May 7, 2008

Indian Premier League

Bright Lights and Big Money

Jamie Alter

The IPL has got heads turning and Somini Sengupta, attempting to strip down the Twenty20 tournament for an American audience in the New York Times, says it is "is trying to spin off India’s colonial inheritance into a money-making symbol of a brash, emerging nation". The writer throws in the views of fans of different ages (a flustered mother with a front-row seat, a bored 20-year old), CNN-IBN's Rajdeep Sardesai, yet to convert, and Ramachandra Guha, also dwelling briefly on the cheerleader brouhaha and how loyalties are yet to be formed.

At the game between the Mumbai Indians and the Deccan Chargers, Ambani was in his box with his wife, Nita, and their three children. The whole family wore blue, the team color. Nita Ambani had slapped a Mumbai Indians sticker on the back of her flowing chiffon salwar kameez. The team logo, she pointed out, was a ball of fire, a divine weapon known as a chakra lifted from Hindu mythology.

No matter. Mumbai was losing badly. The Ambanis’ children looked ashen. “I have to keep reminding myself, it’s only a game,” she said.

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Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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