Originally published in the Mirror Click here
If you want to know the difference between IPL then and IPL now, all you need is to compare pictures of former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi and current IPL Commissioner Rajeev Shukla.
The former commissioner, no Adonis by any stretch of imagination, still had the flair to carry off his expensive suits. The current commissioner looks like someone who has recently shed his safari suit. One ended his sentences with a strange Anglo-American twang, while the other still calls it a ‘toornaamaint’. One looked every bit a 21st century success, the other is a throwback to the Babu era.
Not that the IPL was any better or cleaner then, it just had the look of another example of India Shining, a symbol of a resurgent Indian economy looking the world in the eye and screaming ‘I have arrived’. Today, it’s viewed as yet another Indian establishment ridden with corruption, nepotism and power mongering.
Back then, people wanted two IPLs every year. Today, they ask ‘IPL? Again?’
From being the reason to look forward to the summer, IPL has now become another by-product of it, like heat, power cuts and water problems.
“We have thought of great innovations in this IPL, like having an opening ceremony one day before the start of the toornaamaint,” said Shukla ji at the opening ceremony, staking a claim for Steve Jobs’ spot in the list of world innovators.
“This year IPL will be just as good as the opening ceremony,” Shukla ji said towards the end of his interview.
And, for once, it looks like he’ll be proven right.
With the opening match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, IPL’s 2012 season has taken off exactly where the previous season had ended – a one-sided affair that, by the end of it, was being watched by only those who need to seriously relook at their lives.
The previous day Shukla ji had elaborated on another great innovation this IPL, that of having instructed curators to prepare pitches that ensure at least 160 runs. With leaders like him, Indian cricket is in safe hands.
Wouldn’t instructing each team to allow the other to score 160 runs be simpler, Mr. Shukla? Or, better still, start each inning with a score of 160 already on the board?
What can save IPL?
IPL governors need to realise that film stars cannot save IPL anymore, nor can massive advertising campaigns. Nor can slogans or star player endorsements. Such has been the cricket burnout that even close cricket matches are not going to get people to shut down their lives and log on to IPL for 54 days.
What IPL desperately needs is a controversy, a scandal of earth shattering proportions. Something that involves inter-team espionage, wads of cash, betrayal, and may be even the underworld. Or, a rebellion from within with a few teams threatening to pull out midway through IPL.
If Shukla ji wants his toornaamaint to survive, he should be fervently praying for it.
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