Thursday, March 13, 2008


By the time I started watching cricket seriously, Kapil Dev was in the last quarter of his career and new heroes were emerging. I could not witness his banana swing or destructive batting what he was capable of producing but I did witness the magic of his razor sharp comments. For example, once our medium pacer Anil Kumble got so frustrated by the West Indian pad man Jimmy Adams' "I want to keep my bat young" tactics that he hit his favorite, the apples. At 123kmph, Adams was down on the ground for 5 minutes. The moment he got up, Kapil Dev doing commentary on DD sympathized, "His wife need not worry now. He is fine". The comment was made in such a devastatingly bovine manner on a channel which doesn't even let DharamJi drink his favorite drink (dog's blood) without any volume that I found it the most funny, bold and bizarre piece of commentary. Not surprisingly, that was his last series on DD. I have heard him live once and his comments are mostly from the heart and to the point.

Today I heard him on Ten Sports, roaring as he ever does and making some sense.

BCCI has banned everyone who joins ICL, players that is. ICL started with Subhash Chandra giving his two cents to improve the state of Indian cricket after WC debacle. BCCI politely rejected the idea – “Thanks but no thanks”. Chandra decided to go ahead with it and got some big names signed up – as players and as sponsors. Although most of the players were either retired/nearing retirement or had lost hopes for playing at the highest level. Some though it as an easier means to get some earning, especially foreign players, because no where in the world cricket is not as lucrative as in India in monetary terms. That too when you are a superstar with a screen pleasing charming face. With some success expected in ICL, suddenly Lalit Modi remembered how he had though about the similar idea in 1996 and was discarded. BCCI came up with IPL and Modi is globally praised for his out of the world business idea which is expected to take not only Indian cricket but also world cricket to a new level. BCCI is an autonomous body and in its true dictator spirit, forced ICC to ban players who had joined ICL. May I ask why?

· Only time I can remember ICC banning a player for not so cricketing reason was during South Africa days. Situation is different here. It is like I do not want to sell my product through ebay, I prefer bazee. My ISP cannot cut my connection if I do that, can he?

· Agreed ICC has banned ICL because it’s an arm, BCCI considers it as a rebel. But an associate of a rebel is also a rebel. Should ICC not ban Ten Sports who is currently broadcasting ICL in India and others who are taking it to global viewers? After all, cricket is all about television and ad revenue these days. To get people into the stadium, Chandra has to rely upon the pelvic thrusts of Sameera Reddy and Neha Dhupia.

· What about sponsors? They should also be banned because without them, ICL would not have been possible. If Coke had got the sponsorship of IPL, Pepsi would surely have gone to sponsor ICL. Had BCCI got Pepsi banned too through ICC and forced all its players to cancel their contracts with Pepsi?

· Not every time there is a “first mover’s advantage”. Sometimes there is a “first mover’s disadvantage” as well. When HSBC established its first ATM in India, it took years to get its customers to get into the habit of using ATMs and not rushing to the branches to get their money. Other banks spent lesser time and money on the same because when they entered, the technology and trend were more stable. May be BCCI should have got people used to of ICL style cricket and even helped it. Once you have the EPL like club following in India and rest of the cricket playing nations, IPL might have gained more with the backing of better muscles of money, names and infrastructure.

· One more league means more competition and giving more of the food you want to feed your customers with. This would have given more scope to not only players but sponsors as well to choose from. May be BCCI is used to of its dictator status and likes the monopolistic ways.

The biggest challenge for IPL would be create new parameters for loyalty. If I have been supporting India for all this while, I don’t care much if UP wins in Ranji or Rest of India in Irani Trophy because I get attached to the game only when I see Tendulkar battling it out against Lee. Now when you show me Yuvraj singh getting stumped by Adam Gilchrist and bowled by Shahid Afridi, I would more feel like watching a friendly match than a competitive one. It will take sometime to build the loyalty for club and that will be IPL’s biggest challenge.

One of my Hyderabadi friend asked me – “So, are you looking forward to IPL?”

I said I do not know.

His reply was – “That is because you don’t have a team to support, I have.”

Someone might soon write in some paper in Mumbai now – “No one wants UP-Biharis in this country, not even IPL”.


Spiff said...

Yup..the gud thing is...ICL suceess will diminish IPL while IPL success will enhance ICL..go figure it out

Dreamer said...

first of all, whats the difference bet. ICL and IPL

Sachin Gulhane said...

was it really necessary to bring issue of UP-Biharis here ??.. You stay in Mumbai , you have team to support for -:).. it wil take time for pple to support teams than their cricket idols.

LoonyTalk said...

The best argument that was put fwd by ICL was about BCCI's apparent ownership of the Team India brand-name when it is actually itself just a non-profit organization [as submitted by it as an affidavit in court!]
High time that the BCCI patriarchs realized that they don't own the sport or the players...

Vanu said...

Awesome post, a small correction:-

The name is 'Lalit Modi' not 'Rajat Modi' :)

Vibhash Prakash Awasthi said...

thnx for the pointer....its rectified now