Wednesday, June 13, 2012

IPL - Lessons this season taught us....

This was a column that never saw the light of day. Puchho kyon? Because the Editor chickened. Said it was way too dicey, since the owner of the publication was also a team owner. So much for freedom of expression. Khair, I had to share the axed column with my beloved Blogdosts. Aap hi bolo - what would you have done in the Ed's place???

Lessons this season of the IPL taught us....

For a cricket-ignoramus like me, the IPL is about entertainment, not cricket.

Several cricket buffs whole- heartedly agree. But refuse to admit it. I feel like saying, “Ït’s okay, darling. It doesn’t make you less of a cricket fanatic to say it. If anything, it will establish your credentials as an asli cricket fan, who loves the game but also enjoys a side-show called the IPL.” Which is why I don’t feel in the least bit embarrassed when I declare unabashedly that I totally loved this sleazy season... and I am ready for more. This was by far the most entertaining IPL to date. And forget all that breast beating about which match was fixed, which wasn’t and who made how much money betting on what. Come on, guys. This is Bharat Desh. And we are discussing commercial cricket. Not gilli-danda. Of course, there’s betting. Of course some naughty cricketers are taking cash for throwing matches. Of course, humungous amounts of money has been made by oily dalals. That’s what makes the IPL so much fun! Which other sport in moralistic India offers such an amazing bouquet of thrills? Where else do you find so much sleaze? Name one national pastime that has as much masala. Why, even all the yearlong shenanigans that take place in Badnaam Bollywood look bhola bhala and innocent in comparison to the high drama of the IPL.

If you ask me, the two heroes of the IPL-5, were Viraat Kohli and Siddhartha Mallya. Viraat came into his own and showed fans what a greenhorn Captain is capable of if entrusted with responsibility. It doesn’t matter that his team didn’t make it to the Finals. By then, Viraat had picked up his own momentum, bagged lucrative endorsements and broken several hearts. He’d also undergone a flattering make over that showed off his better physical attributes, and gave him a new swagger. At 23, Viraat can be forgiven for strutting his stuff on the field and showing off. Give the guy a break. He’s playing good cricket with a straight bat. He is the future Captain of the Indian team. That is, once Captain Cool decides he’s had enough of cricket and joins Bollywood officially.

Siddhartha Mallya may have found himself in a spot of trouble with ‘that’ tweet. But there were several young people who secretely agreed with his views on how a ‘Future Wife’ should behave. Personally, I was vastly amused, and for the longest time my Gmail status read: Are you a Future Wife? I wrote two columns on the subject and received an avalanche of reactions. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the phrase Future Wife’’ sneaks into the popular lexicon soon. I’m seriously thinking of asking Sid Mallya to write a book on the subject. You know why? Because somewhere beneath those jibes and hoots that greeted his tweet, there was a grain of truth buried in there. And”frisky young women( groupies!) who like their drinks and IPL parties, were asking themselves a little worriedly whether or not they would make the cut as Future Wives! So Sid, you really did trigger off something there, even if you don’t know it.

The IPL is about sex, booze, drugs and parties. Why not just say it out loud and be done? So what? If, in between all this off-the-field action, a few decent shots are played ( Dhoni’s magnificent 50), and a few great balls delivered... good for the fans. But we have finally reached that mature stage to boldly acknowledge a couple of home truths. The first one being the IPL has very little to do with the great game of cricket. Once we accept that premise, the rest is easy. Equally, the IPL will attract all types. Women like Zohal Hamid and others with no known antecedents. This is a worldwide phenomenon. Where there are sports stars, there are chicks. Where there is big money, there is betting. Where the stakes are high, there are fights. Deal with it. Grow up! Men will be men... they will fall for ‘honey traps’( don’t you just love that description?). Ladies with a penchant for jocks and instant publicity will cash in on opportunity. Some bad eggs will be caught on camera fixing a match. Some will be caught with their pants down. Others will blow a fuse and hurl filthy abuses at officials. Hota hai. But that’s exactly what makes the IPL format so irresistible. Imagine if all those good looking players ( some with great butts), were to be good little boys, retiring to their rooms after a testosterone-driven game and tucking themselves into bed with a harmless comic, after drinking a cup of hot cocoa. Lights off at 10p.m. No masti, no girls, no booze ( Chris Gayle – are you reading this , and falling off your chair with laughter?). B-O-R-I-N-G!

I can’t wait for IPL-6. Here’s hoping there will be many more juicy scandals and fisticuffs next year. And someone, please, please invite Zohal Hamid back to cheer for Luke Pomersbach, now that they’ve kissed (?) and made up . That is, if Luke is still in the team, and Zohal has not become a Past Wife!


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Shobhaa... I am probably one of the youngest journalist in the city, am 21 and writing for the most circulated English daily... I completely empathize with you... So, many good stories of ours gets scrapped because of Media-Net & all... Journalism in this nation is becoming a profession like prostitution... When, I will have my publication in near future, I am sure I would make sure this story get's an Anchor Lead Space in my Daily and I would take you up as an Editor, Promise - for your bravado... Keep up your boldness, others may criticize you, but I do appreciate your BOLDNESS! Long way to go Shobhaa, BE MORE BOLD!

Unknown said...

Fantastic. It is so tongue in cheek and witty (I use the word witty, and not funny to indicate the very intelligent humor :)

I don't think the Ed should have done an Edit on this, you typed out what was on everyone's minds, so nothing new for the Ed to worry about.

I for one really enjoyed the read

The Opaque Prism said...

Vintage Shobhaa De. Honestly I too liked Sid's tweet. He wasn't off the mark. BTW for a non cricket fan you seem to have done your homework well. Definitely not publishable in today's times :) Where do we have independent and bold editors?

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Pooja Rathore said...

I liked your column, i did not find anything objectionable,whatever you wrote is truth(facts with super evidence)but i suppose some people like playing ostrich...a good read.i agree this time ipl was less cricket and more controversy,drama,debates(the Arnabs show - i just love his debates and love him tooooo)tv was on fire throught the ipl i enjoyed it.

NAT said...

So sad it is almost like being in a state of emergency. A banana republic.
We need more people like you to tell things the way it is and not push everything under the carpet.

Jogeshwar said...

Agree, I believe all sports is entertainment, except now some have become stage-managed. Here in Punjab, the ruling Akalis, held a pseudo 'Kabbadi world cup' of circle style kabbadi(popular in rural Punjab) before the elections to ensure enough entertainment for the masses and even promised to hold it annually. It's like Gladiators who were made to fight for entertainment, even today we have things like WWE( world wrestling entertainment) except it's much more humane and excellently stage managed by experts, with lots of drama. IPL is similar as well, added with a taste of regionalism. Such management will eventually devalue Cricket. It is sad to see the real spirit of a sport being tarnished by such event management. This reminds of what Milkha Singh said, that sports today have become a Tamasha.

Unknown said...

Its funny, cricket-ignoramus people decide whether IPL is mere entertainment or cricket.
No harsh feeling...nice article
Madam, to let you know why we watch IPL, there was an excellent blog on cricinfo..

Aayushi Gupta said...

I certainly can't blame your editor for slashing it. What were you thinking? Uncensored truth?? You should know better than trying to sneak in uncensored truth into the public space not owned by you. :P

You have to balance it out with some sycophancy. That's like, the law.


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IPL is the worst thing to have happened to Indian Cricket. Indian Cricket is in doldrums because of this. If IPL continues to go on like this just for the sake of money, people will stop watching cricket. I have already stopped watching cricket since this silly tournament was started.
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