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Monday, April 28, 2008

Thackarey: The sacred dig for cricket?

Bal Thackarey's people are best known outside of Maha as a group who are prone to dig holes in Mumbai (and at times other) cricket stadium everytime Pakistan comes to play India there. This, they must have considered a sacred duty on their part is now evident. What they achieved through these sacred acts is not known till date.

The great man has now said that a few girls in bikini dancing on the sidelines has brought down the sanctity of cricket!!! the clever BCCI must be in glee, now there are Pakistan players playing in India, in Indian local teams and what can the sacred people do? confused!! hahaha.

I think finally IPL has made cricket a proper Indian game. It is the celebration of India as the global dominator of the sport. I don't think any other cricket playing nation could have hosted such a crazy tournament (does anyone remember the old sleepy Ranji Trophy?). Certainly nowhere would you find such turn out of people day after day paying so much to watch so little (of course, I am alluding to the duration of a typical match, not the clothing of cheer leaders).

I should confess, I have watched more cricket in television in the last couple of weeks than what I would have watched in a few years before. And I am not watching this for cheerleaders.

I think the commercialization and glamourization of cricket will be the best contribution India has done to this sport. I foresee in the near future cricketers from across the globe going 'native' in different parts of India, players refuse playing for their home counties and countries and prefer to appear for IPL teams, I foresee Vijay Mallaya having more say in who should represent India in the near future and at some future date, cricket teams truely overcoming the sex barrier with both men and women playing in the same team, of course, what if the women were to adorn a different kind of attire. Our cricket minister (who also does some agricultural ministering on the side) could even hold a match in Vidharba as yet another of his innovative solution to farmer's woes there.

Gully cricket as it is played in most parts of India is 10 overs or 20 overs long, it is played between any two teams that could be patched up together on that day in the street, by the chap who owns the cricket gear and his opponent, the chap who owns more gets to pick up his team first, only a few regular players matter all others could be extras - the street vendors, roadside spectators, etc. the gully cricket is all about lusty hitting, there is no reverence to bowling, the gully cricket is often played for high stakes (within the capacity of those playing) and there are always quite a few fringe stake holders. Every one participates in some way. IPL T20 is the gully cricket in grand proportions, it appeals all the Indians, particular the younger very well. It is certainly not a puritan game, just like what gets spoken in India is no longer the British English, yet, completely valid as a langugage because it represents the personality of India better, same with the T20 - it is the Indian gully cricket.

Only cricket now resembles Indian weddings, there is dance (with all the gyration of the hips since the days of Govinda that happens in every wedding event today, the cheerleaders are no different), there is opulence, I am sure there is much food in the galleries too, every one has good time, oops...may be shortly if Mallaya has his way, he will even 'bring in the good times' into the stadium to complete the Indian wedding charecter, the winners are not predictable, but, that is irrelavent in this form of the game, it is not a game as IPL promoters repeatedly tell you, it is entertainment extreme, period.

The time for protest was not after the wedding party starts, but, before it was planned. If only Thackarey and all his people had more foresight, they would have stopped the commencement of 24x7 television channels in India rather than dig all those sacred holes at Whankhede stadium. Ultimately, T20 has come out of the direct result of missing content of mass appeal for the television channels and the need for more than one Indian team to satisfy the huge pressure of endorsements of often competitive products.

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