Wednesday, 24 March 2010 20:35
Contributed by Jatin Thakkar
(This article was written before Modi-Tharoor chapter even started. With Income-Tax authorities already in picture and BCCI appointing a co-chairman to curb Modi's power base, has the correction that the author mentions already started?)
It does take some talent to pull off successive innovations, especially the ones that make the earlier ones look decades old.
Meet Mr. Lalit Modi.
The man has infused some life ('money' sounds more apt, but rude) into cricket economies. At the same time, he is criticized for killing the sanity of the game with never before seen levels of commercialization. Is the gigantic wave of change he has brought upon Cricket here to stay?
Seeing the action on the ground between the overs is a distant memory now. Now, seeing the bowlers walk back between successive balls has also joined the "waste of time" list. Make way for Cheerleaders. They are not just limited to dramatic events on the field; we get to see the actual Cricket only when they take some time off.
Several interpretations can be made on analyzing Lalit Modi's arguments, possibly even contradictory ones at times; but more likely than otherwise, they can be seen as a desperate form of defence. Let's look at two of them. The first one is that IPL will bring commercialization in cricket, without which various numbers (money, audience) seemed to be reducing at present. Secondly, through the very format of T20 (and its spoilt-rich baby, the IPL), Cricket has started reaching global audiences from geographical extents that were never touched before. To cut it short (or to put in Modi's self-pompous style), Modi suggests that IPL is the medicine that the game badly needs, the one that keeps it from extinction!
This argument reminds us of one of the age old marketing beliefs (with due respect to the person who first thought of it. he never planned for the monsters of today's world - like Modi). The idea is to increase the numbers... somehow, at any cost. Microsofts of this world believed in that and reaped successes in millions from millions. Unfortunately, they never managed to keep their inventions bug-free. Sometimes, the solution is just to get the product inside every household. Its appreciation may not be essential or wait, even targeted. What would catching the attention of the otherwise cricket-atheists add to cricket? Perhaps, this is a potential chance to take the game to people who never knew that Cricket could be this fascinating.
There are people who applaud the glitz the IPL has brought to the game, but then, there are also people, mostly a vast majority, who would prefer traditional scrambled eggs for breakfast. They will curse the new addition to the menu...and then, curse it again. Please note that the scrambled eggs are still on the menu! The ones who have developed a poetic love for Test cricket over the years fail to appreciate a rather 'insignificant' factor about the IPL...patience to let the T20-toddler grow. The IPL's jazz and commercialization might not reflect the game's truer aspects, but it makes people take notice. It creates markets. Steady start to the innings, no?
Not many notice golf, archery, polo or skiing... What would you do if you see their numbers falling? What would you do if you have an great idea to commercialize and therefore refurbish the game? Get blamed for being greedy and power-centric? Or get hailed as the saviour?
Let this new wave grow. Let it correct itself. The conclusion definitely looks promising to me, at least for now.
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Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 18:13