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Five things the IPL is better off without

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IPL_Indian_Premier_LeagueThe IPL 2017 is over. And all we are left with now is a fine cocktail of memories of the tournament that should serve us well till the next season dawns on us next year.

In those memories, however, there are certain attributes of the IPL that stick out like a sore thumb. Every year, despite the oodles of entertainment the IPL provides, it also has its fair share of features that we really would not like to witness again.

Here we look at some of the things that the IPL can do without next year.

The cheerleaders :

No, I mean no disrespect to the cheerleaders themselves. But the sights of pretty cheerleaders dancing and hopping after every four or six hit in the IPL has long become boring. The ICC World T20 2007 was perhaps the first to introduce cheerleaders in international cricket. However, the ICC quickly did away with them in the following editions.

The IPL, though, continues to use the cheerleaders, ever since its inaugural edition. Unlike American football and basketball, where cheerleaders are part of the culture of those sports, the cheerleaders do not add absolutely anything of value in the IPL matches. In fact, one even feels sorry for them; having to continuously prance around in the barrage of sixes and fours and amidst the heat and humidity of the Indian summer with no one even giving them a second look.

Strategic timeouts :

Yes, a strategic timeout may, at times, be effective in a pressure cooker situation in a T20 match. But having four 2.30 minute timeouts in a 20-over game is simply ludicrous. One timeout for each innings is fine at the end of 10 overs. But two makes no sense; especially when a team needs 10 runs to win from 6 overs and then the umpire signals a timeout.

It irks the fans in the stadia and the ones watching it on television. Simply put, these timeouts are nothing more than forced ad breaks to mint more money by the broadcasters.

On-field discussions with players during a live match :

It’s really hard to fathom why players are forced to have chats with the commentators on air when a match is on. It is very apparent that the player – in between multiple “Sorry, I didn’t get that” quips – wants to concentrate on the action on the field and is not very comfortable chatting with the commentator.

It is also very evident that the commentators themselves fish for forced questions to ask in those situations. Then, there are the conversations on the boundary ropes with the players who are not part of the match or the coaching staff sitting at the dugout. So while exciting action might be happening on the field, we have to do without any commentary to back it up, because we are forced to listen to some conventional gab about things we already know. Surely, these discussions can be held after the end of the innings and the match?

Obligatory advertising by commentators :

It seems like everything in a live IPL match these days is advertised by the commentators. “This is a certain candidate for the [Car/Vehicle Brand] Glam Shot of the Season”; “That is a [Title sponsor] Perfect Catch of the Season”; “What a superb [Bank Sponsor] Maximum!”; “That is the [Telecom company] Super Fan of the Day”; “Look at the [Telecom company] Super Army!”; “That’s the [Car/Vehicle Brand]. What a glamorous car!”

These comments appear so regularly during a live match that it really gets exasperating. You can sense that the commentators have been forced to say all this by the organizers. And if these aren’t enough, there is also the obligatory and repeated praises for the ‘[Title sponsor] IPL VIP Box’.

It can be truly uncomfortable and excruciating to watch and listen to. The way things are, though, it won’t be long where we will hear comments like “That was a sure candidate for an XYZ single of the match”.

The forced ‘fun’ elements in the pre and post match shows :

We get it. The IPL is supposed to be filled with ‘cricketainment’. But the broadcasters really do go overboard in their desperate goal of adding the fun element in the pre and post match IPL shows. From getting glamorous models with little to no idea of cricket for anchoring duties to using Bollywood celebs to promote their upcoming films, these IPL shows can really be an assault on a true cricket fan’s senses.

Discussions on cricket shows should be limited to the sport only. While adding some entertainment is fine, doing it in flimsy ways is not appropriate. Because seeing Ajay Jadeja and Harsha Bhogle feeling uneasy as cheerleaders welcome them with grating Bollywood music is really disconcerting. IPL, at the end of the day is a cricket tournament. Not a chat show.

 

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