stopped watching IPL for aesthetic reasons. T20 is just hit or miss cricket. I was also disenchanted by IPL's arrogant handling of certain actions like prevention publishing of news in other web sites, preventing taking of photos by journalists. The recent spot fixing scandal is yet another bad name for the big IPL monster.

from:  Anand I
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 08:59 IST

I agree with Shaun Warren.

from:  Manya
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 08:57 IST

Mr.Guha - Your views are valid and spot on. Unfortunately,Indian middle class seems 'Drunk' on false sense of success, and that everything glamorous must be 'Good' and 'Trendy' seems to be the order. They just do not want to pause and think - 'Is this the right way' ? It almost seems that Indian democracy was 'architected' to be 'Crony Capitalist' state, which is the reason that despite so many scams no politician or powerful Industrialist has ever been convicted. It almost seems that the Legal and judicial system are at the mercy of 'Crony Capitalists'. Fear of law seems almost non-existent, specially for the Political & business class. The impunity with which real-estate transactions are conducted, or prime business opportunities are hijacked or large scale evasion of taxes. money laundering or "Hawala" are all evidence of how inept the state and governance machinery is. Can it ever change. The answer is a 'Loud No', and IPL is a good mirror of the system.

from:  Shaun Warren
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 06:20 IST

UP doesn't have a team but players from UP are not barred from joining IPL team. Truth is that UP doesn't necessarily have the market to support an IPL team. This is not called crony capitalism but just a market reality. To begin with, Pune didn't have any IPL team but with young working population it made a perfect market sense to have a Pune based IPL team. Similarly, Kochi based IPL team died a 'natural' death as Kochi doesn't have a market to support an IPL team. I agree that team owner or brand ambassadors shouldn't hold posts of influence in BCCI.

from:  Pratyush Sinha
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 06:11 IST

The IPL by itself is a pretty good idea. It gives a chance for young Indian players to rub shoulders and test their talent against international players. In fact county cricket has availed the services of foreign players for ages. A lot of talented domestic players whose names we might never have heard of, get their place in the sun. But like everything else in India all good ideas fall pray to nepotism and corruption. The real problem with the IPL is not so much T20 cricket or even the format, but the nepotism and corruption within the board. However Indian cricket and indeed Indian sports always suffered from this problem even before. It has just come out into the open now, on a larger more widely publicised scale.

from:  Mahesh
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 05:57 IST

It is not clear to me that Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine have been asked to play for their national team by their board. In fact, I recall that Chris Gayle made it clear he wants to be part of the national team.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: May 25, 2012 at 02:29 IST
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For a victim-centric approach

Closed-door proceedings place an additional responsibility on a judge to ensure that he or she is duty-bound to maintain the delicate balance between the rights of an accused for a fair trial and the rights of a rape victim for protection against the violation of her dignity »