In every state level player who hits a slam bang fifty or takes a wicket, we see a future Sachin or a future Fast Bowler (seriously, when was the last time we ever had a true blue fast bowler?). We celebrate their success and we go to bed with a feeling that "Yes, we do have the proper replacements when our modern greats retire". The most irksome part of all is how easily we have fallen for this shallow dream. We have fallen for the glitz and the glamor and the scantily clad cheerleaders with poor footwork, we have fallen in love with the artificially infused drama that is T-20, yes it brings in the kids and the women and increases TRP ratings and increases the game's reach in countries where it is lesser known, but is a cricketer's worth only measured in the mindless slogs that he executes? IPL now is more about the cash and less about cricket, it is more of a power game about which celebrity owner gets to rub the nose of his counterpart in the dirt. And in this crossfire is caught the modern day cricketer who is now merely reduced to a commodity. Every cricketer now comes with a price tag.
"I'm just a businessman and have absolutely no idea about the game of cricket. It is just business for me." - Mukesh Patel, co-owner of the new Kochi IPL franchise.
When you let money minded businessmen and celebrities with giant sized egos run the show you can only feel sorry for the real players who are involved in it. Every body now wants to sink their teeth in the IPL pie.IPL as huge a revolution it may seem now, will die an inevitably slow death, the reasons being that the biggest draw for such a lucrative tournament are the players. The 35+ brigade of Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden (The Holy Aussie Trinity) Kumble, Murali, Jayasuriya, Ganguly are one of the main reasons why this event has been hugely successful. But how long are they willing to push themselves for that one final encore remains to be seen. I am not criticizing the IPL here, it is an exciting venture, where else would we get to see a South African and an Aussie give high fives or Sachin and Sanath tear apart the bowling, or Kumble and Warne still celebrate every wicket as if its their first. But the IPL should not be taken seriously, it is already turning out into an Injury Premier League (credit to Atul Wassan,SET MAX's in-house "Expert" for coining the term, the only sensible thing he has said so far). And with the World T-20 beginning five days right after the IPL final, it remains to be seen if the players have enough ammunition left in their armor to come out all guns blazing for another two weeks in the Carribean.
IPL which was all about Cricket- a simple game between the bat and ball has now evolved into a clash of egos and a quest for greed. Gordon Gekko had famously said "Greed is good", but too much of greed kills the goose that lays the golden eggs. Andrew Symonds for a change speaks some sense instead of sledges when he says "You have to look after your cattle, you can't just keep driving and whipping them", with two more teams added to the league, and 94 matches in IPL-4 you can only wonder what happens if the cattle turns savage.