Indian Premier League – A Cricketing Extravaganza Or Something Else

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Cricket has gone through a strong metamorphosis, moving from the 5 day test match pattern to one-day internationals that give 50 overs a team and now, we are into an even more compact format of cricket called T20 or twenty-twenty. The twenty-twenty format shrinks the game further to just 20 overs per team. The present T20 world cup is supposed to be held from 30th April to 16th May 2010. In addition, we also have different competitive events like the Sharjah Cup, the Champion’s Trophy and so on. Given the slew of cricketing events and the massive fan following they have it was only a matter of time before a sports entrepreneur decided to capitalize on this phenomenon and build one of India’s largest sporting extravaganzas of all time. And India being a cricket-crazy nation, the Indian Premier League, which is closely modeled on the hugely successful English Premier League found almost instant fan following.

So, the first installment of the IPL began in 2008, with 8 teams – Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore. The teams are essentially named after specific Indian states, and they are owned by different entities beginning with movie stars, media conglomerates, and industrialists and so on. There was massive media frenzy around the whole event as it started in early 2008, with international players, Indian players all up for grabs and a huge auction following it. The teams were formed and the matches began. The model was interesting in more ways than one. First, players of the same country were being pitted against each other many-a-time. So, as far as the sport went, we could see the magic of Muralidharan along with the keeping of Dhoni in one team. As with seeing Tendulkar and Jayasurya bat on the same side! Secondly, the teams were all tied to different states or cities. So a Mumbai Indians match versus say Kings XI Punjab was played in Mumbai or in Punjab, and somehow the scintillation of watching a Mumbai team in Mumbai or a Deccan team in AP was brought out, much like how fans find watching Man U play at Old Trafford more enjoyable than any other Man U 프리미어중계   match! It even served to unite a state with the underlying theme being cricket. So, while different teams won and lost at different times, the winner clearly was cricket. At the same time, the whole franchise is valued at over $4 billion!

And so, as is the case with any event that gathers instant stardom and is worth billions of dollars, this one found its controversies as well. Even the Beijing Olympics that were executed to inch-perfect perfection were not spared the controversy, from lip-syncing ceremony performers to instant shutdown of polluting factories. So how can this sporting enterprise be spared?

So, IPL2 – the second installment was mired in controversy over security. The event clashed with General Elections in India and so security was of paramount concern. The Government requested the organizers to postpone the tournament till after the elections, but this was refused since apparently TV rights and slots had been booked. So amid a lot of controversy and hue and cry the tournament shifted to South Africa, leaving a disgruntled Indian Government and disappointed Indian fans in its wake.

 

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