Samir Chopra April 17, 2009

No tension cricket

Sure, it was interesting to note Delhi players running up to McGrath and Asif to congratulate them on a wicket
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In a couple of days, I'm going to try a little experiment. I'm going to declare my allegiance to two cricket teams I've never given a damn about before and see if it gets me all worked up.

My loyalties as a cricket spectator are directed toward supporting India and Delhi. The former for all international games and the latter for domestic cricket; it has worked so far. For games involving other teams, a variety of other factors have always gelled to enable the identification of a clear-cut favorite. Growing up it meant the West Indies and Australia, two teams whose style of cricket promised plenty of attack and aggression. Later, it meant supporting the plucky Kiwis during their glory run in the 1980s. I cheered for the South Africans when they returned in the 1990s; it was an improbable return and demanded recognition. I cheered for Pakistan when Zaheer, Asif, Majid and Imran were my heroes. In domestic cricket, as in international cricket, the villains and the heroes were clearly defined: bold, bustling Delhi against those stodgy, tiffin-packing Bombay-wallahs. I identified with the Delhi players; they had gone to colleges I had heard about, they played in clubs with names that were familiar from the local newspapers. Heck, I even knew where they had grown up.

Last year, during the IPL's inaugural season, I found myself not caring about any of the teams performances. I didn't really care who won or lost, even though there was a Delhi team in the tournament. How could I ever get excited about it if true-blue locals weren't involved? Even though the Delhi team was largely made up of Delhi players, something about the overseas hires made it a bit fake. Part of the problem was that I hadn't subscribed for a broadcast package and so only read about the scores and the action after the games. The highlights seemed over-accelerated; the razzle-dazzle a bit jarring. But most importantly, where was all the nationalistic fervor that seemed to mark serious international cricket? Without it, cricket seemed to have lost a bit of bite. Sure, it was interesting to note Delhi players running up to McGrath and Asif to congratulate them on a wicket. But the tension of the games seemed artificial; how serious about the games could these players be, I thought, if an international game wasn't on the line?

I've lived for 21 years on the East Coast of the US, and have clear-cut favorites in all the New York teams: the Giants, the Jets, the Yankees, the Mets, the Knicks. But the constant rotation of players, the clear knowledge that these are players who could be playing somewhere else next year because of a better contractual deal ensures on my part a certain lack of attachment (and as a result, I don't buy into the contrived intra-New York rivalry either). Manny Ramirez should be playing for New York; he is from Washington Heights. But he plays for Los Angeles (and before that, for the RedSox!). Try as I might to reconcile myself with this fact intellectually, at some emotional level it means that I don't really get upset about the games' results. As someone pointed out a long time ago, cheering for large professional franchises in sport is a bit like cheering for Ford v. Chrysler.

But still, perhaps the city-based-professional-mercenary league is a good thing. Perhaps this detachment is required from the game. To be honest, after the incessantly nasty India-Australia spats of 2007-8, it was a bit of a relief to not have so many controversies lingering over every single game. And players play the game hard because they have professional pride and a competitive instinct (the hard-fought games in the EPL, the NFL or whatever else bear adequate testimony to this fact). Certainly, the IPL's games didn't seem to lack competitiveness; that I didn't get into them didn't mean the games weren't played hard and contested right down to the last ball.

So this year, I've gone ahead and purchased a broadband video package for the IPL. Ill try and cheer for the Delhi Daredevils and the Kings XI Punjab. I don't know if I'll get into it; I don't know if I'll be heartbroken if the Delhi Daredevils lose to the Mumbai Whatchmacallits. But it's worth a shot.

I do know one thing: I'll care much more about the T20 World Cup. And I'm still happy about the fact that in cricket, unlike any other sport, the bilateral international encounter still remains the pinnacle of the game.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Atish_G on April 24, 2009, 18:49 GMT

    Just enjoy the cricket, people !!!

  • Chinmay on April 24, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    @Pranab:"@Chinmay - I am a KKR guy and i would like to donate Ajit Agarkar to you free of cost, might even pay for his air fare to get him out of our hands. :)"

    I'll have Kaano Mulo over that Nehra guy we had last season or that Fernando guy we have this season any day :)

    And, no, Delhi isn't the favourite to win IPL 2. The favourites this season are Mumbai, because of the pitches the games are going to be played on.

  • Pranab on April 23, 2009, 6:38 GMT

    @Chinmay - I am a KKR guy and i would like to donate Ajit Agarkar to you free of cost, might even pay for his air fare to get him out of our hands. :)

    @Samir, Delhi has a good team this year and is a title favorite.. so all the best!!

  • Mohan on April 21, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    Marcus, I agree that a *tour* match currently doesn't generate much interest. Nor do Ranji matches. But that's because of how those matches are marketed and perceived by the fans. They are perceived to be sub-standard, second grade. Whereas IPL marketed itself as top class cricket and people lapped up city vs city matches with passion.

  • Mohan on April 21, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    Regarding fans in other countries being deprived of Test cricket - we have to consider the other kind of deprivation that is going on under the nation-vs-nation system. As last year's IPL showed, there is enough demand in every major Indian city to fill the stadium for 7 matches in 6 weeks. Yet, all that the Indian fans get to watch under the international system is one international match every 2 years, if they are lucky. Why? Because there is only one Indian team, they play about 10 odi's and 5 Tests at home every year and those 15 matches have to be distributed across 20 centers.

    As for whether Mumbai-Australia would be as popular as India-Australia - I see no reason why. Again, last year's IPL showed that intercity matches can generate huge interest. I see no reason why Mumbai-Aus or Karnataka-Pak won't generate the same level of interest, if not more. Entire India will be behind the Indian state teams.

  • Marcus on April 21, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    Mohan, unfortunately you're right about the lack of meaningful crowds in too many Test-playing countries. But despite this I still think there are plenty of fans in all of those countries who'd still be deprived if Test cricket were to be moved out of them.

    Would the success of a couple of individual New Zealanders in India boost the profile of the game in New Zealand? I'm not sure. But one thing I do know is that soccer in Australia has never been as popular here as it is now, after our qualification for the last World Cup- and although there have been Australian players doing well in England (Neill, Cahill etc.), it was the success of the national side that inspired so much passion in a previously-marginalised sport.

    I'm sure that every Indian state could produce a competitive Test side, but can you honestly say that a tour match between Australia and Mumbai inspires as much excitement as the B-G contests? And would it be any more popular if that game was given Test status?

  • Anindo on April 20, 2009, 11:49 GMT

    This article would have been relevant at the start of last year's IPL. Right now it is completely irrelevant and only shows that you did not follow the event last year. Would you have imagined a 100,000 delirious fans at the Den Gardens celebrating the dismissal of Virender Sehwag by Shoaib Akhtar? Well thats exactly what happened last year putting to rest all doubts over whetehr city-based francisees would work.

  • Mohan on April 19, 2009, 16:41 GMT

    Marcus, if you have seen the kind of crowds for Test cricket anywhere outside England and Australia, then there is no question of being unfair to the crowds. Because they are just non-existent. Also, it may be argued that watching a couple of their compatriots doing well and being successful is more likely to encourage kids to take up cricket in those countries than seeing their team getting thrashed everytime they step on to the field. As for NZ and SL running India close, sure. But then India is only required to produce one team as of now and the system has geared itself to do exactly that. But if you think from first principles, almost every state in India is bigger and more populous than Sri Lanka. They don't lack in terms of passion for cricket, per capita income, genetic make-up, facilities, etc. either. So if SL can produce a decent Test team, why not every Indian state? Only reason they haven't so far is that they are not required to.

  • Vikram on April 18, 2009, 19:50 GMT

    @Chinmay - I remember that game against Mark Taylor's squad. I saw most of it. Wonderful attacking innings from Sachin that laid the foundations of Warne's torment on that tour. Even in 2001, Steve Waugh's all-conquering, record-breaking team was put to the sword and Steve Waugh himself had to bat the entire last session with Damien Fleming to save the game. What a lesson in stone-walling that was! Contrast that to the very next game Australia played - the series opener at Wankhede.

  • Venkat on April 18, 2009, 19:30 GMT

    I think you are spot on. I have lived in Chennai all my life but the Super kings never evoked any real emotion in me. When India lost in Cape town test in Jan 07 I just couldn't sleep well for a week. It was exactly the same feeling after the recent test defeat to Sri Lanka. Test cricket still evokes the deepest emotional connect in me.But I ll still watch the IPL to see how the great player play with and against each other. It is so much fun to see Smith and Warne on the same side celebrating a fall of wicket. But beyond that I actually dont care

  • Atish_G on April 24, 2009, 18:49 GMT

    Just enjoy the cricket, people !!!

  • Chinmay on April 24, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    @Pranab:"@Chinmay - I am a KKR guy and i would like to donate Ajit Agarkar to you free of cost, might even pay for his air fare to get him out of our hands. :)"

    I'll have Kaano Mulo over that Nehra guy we had last season or that Fernando guy we have this season any day :)

    And, no, Delhi isn't the favourite to win IPL 2. The favourites this season are Mumbai, because of the pitches the games are going to be played on.

  • Pranab on April 23, 2009, 6:38 GMT

    @Chinmay - I am a KKR guy and i would like to donate Ajit Agarkar to you free of cost, might even pay for his air fare to get him out of our hands. :)

    @Samir, Delhi has a good team this year and is a title favorite.. so all the best!!

  • Mohan on April 21, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    Marcus, I agree that a *tour* match currently doesn't generate much interest. Nor do Ranji matches. But that's because of how those matches are marketed and perceived by the fans. They are perceived to be sub-standard, second grade. Whereas IPL marketed itself as top class cricket and people lapped up city vs city matches with passion.

  • Mohan on April 21, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    Regarding fans in other countries being deprived of Test cricket - we have to consider the other kind of deprivation that is going on under the nation-vs-nation system. As last year's IPL showed, there is enough demand in every major Indian city to fill the stadium for 7 matches in 6 weeks. Yet, all that the Indian fans get to watch under the international system is one international match every 2 years, if they are lucky. Why? Because there is only one Indian team, they play about 10 odi's and 5 Tests at home every year and those 15 matches have to be distributed across 20 centers.

    As for whether Mumbai-Australia would be as popular as India-Australia - I see no reason why. Again, last year's IPL showed that intercity matches can generate huge interest. I see no reason why Mumbai-Aus or Karnataka-Pak won't generate the same level of interest, if not more. Entire India will be behind the Indian state teams.

  • Marcus on April 21, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    Mohan, unfortunately you're right about the lack of meaningful crowds in too many Test-playing countries. But despite this I still think there are plenty of fans in all of those countries who'd still be deprived if Test cricket were to be moved out of them.

    Would the success of a couple of individual New Zealanders in India boost the profile of the game in New Zealand? I'm not sure. But one thing I do know is that soccer in Australia has never been as popular here as it is now, after our qualification for the last World Cup- and although there have been Australian players doing well in England (Neill, Cahill etc.), it was the success of the national side that inspired so much passion in a previously-marginalised sport.

    I'm sure that every Indian state could produce a competitive Test side, but can you honestly say that a tour match between Australia and Mumbai inspires as much excitement as the B-G contests? And would it be any more popular if that game was given Test status?

  • Anindo on April 20, 2009, 11:49 GMT

    This article would have been relevant at the start of last year's IPL. Right now it is completely irrelevant and only shows that you did not follow the event last year. Would you have imagined a 100,000 delirious fans at the Den Gardens celebrating the dismissal of Virender Sehwag by Shoaib Akhtar? Well thats exactly what happened last year putting to rest all doubts over whetehr city-based francisees would work.

  • Mohan on April 19, 2009, 16:41 GMT

    Marcus, if you have seen the kind of crowds for Test cricket anywhere outside England and Australia, then there is no question of being unfair to the crowds. Because they are just non-existent. Also, it may be argued that watching a couple of their compatriots doing well and being successful is more likely to encourage kids to take up cricket in those countries than seeing their team getting thrashed everytime they step on to the field. As for NZ and SL running India close, sure. But then India is only required to produce one team as of now and the system has geared itself to do exactly that. But if you think from first principles, almost every state in India is bigger and more populous than Sri Lanka. They don't lack in terms of passion for cricket, per capita income, genetic make-up, facilities, etc. either. So if SL can produce a decent Test team, why not every Indian state? Only reason they haven't so far is that they are not required to.

  • Vikram on April 18, 2009, 19:50 GMT

    @Chinmay - I remember that game against Mark Taylor's squad. I saw most of it. Wonderful attacking innings from Sachin that laid the foundations of Warne's torment on that tour. Even in 2001, Steve Waugh's all-conquering, record-breaking team was put to the sword and Steve Waugh himself had to bat the entire last session with Damien Fleming to save the game. What a lesson in stone-walling that was! Contrast that to the very next game Australia played - the series opener at Wankhede.

  • Venkat on April 18, 2009, 19:30 GMT

    I think you are spot on. I have lived in Chennai all my life but the Super kings never evoked any real emotion in me. When India lost in Cape town test in Jan 07 I just couldn't sleep well for a week. It was exactly the same feeling after the recent test defeat to Sri Lanka. Test cricket still evokes the deepest emotional connect in me.But I ll still watch the IPL to see how the great player play with and against each other. It is so much fun to see Smith and Warne on the same side celebrating a fall of wicket. But beyond that I actually dont care

  • Marcus on April 18, 2009, 9:23 GMT

    And another thing. Smaller countries have often run the bigger countries pretty close. Sri Lanka even beat India last year, and New Zealand have until now been very competitve. So despite India's massive population, it's still finding itself involved in some pretty tough competition from smaller countries, which suggests to me that the talent at it's disposal isn't so much greater than New Zealand's or Sri Lanka's to warrant scrapping the international Test system.

    Apologies for the separate post, but this 1000-character limit can be a real pain in the neck sometimes.

  • Marcus on April 18, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    I can see the point you're making Mohan, but if you just get (say) Taylor and Ryder playing for a "Test" team based in Mumbai, then New Zealanders wouldn't have any access to any Test action on their own, would they? So you'd have all of these great players playing in a couple of concentrated areas where the only "Tests" would be played and the rest of the cricket world would get the dregs- because I can't see some private Mumbai franchise playing Tests in New Zealand when they could be playing to capacity crowds of 100,000 at home. So not only would that be unfair to the supporters in countries like New Zealand who'd never get to watch a Test, it would also deprive the game of the varying conditions around the world that help to make the game so interesting.

  • Chinmay on April 18, 2009, 7:25 GMT

    @Avi Singh: Yes, I agree with you to a certain extent. But, Mumbai did get Zaheer back, and we tried very hard to get Rohit and Romesh Powar back too.

    Muzumdar and Kulkarni are past it methinks. And IPL had a rule to have more youngsters, so they missed out. But watch 3 of the great young Mumbai players in action for MI this season - Dhawal Kulkarni (second highest wicket taker in Ranji last season), Ajinkya Rahane (second highest run scorer in Ranji last season) and Abhishek Nayar (who had good IPL last time). In the future, after current players go, you shall see more top players playing for their local side due to the current age group rule.

  • Singh - Australia on April 18, 2009, 5:24 GMT

    I myself cant c following IPL even though I was really excited about it before. It is not an Indian tourament anymore, rather just a money making exercise by BCCI and other business tycoons. There are a number of reasons which makes it a sham. Problem 1: It is not being played in India. Problem 2: Taking out capable Indian captains and making foreign players as captains. Eg Kicking out R Dravid and making KP captain for a while is still reasonable but after that Jac Kallis taking over is entirely STUPID. As he's no better captain or a T20 player than Rahul. Making Gilly a captain is still justified but kicking out Ganguly in favor of Brendan M is ridiculous Problem 3: Indian players are being given the outsider like treatment eg. Sending Mohd Kaif and other jr players back and keeping all these foreign players arnd in South Africa. So please dont go crazy over IPL as its just to make money and mockery of cric all over the world. DO conserve ur energies for T20 World Cup...

  • Avi Singh on April 18, 2009, 4:10 GMT

    One thing they should have done is have all the Indian players playing for their hometown team, where applicable. It was bizarre seeing Bombay boys Jaffer, Rohit Sharma and Agarkar all not playing for Bombay, and indeed great domestic servants like Muzumdar and Kulkarni were not even given the courtesy of a contract. The Bombay team didn't have many Bombay players, so I just ended up supporting the Fab Five- Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Kumble. Thus I had my foot in 4 camps, but was not that concerned about the team's results unless it led to unfair criticism about my favourite five!

  • Youvi on April 18, 2009, 3:50 GMT

    Samir-At the outset I do think Test cricket is truest test of cricketing skills. I think the shorter the version, luck plays a bigger role. I also agree one does tend to root for one's country when it comes to Test cricket or for that matter one' city/state when it comes to domestic cricket. However, there has always been some movement of players between different teams in the Indian domestic cricket set-up. Of course, in the earlier days it was not driven by money, perhaps in some cases by jobs. On the domestic scene- Vijay Manjrekar, Pataudi, Surinder Amarnath, K. Ghavri, Sandip Patil, Syed Kirmani and several others over the decades have changed teams, moving away from their "home" cities. I do empathize with what you write/feel though. Partly, I suspect may be because some of us have yet to come to terms with T20/IPL format of cricket. Last season I followed the IPL games but did not watch any. I expect to watch a few this season and that may make me (and you) believers yet !

  • Chinmay on April 18, 2009, 3:47 GMT

    @ Vikram: To be fair, Mumbai, at full strength, was a very good side even in 90s. You are looking at a middle order of Manjrekar, Tendulkar, Kamble and Amol Mujumdar, all in their prime. Who wouldn't want it? And our bowling attack was ok, with the likes of Kulkarni and Bahutule.

    I infact remember a game in 98 when the mighty Mumbai hammered Australia in a warm up match. It was Manjrekar's last FC match, and Tendulkar hit a double hundred in that game. Great times for Mumbai cricket.

  • VivaVizag on April 18, 2009, 3:22 GMT

    Its funny to see people get emotional and develop attachment to the farce that is IPL. Cricket as I see is just a coincidence in this whole corporate circus. Tactical time-outs in the middle of the game? Is this a gentleman's sport or a Harlem globe-trotter show? Further, it is DISGUSTING to see Priety Zinta cozying with Brett Lee, Shilpa with Warney, and above all SRK directing Saurav and calling the shots at KKR. These actors are not even qualified to carry the player's kit let alone ride the open-top bus. SRK, PZ, SS and the bollywood band wagon should stick to where their "talent" lies -- performing pelvic gyrations.

    I am an Indian and I cannot wait for World T20 or any nation vs. nation encounters.

  • Mohan on April 18, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    Marcus, fairest way is to allow free flow of talent. That is fair on weaker/smaller countries - they don't have to produce an entire team. If they have one or two good players, they can go and play with the best and give full expression to their talent rather than being forced to play with a bunch of losers (think Ryder and Taylor for NZ or Flower and Streak for Zimbabwe). It is fairer on those countries with abundance of talent too. There was no reason for Hussey and Clark to spend years in domestic cricket when lesser mortals in other countries were playing Test cricket. Just let the players play for any team and you will have the best playing with the best irrespective of which passport they hold.

    Samir, I am well aware of the reasons for nationalism in the 20th century ("my genes are better than theirs", "this religion cannot co-exist with that", etc), but hopefully we have moved past those and all that the nations serve as now is as administrative entities.

  • Ajith on April 18, 2009, 2:16 GMT

    Cant help thinking that even though cricket is a team game and nation vs nation is of paramount importance, dont we watch cricket for the heroes ? I mean i would watch a cricket match just because a certain Mr. Sachin Tendulkar is in full flow....so by natural progression, if it is a match involving Sachin, I would definitely follow it...and yes as mentioned in an earlier comment, I dont think any player would take money and not perform to his fullest potential, well that is a question of his integrity...To sum it up, if my favorite hero is part of some team, i would staunchly follow that team, since nationality is out of question...

  • Chiradeep on April 18, 2009, 0:47 GMT

    Ramesh, I am guessing you would enjoy drab British commentators on BBC babble about a game played in white clothes and enjoyed by a few retirees who would have trouble clapping thrice. I cannot fathom why people so dislike mixing sport and entertainment. Every sport has to earn its way forward otherwise it loses players and the ability to exist. This is just an experimental phase - perhaps there's a better mix than with Bollywood that might carry cricket forward, but the IPL is the right sort of change the game and its administrators needed. As for loyalty, I have been in the US of A for 6 years now and nothing has diminished my passion for the game. India losing to Aussies in Sydney and Sanath-Fernando messing up on the last ball still hurt. I guess if you don't look for justifications to be loyal to your city or club or country, I think it's fairly easy to immerse oneself into those rivalries. I lived in Atlanta for considerable time and it still hurts me when Braves lose - dunno why

  • Vikram on April 17, 2009, 22:22 GMT

    The Mumbai-Delhi rivalry is not a rivalry. Do the math! 38 versus...yes, 4. We are being very generous to Delhi when we mention them in the same sentence as Mumbai. As far as cricketing rivalries go, Mumbai-Karnataka is the definitive rivalry (at least statistically speaking). In the 90s, plucky Mumbai teams with few superstars would take on the might of Karnataka's Srinath, Prasad, Kumble, Dravid and Joshi and it made for compelling viewing.

  • saurabh on April 17, 2009, 22:20 GMT

    Samir, even before the last IPL started, I was with Delhi, I am a Delhi supporter through and through and nothing gives me more joy than Viru n Gambhir hitting the bowlers out of the park. Now I am back to reading ur post ;)

  • Chinmay on April 17, 2009, 22:04 GMT

    Wow... Delhi fans seem to really hate us. Personally though, I always consider Karnataka as Mumbai's greatest domestic rivals. Don't care much about what those guys with 4 Ranjis do or don't do :p

  • ramesh on April 17, 2009, 21:11 GMT

    wow, its not cricket dear, its business,which can have ups and downs, soon it will have. i m sorry but india is destroying the cricket structure by just glamour of films and people like preity and SRK are sucking here.

  • Mahek on April 17, 2009, 21:00 GMT

    I'm living in America but I found it really easy to root for Delhi and rejoicing in the defeats of Mumbai (Lived for 6 years in Delhi, it's like a second home to me after Ahmedabad). I loved it when Yuvraj gave it back to the Mumbai crowd after beating the "Indians" in their hellhole and I was jumping like a kid when Fernando and Jayasuriya bottled it off the last ball to let the Royals win (They have a lot of players from Gujarat and I'm Gujarati. Besides, the loss meant the Daredevils were through to the semis).

    Oh and Mumbai had no claim to being the "Indians". It's ridiculous they have that name but then most teams have ridiculous names so can't do much about it.

  • Voltaire on April 17, 2009, 20:00 GMT

    Nothing can ever beat a Nation v/s Nation in a sporting contest. As to Mohan's profound observation on Nation...astounding naivete. City/franchise based clubs can arouse passion/following if they have rich history like Soccer clubs. But even the die-hard Man U fan would swear that A World Cup victory for England would be a million times fulfilling than Man U winning Champions League/World Club Cup. Any team sport that lends itself to International competition on a regular basis will easily beat any Club/Fanchise based events for passion/feeling/affection. Even in as elitist Individual sport as Golf....nothing can beat the following for Ryder Cup. And despite the zillions in prof sport, player would want to win for their country and their greatness or lack of could be entirely defined by their Intl success. Pele/Maradona wouldn't be the all time geatest players ever if they had not won World Cups!

  • Aditya on April 17, 2009, 19:20 GMT

    Hey Samir

    You're definitely right about the North American situation regarding emotional attachment. I, too, live in this part of the world and I have to admit that maintaining a close emotional relationship to teams like the Toronto Raptors or Los Angeles Lakers is tough for reasons that you outlined rather well. However, when it comes to supporting India, I'm all guns blazing. Nevertheless, the IPL is about entertainment. It's about the best playing alongside the best against the best (if that makes sense). As they say, may the best team win. Personally, I support Delhi and Bangalore. Why? Because of Sehwag/Gambhir for the former and Pietersen, Warner and Ryder for the latter. If I'm watching a game where neither of these two teams play, I'll obviously support the team that plays better cricket.

  • saurav on April 17, 2009, 18:33 GMT

    I agree with Marcus. I never felt any loyalty towards my so called home team. Just because a business model has been created by corporate cultures in developed societies doesn't mean we have to ape it. In the end, its about grabbing eyeballs. Nobody would have given a hoot if this tournament consisted of unknown local players. The attendance & coverage in most of India's domestic tournaments is testimony to this. It reminds me of Brad Pitt's lines in Fight Club- Advertising has us chasing cars & clothes,working jobs we hate so that we can buy s*** we don't need. The fact that its about money & nothing else was driven home when the Rajasthan team sent back young players from SA to save expenses, throwing to wind all so-called noble intentions about development of young Indian players. It beats me as to why they are even using the word Indian in the IPL.

  • Samir Chopra on April 17, 2009, 18:23 GMT

    Glad to see some Delhi-Bombay crossfire here!

    Tejas: I'm willing to give it a shot this year - to see if I start caring.

    Anabayan: Your first point is a good one, and deserves a closer look. Thanks. I'll probably follow-up in this regard. Your last point, not so much :)

  • Anabayan Kris on April 17, 2009, 17:54 GMT

    Hey Samir,

    Perhaps you being so far away in a non-cricketing nation without peers to share your passion made you indifferent to identify with a franchise. Also last year's IPL being just the first year and still underdeveloped or rather developing format had to do with your indifference. Or just the subtle stance cricinfo seems to have taken against the IPL got to you too( just read any article about the IPL- you are bound to notice at least 3 condescending adjectives about IPL for every 10 sentences.)

    Cheers

  • Chinmay on April 17, 2009, 17:20 GMT

    I am from Mumbai and a big fan of our Ranji team (I hate Delhi, UP and especially Karnataka with passion), but unlike Samir I had no problems with supporting Mumbai Indians. I was heartbroken when we lost to Royals in our penultimate match... we were so close to winning it and getting to Semis. It might have something to do with me actually attending the home matches though. And our very own Marathi hero Sachin Tendulkar. Still, I was disappointed we did not get Rohit Sharma, Ajit Agarkar, Jaffer and Romesh Powar, four of our outstanding Ranji players.

  • Faisal Taquie on April 17, 2009, 15:56 GMT

    Good analysis! I have mentioned this earlier as well that the emotional attachement as in Euro leagues or in NFL etc. is impossible because in those two leagues, there are not a lot of cultural differences among the players. Have you wondered why there is so much passion for NFL as opposed to NHL? Part of the reason is that NFL is mostly N. American players where NHL has tons of international players. Cricket has been a sport of international rivalry and it should remain so. Although, I think IPL type tournaments are really good for players livelihood...so no harm with that. But like you mentioned, I would be more emotionally attached for a close contest between Pakistan vs. India or any other international match as opposed to a close contest in the IPL.

  • Marcus on April 17, 2009, 14:27 GMT

    Mohan, if India shouldn't be limited to one Test team, then how many Test teams are they entitled to? How would you make that determination? Say, 1 team for 10,000,000 people (and your comment implies that you support team allocation based on population) would not only flood the scene with dozens of Indian and Pakistani teams, but also cut Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the West Indies out of Test cricket full stop. The best, most fair way to determine playing status is to allow each country one team- that way, the smaller countries still get a chance to compete, and the larger countries still have all the resources that come with a large population available to field and train a quality team. And that is why nation vs. nation is the best way to structure international cricket.

  • AB on April 17, 2009, 14:12 GMT

    FYI - The team name is Mumbai "Indians". Probably the most apt of all names. Even if you don't support them, you can appreciate the fact that the name tried to embody the spirit of city a lot better than the Kings, Daredevils, Super Kings or Knight riders..

  • tejas on April 17, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    Samir, Possibly the only similarities between you and I are that I too live on the East coast, I too wasnt able to fathom the idea of supporting a ciy based team pre-IPL 1. However, the similarities end there. unlike you, I did get the broadband package and I must tell you, that the fake tension you mention is non-existent. It infact is real tension. Look, national teams or not, these players have been paid certain amount of money to perform. Just like any other corporate structure. I'm paid a salary to perform for my company and though its an American/British company, I dont say that I wont perform the same since its not an Indian firm. that would be very foolish of me. In the same vein, these players are expected to perform at their best and if not, see what Mohammed Kaif got-current form or poor showing last season, its up to you. So, here's my little advice, watch the games with an open mind and you'll see that you are engulfed by this high wire event for the next 36 days.

  • Uday Chatterjee on April 17, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    "Perhaps this detachment is required from the game." - Completely agree. It's refreshing that one can take a break from the jingoism and enjoy the game. The India-Pakistan series a couple of years ago hyped by the media as the LOC (Lions of Cricket?!) series comes to mind.

  • Sagar on April 17, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Though I totally understand the apparent superficiality of the competition here, I think the city leagues is a natural progression and evolution for cricket.

    Cricket to evolve needs to have more cricket. This might sound contrary to what many fear about player exhaustion. we need 150 countries to be playing cricket, contributing players to the top leagues and atleast 40-50 countries in the top echelons of the game.

    That would change the way cricket is competed. I can assure you there will be a great deal more competition and excitement in the game then. Just as progression from 2 countries playing the game to 10 countries playing the game didn't dilute a bit, 10 countries to 150 wont dilute a bit. And to achieve that kind of spread, we need more opportunities for cricketers from all countries to play. That can only happen with these leagues. In next few years, i see many many more leagues coming up and players from Uganda, Afghanistan, Denmark, Papua New Guinea, Canada can compete.

  • Samir Chopra on April 17, 2009, 13:18 GMT

    Mohan: Sorry, I can't let this pass: "just because a geographic area calls itself a nation for administrative purposes"? I can assure you, nationalism has *nothing*, *absolutely nothing* to do with administrative convenience. 20th century history bears adequate testimony to that.

  • Mohan on April 17, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    You must be in a minority, then. Last year most people I knew started off the same way, "will we really be able to identify with these teams". But half way into the tournament, the identification was almost completed. Bangalore team had become "our team" and their losses were discussed with as much passion and despair as those of Indian team's.

    The sooner cricket (and its fans) get rid of this notion that nation vs nation is the only viable form of the game, the better it is for the game. Nation vs nation is a stupid structure. The underlying assumption that just because a geographic area calls itself a nation for administrative purposes, the said area will be able to produce one and only one Test class team is absurd, when you think about it. If Sri Lanka with a population of 5 million can produce a Test team, there is absolutely no reason to limit India with a billion people (and similar economic parameters as SL) to just one Test team.

  • Adhip on April 17, 2009, 10:54 GMT

    IPL is very young and we do not know whether the jamboree will turn into a battle of styles in future. When I moved to North London, I felt the same about EPL. Over the years, I started following Arsenal and despite several changes in the team, perhaps owing to presence of Arsene Wenger and the style of play, and irrespetive of the lack of silverware, I now find it comfortable to support a professional franchise. Hopefully this will continue long after I have moved out of North London.

  • Homer on April 17, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    Samir,

    stodgy, tiffin-packing Bombay-wallahs have won the Ranji 38 times."bold, bustling" Dilli won 4.

    See the contrast.. Yeah, we are that good...

    Cheers,

  • Marcus on April 17, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    I feel exactly the same way. I just can't get worked up over a couple of teams where it's just a bunch of foreign mercenaries playing in the name of cities they have no other connection to. Say whatever you will about the Stanford series, at least the teams were genuine domestic West Indian teams based on national pride, which to me is far more meaningful than the glitz of the IPL.

    Bring on the Ashes!

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  • Marcus on April 17, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    I feel exactly the same way. I just can't get worked up over a couple of teams where it's just a bunch of foreign mercenaries playing in the name of cities they have no other connection to. Say whatever you will about the Stanford series, at least the teams were genuine domestic West Indian teams based on national pride, which to me is far more meaningful than the glitz of the IPL.

    Bring on the Ashes!

  • Homer on April 17, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    Samir,

    stodgy, tiffin-packing Bombay-wallahs have won the Ranji 38 times."bold, bustling" Dilli won 4.

    See the contrast.. Yeah, we are that good...

    Cheers,

  • Adhip on April 17, 2009, 10:54 GMT

    IPL is very young and we do not know whether the jamboree will turn into a battle of styles in future. When I moved to North London, I felt the same about EPL. Over the years, I started following Arsenal and despite several changes in the team, perhaps owing to presence of Arsene Wenger and the style of play, and irrespetive of the lack of silverware, I now find it comfortable to support a professional franchise. Hopefully this will continue long after I have moved out of North London.

  • Mohan on April 17, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    You must be in a minority, then. Last year most people I knew started off the same way, "will we really be able to identify with these teams". But half way into the tournament, the identification was almost completed. Bangalore team had become "our team" and their losses were discussed with as much passion and despair as those of Indian team's.

    The sooner cricket (and its fans) get rid of this notion that nation vs nation is the only viable form of the game, the better it is for the game. Nation vs nation is a stupid structure. The underlying assumption that just because a geographic area calls itself a nation for administrative purposes, the said area will be able to produce one and only one Test class team is absurd, when you think about it. If Sri Lanka with a population of 5 million can produce a Test team, there is absolutely no reason to limit India with a billion people (and similar economic parameters as SL) to just one Test team.

  • Samir Chopra on April 17, 2009, 13:18 GMT

    Mohan: Sorry, I can't let this pass: "just because a geographic area calls itself a nation for administrative purposes"? I can assure you, nationalism has *nothing*, *absolutely nothing* to do with administrative convenience. 20th century history bears adequate testimony to that.

  • Sagar on April 17, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Though I totally understand the apparent superficiality of the competition here, I think the city leagues is a natural progression and evolution for cricket.

    Cricket to evolve needs to have more cricket. This might sound contrary to what many fear about player exhaustion. we need 150 countries to be playing cricket, contributing players to the top leagues and atleast 40-50 countries in the top echelons of the game.

    That would change the way cricket is competed. I can assure you there will be a great deal more competition and excitement in the game then. Just as progression from 2 countries playing the game to 10 countries playing the game didn't dilute a bit, 10 countries to 150 wont dilute a bit. And to achieve that kind of spread, we need more opportunities for cricketers from all countries to play. That can only happen with these leagues. In next few years, i see many many more leagues coming up and players from Uganda, Afghanistan, Denmark, Papua New Guinea, Canada can compete.

  • Uday Chatterjee on April 17, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    "Perhaps this detachment is required from the game." - Completely agree. It's refreshing that one can take a break from the jingoism and enjoy the game. The India-Pakistan series a couple of years ago hyped by the media as the LOC (Lions of Cricket?!) series comes to mind.

  • tejas on April 17, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    Samir, Possibly the only similarities between you and I are that I too live on the East coast, I too wasnt able to fathom the idea of supporting a ciy based team pre-IPL 1. However, the similarities end there. unlike you, I did get the broadband package and I must tell you, that the fake tension you mention is non-existent. It infact is real tension. Look, national teams or not, these players have been paid certain amount of money to perform. Just like any other corporate structure. I'm paid a salary to perform for my company and though its an American/British company, I dont say that I wont perform the same since its not an Indian firm. that would be very foolish of me. In the same vein, these players are expected to perform at their best and if not, see what Mohammed Kaif got-current form or poor showing last season, its up to you. So, here's my little advice, watch the games with an open mind and you'll see that you are engulfed by this high wire event for the next 36 days.

  • AB on April 17, 2009, 14:12 GMT

    FYI - The team name is Mumbai "Indians". Probably the most apt of all names. Even if you don't support them, you can appreciate the fact that the name tried to embody the spirit of city a lot better than the Kings, Daredevils, Super Kings or Knight riders..

  • Marcus on April 17, 2009, 14:27 GMT

    Mohan, if India shouldn't be limited to one Test team, then how many Test teams are they entitled to? How would you make that determination? Say, 1 team for 10,000,000 people (and your comment implies that you support team allocation based on population) would not only flood the scene with dozens of Indian and Pakistani teams, but also cut Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the West Indies out of Test cricket full stop. The best, most fair way to determine playing status is to allow each country one team- that way, the smaller countries still get a chance to compete, and the larger countries still have all the resources that come with a large population available to field and train a quality team. And that is why nation vs. nation is the best way to structure international cricket.