Samir Chopra May 14, 2009

Have you found your IPL team?

So the IPL's charms haven't worked on me as yet
18

A couple of weeks ago, I announced my intention to give this year's IPL a go, i.e., to try and see if I could get myself to support a team in cricket that was not a national representative side. I picked two teams: the Delhi Daredevils, because, I'm from Delhi (I still say that even though I left 'home in 1987), and Kings XI Punjab, because, well, my last name says so. I went for hometown and ethnic affiliation. I bought myself a broadband video package that gives me live telecasts,replays and highlights of all the games. I even baited Mumbai fans, just to get myself pumped up.

I'm not sure that all of this has worked for me. The first indication of this came in the Delhi vs. Chennai game on May 2nd. Delhi were chasing Chennai's 163, and to be honest, I was getting into the swing of things. After Dilshan fell with the score at 53, Dinesh Karthik and David Warner came together, and seemed to be taking Delhi toward Chennai's total. Both were batting well, and victory looked within sight. And since both players are not Delhi locals, my support for them could be seen to be a reasonably good indicator of the IPL's ability to overcome my desire to have just homegrown folks playing for my hometowns team. Of course, I've admired Karthik as a player for the Indian team (and even had high hopes he would find a permanent place in the side) so I'm sure that played some part in my perceptions of the situation.

But something interesting happened in the 16th over. Shadab Jakati, a young Goan spinner, who had already impressed me by bowling Dilshan with a beauty, was in action, and after being hit for two fours by Karthik, came on to bowl to Warner. At that moment, rather than wishing that Delhi continue their charge, I found myself cheering for the Indian youngster against the Australian newbie. Suddenly, my desire to see Delhi, supposedly my team, beat Chennai, was eclipsed my desire to see an Indian spinner put one over the Aussie bludgeoner. When Jakati had Warner stumped, I was delighted. Guile had done in power, always a good result to see in Twenty20, and an Indian lad had done in an Aussie one. National pride had poked its head up.

Delhi lost the game, and I went back to being disappointed when locals Manhas, Sangwan and Bhatia all failed to support Karthik adequately. Somehow, in the midst of a Delhi-Chennai game, Id managed to let an India-Australia matchup distract me.

And then of course, there was the Delhi-Mumbai game; if there was a game I should have been able to get excited about, it was this one. But somehow, at the end, when Delhi had won, it was hard to convince myself that we had put one over the old enemy. Indeed, I couldn't even bring myself to send a gloat or two to my Mumbai friends (the ones who cared about the result, that is). I'm really not sure why this was the case, and to date, I'm no closer to understanding why a Delhi-Mumbai game didn't get me riled up. Was it because I don't think these are 'real' Delhi and Mumbai outfits? I've heard some Mumbai fans disown this unit as just "Ambani's lot", and yet others say "A Mumbai team is a Mumbai team". But I do know that my reactions on beating Mumbai in a Ranji game would not have been as muted as they were in beating them in their IPL matchup.

So the IPL's charms haven't worked on me as yet. Perhaps if I was matching the games with friends in tow, my reactions would have been different. It's hard to get really excited about an IPL game when you are watching it alone at home on a 19-inch monitor. The lack of such company (noted in the comments section in my last post on the IPL by reader Anabayan) is crucial, and it will be the subject of my next post.

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

  • Divyanshu Gupta on May 19, 2009, 11:00 GMT

    Going to Ranji Delhi vs Mumbai, It will be fun watching the full strenth team (BCCI permitting) Viru, Gambhir, Ishant, Sangwan, Nehra, Akash Chopra, Rajat Bhatia Vs Sachin, Zaheer, Rahane, Nayar, Let's hope for some break from International cricket

  • Sam on May 18, 2009, 9:24 GMT

    I haven't really been able to follow the IPL, since as a poor student in England Satellite TV is not really within my reach. I watched some last year and found that watching from a neutral point of view could be entertaining, someting that does not happen when I watch Test matches, where I always find a team to support, be it Eng, SA, SL, Pakistan, or non-Aussies in general.

    I do remain suspicious because I find the attitude of the BCCI towards the ICL rather dishonourable, and am severely peeved that they have robbed the world game of such magnificent players as Moh'd Yousuf.

  • waterbuffalo on May 17, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    If there is a Pakistani IPL team then I will support it, even though my name is Feroz and my favourite batsman in the world (together with Mohd. Yousuf) is Virender Sehwag.

  • TellaNovella on May 16, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    For those of us who reside outside India, perhaps we would be better served were we to support good cricket as opposed to forcing ourselves to ally with a particular team (or teams). Either way I believe it will be years before IPL franchises develop the kind of loyalties we see in the football leagues around the world.

    On another note, you could try hooking your computer up to your TV with an S-video cable and then inviting people over. Works for me.

  • HMMM on May 16, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    @VivaVizag , it's thought

  • VivaVizag on May 14, 2009, 17:14 GMT

    Samir, I am one of those who derided IPL concept vis-a-vis national teams in your last post. However, things have changed as the tournament progressed. I have been predicting the winners well in the tournament and it drew my interest. I am transcending the geographical allegiances (I am originally from Vizag and for some reason I cannot relate to Deccan Chargers or Hyderabad)and I am going with: 1. DareDevils-they have the nice fire power in all depts and who would 've thunk Nannes is going to bench McGrath! 2. Royals-they still are the team with most underdogs, provided a thriller game of the tournament so far -super over!, and also they have the 'kool' replica jersey I can wear. 3. Mumbai Indians - after all Sachin is GOD and he embodies everything an Indian ever aspires to. 4. May be Chennai (Dhoni is street smart although the team colors burn my retinas). Finally, for the record, I am a die-hard fan of dada(my family has roots in WB), however, I dislike SRK & JB to the CORE.

  • JK on May 14, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    Being a loyal RCB supporter, my only predicament is to know which other team to support when RCB is not involved. Frankly for me it is not a question of ethnic or national identity, but just if my favorite players are involved..I support RCB because I support any team that has Kumble and Dravid, the 2 stalwarts of Indian and World cricket who continue to get lesser recognition than players half their calibre.... My other favorites are Warne, Hayden, and Gilly..hence I have decided to support RR, CSK, and DC in RCBs absence...

  • kapokkid on May 14, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    The IPL is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. It is more of an entertainment package than a cricket match. It is not for everybody just like a Test match isn't for everybody. I know of a lot of people who do not understand the nuances of Test cricket but enjoy the hit and giggle variety of the T20. This isn't wrong in any sense. It is their choice. T20 is not too different from the super sixes or the Max games but only happens at a bigger stage and has a ton load of cash and PR associated with it.

    It's the difference between a classic and your standard novels that come out every year. Everyone has their likes and dislikes.

  • Kaushik Lakshman on May 14, 2009, 10:42 GMT

    I stay alone && have watched all the matches alone && have enjoyed many of them. So watching alone is not the problem. Also i am a diehard fan of Mumbai && Bangalore && find myself furious wen they lose. But in a way i sympathise with u bcoz there r no Aussies in both the teams tht i support. Mayb it wud hve been different if there had been an aussie in either of the teams..

  • Vishnu on May 14, 2009, 10:41 GMT

    The greatest plus I see from the IPL is that we (fans/commentators) can see the cricket from a purely neutral point of view. If the cricket is good we appreciate it. Too often, national allegiance prevents us from fully appreciating the opposition when they beat us.Some of us (eg my wife) support our local team, but I have no such hangups. Its a relief, because when the national team plays our emotional investment is much more. When our IPL team loses, it does'nt hurt as much. Thats my opinion.

    Ultimately, the IPL's survival depends on cricket and great performances which cricket fans will appreciate (even english journalists ;). If not it will be a sideshow of businessmen, administrators and actresses producing hyperbole and nothing else.

  • Divyanshu Gupta on May 19, 2009, 11:00 GMT

    Going to Ranji Delhi vs Mumbai, It will be fun watching the full strenth team (BCCI permitting) Viru, Gambhir, Ishant, Sangwan, Nehra, Akash Chopra, Rajat Bhatia Vs Sachin, Zaheer, Rahane, Nayar, Let's hope for some break from International cricket

  • Sam on May 18, 2009, 9:24 GMT

    I haven't really been able to follow the IPL, since as a poor student in England Satellite TV is not really within my reach. I watched some last year and found that watching from a neutral point of view could be entertaining, someting that does not happen when I watch Test matches, where I always find a team to support, be it Eng, SA, SL, Pakistan, or non-Aussies in general.

    I do remain suspicious because I find the attitude of the BCCI towards the ICL rather dishonourable, and am severely peeved that they have robbed the world game of such magnificent players as Moh'd Yousuf.

  • waterbuffalo on May 17, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    If there is a Pakistani IPL team then I will support it, even though my name is Feroz and my favourite batsman in the world (together with Mohd. Yousuf) is Virender Sehwag.

  • TellaNovella on May 16, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    For those of us who reside outside India, perhaps we would be better served were we to support good cricket as opposed to forcing ourselves to ally with a particular team (or teams). Either way I believe it will be years before IPL franchises develop the kind of loyalties we see in the football leagues around the world.

    On another note, you could try hooking your computer up to your TV with an S-video cable and then inviting people over. Works for me.

  • HMMM on May 16, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    @VivaVizag , it's thought

  • VivaVizag on May 14, 2009, 17:14 GMT

    Samir, I am one of those who derided IPL concept vis-a-vis national teams in your last post. However, things have changed as the tournament progressed. I have been predicting the winners well in the tournament and it drew my interest. I am transcending the geographical allegiances (I am originally from Vizag and for some reason I cannot relate to Deccan Chargers or Hyderabad)and I am going with: 1. DareDevils-they have the nice fire power in all depts and who would 've thunk Nannes is going to bench McGrath! 2. Royals-they still are the team with most underdogs, provided a thriller game of the tournament so far -super over!, and also they have the 'kool' replica jersey I can wear. 3. Mumbai Indians - after all Sachin is GOD and he embodies everything an Indian ever aspires to. 4. May be Chennai (Dhoni is street smart although the team colors burn my retinas). Finally, for the record, I am a die-hard fan of dada(my family has roots in WB), however, I dislike SRK & JB to the CORE.

  • JK on May 14, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    Being a loyal RCB supporter, my only predicament is to know which other team to support when RCB is not involved. Frankly for me it is not a question of ethnic or national identity, but just if my favorite players are involved..I support RCB because I support any team that has Kumble and Dravid, the 2 stalwarts of Indian and World cricket who continue to get lesser recognition than players half their calibre.... My other favorites are Warne, Hayden, and Gilly..hence I have decided to support RR, CSK, and DC in RCBs absence...

  • kapokkid on May 14, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    The IPL is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. It is more of an entertainment package than a cricket match. It is not for everybody just like a Test match isn't for everybody. I know of a lot of people who do not understand the nuances of Test cricket but enjoy the hit and giggle variety of the T20. This isn't wrong in any sense. It is their choice. T20 is not too different from the super sixes or the Max games but only happens at a bigger stage and has a ton load of cash and PR associated with it.

    It's the difference between a classic and your standard novels that come out every year. Everyone has their likes and dislikes.

  • Kaushik Lakshman on May 14, 2009, 10:42 GMT

    I stay alone && have watched all the matches alone && have enjoyed many of them. So watching alone is not the problem. Also i am a diehard fan of Mumbai && Bangalore && find myself furious wen they lose. But in a way i sympathise with u bcoz there r no Aussies in both the teams tht i support. Mayb it wud hve been different if there had been an aussie in either of the teams..

  • Vishnu on May 14, 2009, 10:41 GMT

    The greatest plus I see from the IPL is that we (fans/commentators) can see the cricket from a purely neutral point of view. If the cricket is good we appreciate it. Too often, national allegiance prevents us from fully appreciating the opposition when they beat us.Some of us (eg my wife) support our local team, but I have no such hangups. Its a relief, because when the national team plays our emotional investment is much more. When our IPL team loses, it does'nt hurt as much. Thats my opinion.

    Ultimately, the IPL's survival depends on cricket and great performances which cricket fans will appreciate (even english journalists ;). If not it will be a sideshow of businessmen, administrators and actresses producing hyperbole and nothing else.

  • astik on May 14, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    i would say that you really think too much.

    _ we get to see some hard-fought matches between evenly matched teams (well, KKR is an exception) _ we get to see some spars that would have been stuff of 'what if articles' (murali/mendis to jaya, hayden/gilly facing warne) _ finally, some dream pairings of legends (sachin and jaya, gilly and gibbs, kumble and kallis)

    enjoy IPL for the cricket and players on offer.i am sure that you do not find any spiritual or metaphysical reason for all your activities.

    on a totally different note, i have seen quiet a few articles deriding (not meant for you Samir) the concept of IPL. when i am unable to develop an appreciation for an initiative, i do not get into it. more importantly, i do not write about the -ives, publish it, and take money for it. but, to each his own.

    note: no malicious intent and no offense to anybody.

  • Chinmay on May 14, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    What do you mean by "on beating Mumbai in a Ranji game"? That's pure fantasy!

    And, this is exactly why Mumbaikars are the best cricket fans. No selfrespecting Mumbai fans will ever cheer for the opposition :p.

    On a serious note, this IPL does not have the magic of the last edition due to lack of partisan fans. I haven't been as interested and excited as I was last year either. IPL really needs the crowd in packed Indian stadiums to make it work.

  • praneet on May 14, 2009, 8:34 GMT

    Being a Delhi fan(actually from Haryana but ki farak painda hai with so many jats in the squad)..i'm too finding it very hard to "passionatly" support my local team..but Delhi somehow seems the right team because unlike other teams like Rajasthan they have players who actually play for the state. Apart from the keeper they had 5 delhi players yesterday.

  • Nish on May 14, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    You are right it is crucially important for you to not just support your team when watching them but to have friends who support other teams/your team. This bridges the gap between a sport on TV and your everyday real life. When you find yourself humoured for Delhi's performance, you will want them to win it more. And then your gloating will become genuine.

    The IPL is not doing itself any favours in building up a fan-base amongst people such as you. It needs to promote cricket and city-based rivalries as the core of the IPL.

    The India-Australia thing can't be helped. There are other successful similar leagues that have overseas players where national loyalties can come into play. A good American example would be the NHL. But that doesn't diminish from the great fan rivalries that go on.

    My advice: organize a trip to India during the next IPL (assuming it in India) and make it a point to visit 2-3 Delhi games at the Kotla and get absorbed in the atmosphere.

  • Mohan on May 14, 2009, 7:02 GMT

    You should have heard the spontaneous roar that went up at my place from all the 15 people watching the Bangalore-Mumbai game when Du Preez had Tendulkar caught at first slip. Because we knew that damn shortie's was an important wicket. Or my daughters calling me up and telling me excitedly that "we won! we won!" after Ross Taylor had plundered Ishant Sharma and Ajit Agarkar all over the park.

  • Vikram Pyati on May 14, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    I think its individual perspective. I am a supporter of Royal Challengers Bangalore and am rooting for them 100% from the start. Even the captaincy change in the first 6 matches didn't deter me from supporting them. Though I think it will take some time before each city based franchisee has mass support. It has happened in football, why can't it happen in cricket ?

  • Saptarshi on May 14, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    Daredevils all the way man.

  • myth buster on May 14, 2009, 5:22 GMT

    When the quintessential arch rival Shoiab Akhtar dismissed the quintessential patriot Sehwag, Kolkatta erupted & pretty much defined that city rivalries trumps national sentiments. Of course there are hundreds of blogs like the one above which presumes that they & their thought matter on these subject. It doesn't, get over it

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  • myth buster on May 14, 2009, 5:22 GMT

    When the quintessential arch rival Shoiab Akhtar dismissed the quintessential patriot Sehwag, Kolkatta erupted & pretty much defined that city rivalries trumps national sentiments. Of course there are hundreds of blogs like the one above which presumes that they & their thought matter on these subject. It doesn't, get over it

  • Saptarshi on May 14, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    Daredevils all the way man.

  • Vikram Pyati on May 14, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    I think its individual perspective. I am a supporter of Royal Challengers Bangalore and am rooting for them 100% from the start. Even the captaincy change in the first 6 matches didn't deter me from supporting them. Though I think it will take some time before each city based franchisee has mass support. It has happened in football, why can't it happen in cricket ?

  • Mohan on May 14, 2009, 7:02 GMT

    You should have heard the spontaneous roar that went up at my place from all the 15 people watching the Bangalore-Mumbai game when Du Preez had Tendulkar caught at first slip. Because we knew that damn shortie's was an important wicket. Or my daughters calling me up and telling me excitedly that "we won! we won!" after Ross Taylor had plundered Ishant Sharma and Ajit Agarkar all over the park.

  • Nish on May 14, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    You are right it is crucially important for you to not just support your team when watching them but to have friends who support other teams/your team. This bridges the gap between a sport on TV and your everyday real life. When you find yourself humoured for Delhi's performance, you will want them to win it more. And then your gloating will become genuine.

    The IPL is not doing itself any favours in building up a fan-base amongst people such as you. It needs to promote cricket and city-based rivalries as the core of the IPL.

    The India-Australia thing can't be helped. There are other successful similar leagues that have overseas players where national loyalties can come into play. A good American example would be the NHL. But that doesn't diminish from the great fan rivalries that go on.

    My advice: organize a trip to India during the next IPL (assuming it in India) and make it a point to visit 2-3 Delhi games at the Kotla and get absorbed in the atmosphere.

  • praneet on May 14, 2009, 8:34 GMT

    Being a Delhi fan(actually from Haryana but ki farak painda hai with so many jats in the squad)..i'm too finding it very hard to "passionatly" support my local team..but Delhi somehow seems the right team because unlike other teams like Rajasthan they have players who actually play for the state. Apart from the keeper they had 5 delhi players yesterday.

  • Chinmay on May 14, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    What do you mean by "on beating Mumbai in a Ranji game"? That's pure fantasy!

    And, this is exactly why Mumbaikars are the best cricket fans. No selfrespecting Mumbai fans will ever cheer for the opposition :p.

    On a serious note, this IPL does not have the magic of the last edition due to lack of partisan fans. I haven't been as interested and excited as I was last year either. IPL really needs the crowd in packed Indian stadiums to make it work.

  • astik on May 14, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    i would say that you really think too much.

    _ we get to see some hard-fought matches between evenly matched teams (well, KKR is an exception) _ we get to see some spars that would have been stuff of 'what if articles' (murali/mendis to jaya, hayden/gilly facing warne) _ finally, some dream pairings of legends (sachin and jaya, gilly and gibbs, kumble and kallis)

    enjoy IPL for the cricket and players on offer.i am sure that you do not find any spiritual or metaphysical reason for all your activities.

    on a totally different note, i have seen quiet a few articles deriding (not meant for you Samir) the concept of IPL. when i am unable to develop an appreciation for an initiative, i do not get into it. more importantly, i do not write about the -ives, publish it, and take money for it. but, to each his own.

    note: no malicious intent and no offense to anybody.

  • Vishnu on May 14, 2009, 10:41 GMT

    The greatest plus I see from the IPL is that we (fans/commentators) can see the cricket from a purely neutral point of view. If the cricket is good we appreciate it. Too often, national allegiance prevents us from fully appreciating the opposition when they beat us.Some of us (eg my wife) support our local team, but I have no such hangups. Its a relief, because when the national team plays our emotional investment is much more. When our IPL team loses, it does'nt hurt as much. Thats my opinion.

    Ultimately, the IPL's survival depends on cricket and great performances which cricket fans will appreciate (even english journalists ;). If not it will be a sideshow of businessmen, administrators and actresses producing hyperbole and nothing else.

  • Kaushik Lakshman on May 14, 2009, 10:42 GMT

    I stay alone && have watched all the matches alone && have enjoyed many of them. So watching alone is not the problem. Also i am a diehard fan of Mumbai && Bangalore && find myself furious wen they lose. But in a way i sympathise with u bcoz there r no Aussies in both the teams tht i support. Mayb it wud hve been different if there had been an aussie in either of the teams..