Sunday, June 24, 2012


The blitzkreig, gamet of celebration regarding the KKR win in the recently completed IPL 2012 has left many sports followers with some unanswered questions. Nature of celebration following SRK's KKR win compelled us to think whether a sport like cricket on a platform like IPL promotes or instigates a jubilation of power/money/community or  a state. This became more prominent as IPL 2012 was all around surrounded by an aura of money, glamour, politics and interstate clashes (SRK being humiliated/condemned by Mumbai Police and thereafter KKR cricketers threatening to boycot the matches following SRK's humiliation). Somewhere or the other, IPL as an entity needs this aura for its survival within India. It is now an epicentre or a magic wand to establish certain power credentials. It needs SRK to have its TRP value along with many other cricketing personalities. IPL 2012 was an evidence of the influence that a franchisee owner can play in sorting out auction disputes and maintain the rolling ball/red carpet of IPL. All these outcomes of IPL 2012 is known to us. But, what is still unknown out of this jampacked entertaining annual exercise called IPL are the gains driven out of it for the larger wellfare of sports in this country. Precisely, there IPL has created an inequity by establishing all the spotlight and TRP value on a sport with a larger neglect of many basic sports like tennis, football, badminton, swimming and many more.

Amidst all this we also need to question is whether this TRP value of IPL 2012 ensures the fitness levels of all cricketers, who am sure will be quite strained and tired in the upcoming T20 World Cup. It is going to affect their performances as they are humans at the end of the day. It is a system that we have created that needs to be questioned for their future performances. The media should not attack the cricketers after their performance in the upcoming T20 World Cup but rather they should question the system that has promoted an entertaining theatrical. We also need to ensure that the monetary spin offs of this glamour struck tournament gets into the larger benefits of other sports to raise their TRP values so that the ingrained neglect of other sports and sportspersonalities are reduced. In today's world, we have to face the fact that sports needs glamour, TRP for its survival. Any sportstar also needs it for his/her survival and for the long term survival of sports. It is true for all sports/sportstars playing football, badminton, tennis etc. We cannot neglect this fact. Sooner we realise it and tap this opportunity and create a system so that all other sports of our country gain out of it, faster will be the reduction in the biased focus that cricket has received in this country. Well, I am not against cricket as a sport. Having played cricket and still playing it even now, I think it is a wonderful game. But, what I cannot support is the unfair way in which one game in our country receives all the attention at the cost of many other beautiful, artistic sports. What is more disappointing is the systematic, strategic push by which cricket is pushed through the support of glamour, money, political clanning, media and larger social context of the country where the sport is seen as a big dream seller.

Hence, the question is, cant we sell the same dreams and aspire larger populace of our country through other sports. This raises question that what stops us from starting a J league (as started in Japan) in India or globalizing our National Football League to make it big. It also raises question of what stops us to create a market opportunity out of expansion of our National Football League, PHL (The Hockey League) to attract investments, glamour, all big sportstars so that all these other sports can also be tapped as a potential dream seller in our country. The financial resources gained from such ventures can be used to groom upcoming nascent talents. We have tried it for football earlier through different formats like establishment of SAI, Tata Football Academy. But today's time is different. I guess, here we have to be realistic and may be a sort of IPL format type (with foreign footballers coming to play for our IPL football franchisee clubs) can be envisaged in case of football. But its just that in this type of IPL Football, there will be no change in the 90 minute format game. Well, these are wild thoughts at this point of time. For its implementation, it will need a strong coordination of many institutions within the country. AIFA, FIFA, STATE CLUBS, Corporates, Media all have to come together to realise this dream.

If this dream is realised, then other than cricket many other sports will aspire sporting talents of our countries. It will also create competition amongst the states (through the state clubs/or state franchisees to chase their dreams). These tournaments will be a means to achieve those aspiration levels thereby generating larger happiness and sense of accomplishments for the people of the country. Degree of such accomplishments will be higher for those who will come to such a platform from far down the rural parts of India. Once it happens within our country, the means of jubilation for a state or community will spread and diverse from one type of sport (cricket) to many other forms. For a prospering, aspiring country like India, it is essential that she reduces the existing biases of spotlights on a certain sport and expands it to several other forms of sports. This will create a bigger outlet, means to realise the dreams of several states of India even with the cost of little interstate rivalry. The gains as an outcome of realization of such dreams will be far higher than the little costs. So, lets start our preparation for those days to come!

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