The IPL: From the Fan’s Perspective

 Blog by: Shradha                                                   

Chennai Super Kings cheer leaders celebr

Corruption, misbegotten deeds and audaciousness that borders on sullying the very name of cricket may be some of the defining points of the zillion dollar brain-child, Indian Premier League. But no amount of negativity seems to divert the fans’ attention away from the tournament, but rather hones the focus back to it thus elevating it to an unequalled stature amongst all other existing cricketing tournaments.

The fact that the trend of positivity for the IPL continues to flourish unabated and unchecked – despite the recent event that added yet another black-mark to Indian cricket – is then a proof of how the sport’s fans have evolved, regardless of the rigorists’ vociferous protestations against such new-gen transformations.

And where the rigorists – the purists and the conventionalists – may juxtapose the earlier formats of the game to such franchise-oriented, money-based format, fans don’t really construe it that way but see it as nothing but yet another manifestation of the sport. For them, IPL then is as good as a platform where loyalties are franchise-based and not demarcated by nationalities.

There again, such a perspective by the fans doesn’t translate to their condoning of the various wrongdoings that the event invariably becomes a hosting ground to. On the contrary, their continued support and favouritism towards the IPL is the continued source of optimism towards the sport and the people actively involved in it.

Perhaps that’s why mistakes and underhanded activities by team owners and other managerial custodians are treated as an aberration with the mind dwelling more on the team’s successes and achievements. These fans aren’t then ignorant, naive fools misguided by their optimism and hope that continues to let them down – season-after-season. But rather fact is, they would rather think about the players – the hard-working ones who continue to rise and shine, in spite of all the filth that surrounds their meritocracy. The fans would then rather think about individual names. Names, that have always given Indian cricket the stature of superiority amongst the other giants who felt they could compel it to bow before them.

The fact that none of these legends’ names have been tossed around in the recent IPL muck is then yet supporting rationale for the fans in their uninhibited IPL fervour. And alongside these positives, the distinct lack of involvement by foreign players in the scandal has also gone to boost the IPL in the minds of the fans who have often been thrilled and awed by the hordes of foreign talent that the IPL attracts. That the fans then blame the tainted parties’ unfounded greed as the primary evil tainting the IPL rather than the format itself being an epicentre of evil isn’t surprising at all.

In a nation where cricket unashamedly rules as the primary sport of choice, reigning as its unofficial national game, one would be quite hard-pressed to do away with one of the most entertaining events highlighting the game. Thus while each of the Indian Premier League’s seven seasons may have then been marred by controversies, for the fans, the two months of IPL – along with the innumerable shenanigans that it brings to the cricketing fold – has become a necessity that cannot be done without.

Such being the case, the rigorists’ talk about eliminating the tournament fixture then has started to be perceived by the IPL rooters as being stuffy and overly proprietorial. The line of argument raised by such pro-IPL rooters, that consequentially emerges about the vulnerability of the sport and the inadequate measures with which these vulnerabilities are addressed is then justified too.

For just like the IPL in India, there are several other key T20 fixtures that take place in various cricketing nations. That it is the IPL which has become the bane of cricket is indeed a harsher tag for the tournament to be labelled with. And it is this label that shifts the entirety of IPL’s infamy from the various participants, to the ones who needed to come up with stringent regulations and principles in the first place.

 

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