02 June 2008

Bringing Cricket into drawing rooms...

Cricket never appeared as glamorous and exciting as it was during Indian Premier League (IPL) which lasted six weeks. The tournament had everything: action, drama, music and glamor -everything required by a bollywood movie script. It was even called "Cricket-ainment" by some popular electronic and print media. There is no doubt in anyone's mind (either cricket administrators or cricket lovers) that the inaugural event was a big success. IPL has shattered the set beliefs that city based fan following is not going to work in world of cricket. Now, cricket also seems to be on the way of football where, the club based tournaments are hugely popular.

I am a cricket lover and obviously happy if its popularity climbs. Nepal has been an associate member of ICC (International Cricket Council) for many years now; and graph of popularity for cricket seems to be gradually replacing the football in the country, thanks to the successes achieved by Nepalese cricket team during the recent past. Like most of the south Asian countries, bollywood influence are prominent in the drawing rooms of many Nepalese. And with bollywood being directly involved in cricket tournaments like IPL, the popularity of cricket in countries like Nepal and Afghanistan is bound to scale higher.

The T20 concept & Bollywood Mix

(Glamor & Drama: Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan, cheer leaders and the IPL action)

One of the major reasons why cricket could not be a permanent feature in any of the world's leading sporting events like Olympic, is the duration of the game. Even one-day (50 overs a side) games lasts 7 hours as such, people don't have that much of time to spend into cricket for number of reasons. Even die-hard fans started advocating for some sort of reform in structure of cricket. And here came the solution: T20 cricket. It lasts about 3 hours - same to a typical bollywood movie duration. And with the bollywood stars actively involved in the IPL, the enthusiasm of people was at all time high (in regard to cricketing events) as the television viewers crossed 90 millions even before the final match. Its worth mentioning that last cricket World cup was watched on television screens by around 30 million people.The environment during the IPL T20 matches were truly electrifying: best of the players from around the world taking the games dead seriously, music on-air, dancing steps of the cheer leaders, glamorous presence of bollywood stars and a great media hype. One can't ask for more.

IPL's Impact on cricket
Too lightly, events in cricket are often described as historic or epochal; however, the grand success of IPL has made one thing quite clear that cricket will never be the same game as is used to be. With the rising popularity and huge monetary involvement, the aspiring cricketers are bound to take the game a bit too seriously. Many cricket experts acknowledge that the fan following and seriousness will increase in the emerging countries (in cricketing terms) in coming days.

(Winning moments: 'Royals' on the "seventh moon" after victory over 'Super Kings' in final of the IPL; Photo courtesy: BBC News)

There is one more possible impact of the IPL: as players from around the world are playing together for franchises, 'sledging' incidents during toughly contested future matches between different countries might go down. However, there is another angle of this as well: too much friendliness among the players of different countries might reduce the amount of 'passion' involved in the international cricket.

Too much of money & glamor is involved in cricket and the traditional cricket culture is being threatened. Is it good? Is it the worst thing ever? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear that cricket is never the same. and so is the perception of the people: It's now a drawing room thing...

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Mukesh on June 2, 2008 at 7:56 PM said...

As I am also a very Big Cricket Lover...But I found some Good & bad drawbacks of IPL which found more popularity in very short time as little as in 6 weeks.According to duration of the game , Its absolutely perfect game to watch But In the other hand I can say this is not the type of cricket, Anyone can be the best player or worst player within few hours then look at the performance of Sachin,Dravid,Lara,Ponting,Ganguly ..Anyway everyone has their own thought against anything ....But I think its very bad for 50 overs game & test matches. I don't think anyone will like to watch the test game or even the 50 overs ODI from now on....
Relationship between Bollywood stars & players now has been very close but this is also not in the favor of good cricket.game can not be a business of millionaires...

Anyway it was fun to watch!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mukesh,
I agree that IPL or T20 matches can't be substitute of Tests or ODIs; but I am afraid, that's the way cricket is heading...Now we are in an era where market seems to be controlling almost "everything"...lets hope this is not the case with cricket.

indian cricket on November 26, 2008 at 3:52 PM said...

DLF Indian premier league created many records in business point of view. It took the limelight from daily T.V. Serials and shows. Millions of cricket lovers watch matches on television across the world.

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