Cricket, primarily the shorter versions, has indeed come a long way since the days of early World Cup matches, especially the most memorable one in which Sunil Gavaskar officially slipped into extreme coma and also drove everyone else into one, but somehow the scorecard showed against his name 36 runs in 60 overs. Some experts, however, argue that ‘36’ may have been the design of the inevitable cobweb formed on the score-sheet. Or some soothsayer was merely pointing out that one day Gavaskar will age above 36.
Gavaskar was later quoted as saying that he wanted to get out, but couldn’t. So, apart from coma, Gavaskar, it seems, had been afflicted with amnesia, too, so much so that he had not only forgotten how to bat but also how not to bat. Suffice to say, if the IPL had been a fixture in Gavaskar’s days, franchises would have pumped in top dollars in the auctions to ensure that the original Little Master did not end up in their team.
Anyway, the two editions of the IPL have conclusively proved that you don’t actually need cricket to pull off a successful cricket tournament. The IPL Season Two was a talking point because of the radical sporting idea called ‘Strategy Break’, where a nicely-poised, exciting match was stopped in its tracks so that the players and spectators could strategise as to which angle is the best to feast their eyes on the cheer-girls.
Now, cheer-girls are another new-fangled addition to the traditional game. The administrators, by the dint of their hard work and innate intelligence, have figured out that when a young batsman uncorks a spectacular six off a robust fast bowler, you, as a seasoned follower of the game, would certainly would be excited and want to see a replay of scantily-clad girls gaily flailing their arms and legs about while clad in dresses not bigger than standard-sized Band-Aid.
When you talk of dresses in the IPL, you can’t help talk about the Chennai Super Kings, the team in the darkest shade of yellow, if it had been any ‘yellower’, theoretically the players would have become invisible under the yellow shower of floodlights. The Chennai team, it is fair to argue, made it to the finals of the first edition of the IPL simply on the basis of the fact they had the most hideous of outfits. Teams facing Chennai Super Kings were lulled into complacency that they were up against members of Tirupathi Devotees Bhajan Mandali. Chennai Super Kings’ think-tank, however, had a valid reason in choosing the ‘yellowest’ jersey for the team: Dark rose, which is even harder on the eyes, was not available for picking.
Oops, sorry for the insensitivity. IPL is actually about sensitivity, especially to superannuated Aussie players. If you straightaway become an Aussie player and straightaway announce retirement, you’re odds on favourite to be picked by an IPL franchise for millions plus dollars. Damien Martyn has been chosen for the Rajasthan Royals based on the truth that Don Bradman, being dead now, cannot be picked in the team. Shilpa Shetty, who is a very keen student of the game, would want him as a pace bowling back-up to Shane Warne.
Now, I don’t want angry readers mailing me mocking letters, pointing out that neither Warne nor Bradman were pace bowlers. Ok, I know they were excellent wicket-keepers who also rolled their arms over. But how do I tell that to Shilpa?
Anyway, the other most well-known person in the IPL who stood out for rolling the arm over is Preity Zinta. Yes, she used to own the team in which Sreesanth used to cry. Now, Preity is said to be out of Kings XI Punjab. If indeed this is true, the IPL has to urgently think up new gigs to keep the kite of novelty flying and in the process make more money, which, in case you missed the story, is the sole purpose of the IPL.
So, here go my suggestions to Lalit Modi. I’m only hoping that Modi doesn’t levy charges on me for giving suggestions to him. For, Modi seems to be that sort of a person who will charge the barber on the irrefutable logic that it is his (Modi) hair that is being collected.
TOSS THE TOSS: The most hyped thing in cricket is, of course, the hype. And then comes the toss, which is importantly an unimportant aspect of the game. But news channels have raised it to the ‘Breaking News’ category. Little wonder that news channels have lost even the little respect that they started with. Of course, this is besides the point. The point is the toss in cricket is vital because people have forgotten the real meaning of ‘vital’.
Anyway, if the toss is indeed so intrinsic to the eventual fortunes in the game, then should there not be a price on it? Yes, it should occur to Modi to auction the toss at the start of every match. It doesn’t matter that the highest bidder may not even be playing in the match. But such minor quibbles shouldn’t be allowed to come in between a wonderful opportunity to make more money. Just imagine the scenario where, in the match between Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians, the Kings XI Punjab wins the auction of the toss. Isn’t that a valid excuse for the IPL administrators to show Preity Zinta on TV?
TAP TENDULKAR: Modi has laid out stringent conditions for the media when it comes to the usage of clippings and photos of IPL matches. Modi just needs to extend this logic further and start charging all the media outlets for mentioning the names of the players. Modi can fix rates for each and every player.
The plan can work wonders if the player is Tendulkar or Shilpa Shetty. But Modi will have his begging bowl unfilled if he tried to hitch his luck on Ajith Agarkar.
FOCUS ON CRICKET ALONE: Ok, forget it. This might be too radical for the IPL. One day, one day, IPL will be ready for cricket. Who knows there may be viewers for that. But till then, it has to be Money, Modi and some Bollywood beaut with money.
Ok cheer-girls, ready?