IPL--the Indian Premier League-- promised, and offered. The inaugural edition (2008) was a massive hit...and the 20-20 format was here to stay. Twenty overs a side meant heavy hitting, glorious fours, huge sixers, spot-on fielding, fabulous catches and more on the field. Off the field: Packed stadium, star-studded audience, cheer girls, post IPL parties and more (as we now know). Interestingly enough the 2009 edition of the INDIAN Premier League was held in South Africa. Reason: The IPL dates clashed with the election dates.
There was no way the Election Commission/governement was going to reschedule the 'right of a democracy' to allow Daredevils, Royals, Chargers and Knightriders to have their way. Of course there was no way the IPL's Big Boss would give in to the government's pressure and reschedule the event. The way out was to outsource the IPL. The name remains Indian, the venue would be international. A few countries were considered, formalities & procedures discussed and debated and finally South Africa it was. The 2009 edition too was claimed to a big, rather bigger, success despite being away from home.
The IPL-3 (2010) came back to its homeground but not without its share of controversies. The Pakistani cricketers were denied visa, the team owners ignored Pakistani players during the auction, which invisted mixed responses. Those who criticised it were even termed anti-Indian. All put to rest, the IPL 2010 got off to another colourful start. A few changes were seen in some of the teams, few hush-hush stories of discontent and incompatibility among team members were heard, but for the millions of TV viewers and the thousands of staidum viweres, none of it mattered. They cheered the sixers, fours, wickets with equal excitement.
With all going well, controversy couldn't be far behind. Amidst IPL-3 happened the bidding for two more teams. Kochi and Pune won the deals.
IPL Big Boss Lalit Modi and Tharoor started a war of tweets. Questions were raised about the credibility of the Rendezvouz Consortium that won IPL Kochi, a certain lady was targetted and was accused on being Tharoor's proxy. The minister's involvement (which he claimed was that of only a "mentor") was questioned, his links with the lady was questioned...it was questions galore.
Not one to take it quiet, Tharoor retorted accusing Modi of trying to sabotage the Kochi deal. Tharoor said Modi favoured another team and was intentionally making things difficult for Kochi. The debate turned dirty, turned political with the opposition raising it in Parliament. Tharoor's credibility to continue as Union Minister was strongly questioned. The drama continued finally resulting in Tharoor's resignation--an act which is clearly forced exit. Earlier in the day the lady termed his proxy surrendered her stakes in the team and quit her post too. The loss is all Tharoor's. Well, is it?
It's really a loss, an insult to a game, once termed 'Gentleman's Game'. Cricket has taken a backseat, with controversy taking centrestage. Like a columnist wrote ins his Sunday column: This is not cricket. This is IPL. No one deserves our sympathy, for clearly everyone has their agenda. Big Boss Modi has his plans, Tharoor has his secret interests, the Opposition had its selfish reasons in protesting, the Government had its reasons for forcing Tharoor out. A sport is no longer a sport here. Cricket, is often termed religion, in India. No wonder the country and the people in power are divided over it. Religion has caused a lot of bloodshed, dirty talking and suffering to the country. Now being next to religion, Cricket too meets the same fate.
If you'd rather use your time baking a chocolate cake or walking your dog or doing anything that in no way reminds you of IPL, then move on. If you do have a word to say...write on. Here's what a few people had to say.