Sachin Tendulkar makes it impossible for fans to cheer against © Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar makes it impossible for fans to cheer against © Getty Images

 

By Golandaaz

 

The Indian Premier League (IPL) was supposed to bring in new fans. Younger ones. For a while, everything was trending upwards like on Twitter. It is fair to say that when it comes to Twitter, IPL seems to be doing fine. I have seen updates on domestic cricket in South Africa and England being tweeted with the hashtag “#IPL”. IPL is surely a way to get noticed in the world of tweets and tweet decks.

 

Initially people were confused about how to invest their loyalty. Then came Lalit Modi, Shashi Tharoor and the latter’s lady love, and questions of loyalty took a back seat. The IPL struggled to hold on to people’s trust. Actually, no… because the BCCI, in its inimitable style, completely changed the conversation. While Lalit Modi spoke about deals and money, the BCCI responded to questions with questions, questioning the questions.

 

Recently someone from the BCCI was quoted in the media in response to the question of India’s next coach. I don’t know the exact question, but the response was something like … “What’s the hurry in naming a coach”… I don’t care what the question was, but this type of a response pretty much kills any potential of further conversation.

 

The IPL has benefited from this type of media engagement. No one bothers the BCCI or the IPL governing council with any kind a request for conversations and as a result the task of regaining the fan’s trust has taken a back seat and the conversation in fan circles is again about on franchise loyalty. The BCCI has figured out that people and sponsors will come anyways; so why bother with the trust thing.

 

As a result, things are less transparent and, consequently, less noisy.

 

Clearly, Sachin Tendulkar makes it impossible for people to root against Mumbai. I find it strange though. If tomorrow Tendulkar gets picked up by Chennai, I don’t think I will root against Mumbai. However, through the years people have figured out which teams they want to support and it’s largely based on where you were born and/or brought up. Yes, there are certain icon players like Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni that can test this theory, but let’s just say they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

 

While the loyalties are falling in place and the IPL has shown its resilience to corruption scandals, ownership fights with franchises, security issues, exhaustion from India’s world cup win; in a few respects it’s going a bit backwards.

 

For example, last year I was able to watch all IPL games on US Television. This year there is no such luck. I have to settle for 35 out of the 74 games on display. Also I looked at the IPL points table on Sunday, and it has a distinct Bombay v the Rest of India feel.

 

Are we sure that we spent all this money, invited cheer leaders, Shah Rukh Khan, the Shetty sisters, Estee Lauder models, DLF maximums, Shaadi.com couples, Karbon Kamal catches….

 

…just to recreate the magic of Irani Trophy?

 

(Golandaaz is a blogger @Opinions on Cricket and likes to see the humorous side of the game. He often sketches cricketers in black and white. You can follow Golandaaz his blog on Twitter @oponcr and Facebook/Opinions on Cricket)