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Why I don't watch the IPL anymore


Navjot_Singh_Siddhu_IPL_commentator_commentary_T20_cricketThe IPL is like a strip club, and that is why I don’t watch anymore.

Back in my twenties, going to a strip club held some serious appeal. Naked girls, a night out with a difference, and quite simply being at a place so different to everyday life – what wasn’t there to love?

Table dances, lap dances, main stage shows, there was always a lot going on. The cheesy DJ with his announcements accompanying the playing of every old and clichéd song was also lots of fun.

Whenever a mate of yours suggested visiting a strip club, you generally just agreed to get involved.

Then I guess I just grew up. Suddenly the girls just seemed pretty trashy, and older. The other guys there were mostly divorcees and weirdos, and the vibe was actually pretty sleazy when you were sober enough to realize.

All this reminds me of the IPL, another thing that had serious appeal back in my twenties. Big money players, a cricket experience with a difference, and quite simply a Cricket tournament so different compared to the everyday matches elsewhere – what wasn’t there to love?

Dilscoops, reverse sweeps, DLF maximums, there was always a lot going on. The cheesy stadium announcer shouting all kinds of nonsense to noisy backing tracks was also just part of the fun.

Whenever a mate of yours suggested watching an IPL game, you generally just agreed to get involved.

Then I guess I just grew up though. Suddenly the players just seemed overhyped, and older. The other people watching the matches were mostly divorcees or gamblers, and the whole vibe just became overly contrived and worthless when you became bored enough to notice.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with T20 cricket, but the IPL is no longer the best example of it. The T20 World Cup that just took place in India was a genuinely exciting tournament, and provided even the most neutral of T20 fans something to get excited about.

The IPL following that is like serving filet mignon and then offering up whipped cream, from a half full dispenser.

I started out in the IPL as a Deccan Chargers fan. They finished last in the first tournament, they could never defend 200 with the ball, but they were my team. They then won the tournament when it was played in South Africa, and I felt seriously invested in the tournament.

Then they sort of disappeared, and now I see the Chennai Super Kings have also dissolved. They were the Golden State Warriors of the tournament, but now they are gone because of rules violations and corruption or something.

So now you have teams like the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Gujarat Lions… only a matter of time until more teams come and go, and then we will be left with Super Lion Kings, Rising Moonwalkers and Charging King Cobras…

The players’ comings and goings are naturally even more frequent. As a non-Indian, you usually support teams because your favourite players are involved. But they are constantly chopping and changing, so naturally you lose a bit of interest as a result.

On the subject of players, they are all just too buddy-like in this environment too. It just doesn’t seem right. Again, it’s all terribly contrived, especially when the international players go to great lengths to embrace the ‘culture’ of the tournament. It’s girls on the pole all over again, but not in a good way.

Then there are the commentators, oh boy, those bloody commentators. Speaking like their genitals are wired to electric probes, night after night getting spontaneously excited about something that needs to be cheered about.

This is the IPL, though. Its formula has fans, and more importantly, it has sponsors.

But I’m not watching it. I have moved on. Like strip clubs, the IPL won’t go out of business, it will just get a new generation of temporary fans.

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Ben Karpinski is a South African sports blogger/MC/tweeter with a heart so broken by the Proteas, t...

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