IPL April 24, 2010

Less Lalit, more hot air

The financial controversy in the IPL has meant viewers are denied their daily dose of the Modi and instead get to see more of the blimp
20


Yo coach, this bat needs some time in the sin bin © Indian Premier League
 

Earlier in the week, a reader invited me to discuss the unfortunate allegations made against the IPL. I am not qualified to stick my nose into financial matters, so will restrain myself on that score, although I will say that one unforeseen and of course regrettable consequence of the tamasha of the last few days was a significant reduction in Lalit Modi screentime during Thursday’s semi-final, a decline in the televisual value of the Modi that some estimates put as high as 100%.

Instead of the lovely Lalit, we were treated to more views of the blessed blimp (of which more anon) and that towering monument to all that is bling: the IPL trophy. The diamond-studded monstrosity has been hidden away for much of IPL 3, presumably because it might discourage the players, but now that the financial storm clouds are gathering, a tidy solution presents itself. Why not return the trophy to the House of Tat from whence it came for a tidy refund? Let us all hope that Lalit kept the receipt.

The game itself reeked of nervous tension. The pitch at Navi Mumbai demanded a certain amount of digging in, but all the batsmen sooner or later felt compelled to obey the voice in their heads, their inner Sergeant Major, ordering them to charge headlong towards the enemy, no matter how tricky the terrain. Monish Mishra was one of many to do just that and the slow motion replay of his demise was accompanied by an ear-drum popping roar of distorted angst that could be heard in Hyderabad.

And then there were the oldies. No-one can be entirely sure at what point it happens, but somewhere in his mid-thirties, the professional cricketer undergoes a reverse metamorphosis, like a soaring butterfly entering a cocoon to emerge as wrinkly and unspectacular as the rest of us. Matthew Hayden, Herschelle Gibbs and Adam Gilchrist were three of the most thrilling batsmen of their generation. On Thursday they looked like fathers trying to recapture their glory years at a school sports day.

Hayden was all thick edges and mistimed drives. He gave three chances and if Deccan had dropped the third, would no doubt have offered a fourth and a fifth as well. Gibbs meanwhile, wasn’t just batting like a millionaire, but a millionaire intent on squandering his fortune in the shortest possible time. He finally played on to a short wide one that turned out to be not particularly short and not terribly wide. As he left the crease, he shook his head in disbelief, which is a little surprising, given that he’d done something similar on roughly a hundred previous occasions.

And then there was Gilchrist, still at his peak as a keeper, dismissing the bails from the stumps with the alacrity of a glutton slapping away the hand of a fellow diner going for the same éclair. But it is distressing to watch him bat. He lunges and flaps where once he conjured and shocked. As he walked off, he looked disapprovingly at his bat, as though it was a rookie Charger who had let the side down. Twenty20 is the cruellest format and the IPL is no league for old men.

Finally, we all know how exciting the blimp is and that it is imbued with much significance, but is it now alive? With the game swinging Chennai’s way, Ravi Shastri revealed, as the balloon filled our screens for the 94th time, that it might be having a little chuckle, being from Chennai. This got my attention, so I paid closer attention to the bag of hot air (I mean the blimp, don’t be cheeky). I’ve got to be honest, as dirigibles go, it wasn’t particularly chatty. Perhaps it was saving itself for the final. Maybe, if it isn’t too busy, it might like to do a stint in the commentary box?

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nagaraj on April 26, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    huges=media we have seen media praising one day & blaming next day its very common

    Dont forget hayden is the top scorer of IPL2 @ Gilly is the captan of IPL2 campions

  • MRF Blimp on April 26, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    Does MRF make vehicle tyres or prophylactics? After seeing the blimp for the 1000000000000000th time I'm still confused!

  • Garganza on April 26, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    I will never ever buy an MRF product ever in my life. I promise. And I will recommend every one of my huge friends list of full of cricket-lovers not to buy ANY MRF product. That is what I recommend for anyone who reads this as well. A fitting customer response for painful, irritating, mindless and absolutely idiotic advertising.

  • jb on April 25, 2010, 0:36 GMT

    Why do they call the blimp an example of modern technology? They used to have blimps in world war I and II no?

  • Kumar on April 24, 2010, 21:53 GMT

    Good read. I was banished from the room by "she who must be obeyed", as I was beginning to laugh out loud towards the end of of the article. The blimp seems to take a life of its own in the article. I look forward to reading your blog after the final of the IPL. Hopefully, CSK would have won and I would already be happy or your blog might cheer me up, if I need cheering up after the match. Regards.

  • Yazad on April 24, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    Very relevant article It made for an interesting read

  • garbo on April 24, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    i don't think there's a blimp flying over the stadium anymore. they just show it on screen and that cues up the commentators.

  • Aspraso on April 24, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    Modi is asking for 5 days because he worked for them for 5 years without taking money -- oh!! What irony -- here is a guy willing to give you 5 more days of "free labor" and he has no takers. Please don't laugh.

  • Eelco on April 24, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    Surprise , surprise. Everybody seems to be forgetting how shameful and arrogant the BCCI responded to rest of the cricketworld regarding the ICL and how they were throwing their weight around. If Lalit and his cronjes are that desperate to make a success out of the IPL, surely regulations in India , with the help of some political involvement , can't be a obstacle either.

  • Praveen Nirmalan on April 24, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    Nominate the Blimp as the next IPL Chief honcho.

  • nagaraj on April 26, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    huges=media we have seen media praising one day & blaming next day its very common

    Dont forget hayden is the top scorer of IPL2 @ Gilly is the captan of IPL2 campions

  • MRF Blimp on April 26, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    Does MRF make vehicle tyres or prophylactics? After seeing the blimp for the 1000000000000000th time I'm still confused!

  • Garganza on April 26, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    I will never ever buy an MRF product ever in my life. I promise. And I will recommend every one of my huge friends list of full of cricket-lovers not to buy ANY MRF product. That is what I recommend for anyone who reads this as well. A fitting customer response for painful, irritating, mindless and absolutely idiotic advertising.

  • jb on April 25, 2010, 0:36 GMT

    Why do they call the blimp an example of modern technology? They used to have blimps in world war I and II no?

  • Kumar on April 24, 2010, 21:53 GMT

    Good read. I was banished from the room by "she who must be obeyed", as I was beginning to laugh out loud towards the end of of the article. The blimp seems to take a life of its own in the article. I look forward to reading your blog after the final of the IPL. Hopefully, CSK would have won and I would already be happy or your blog might cheer me up, if I need cheering up after the match. Regards.

  • Yazad on April 24, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    Very relevant article It made for an interesting read

  • garbo on April 24, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    i don't think there's a blimp flying over the stadium anymore. they just show it on screen and that cues up the commentators.

  • Aspraso on April 24, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    Modi is asking for 5 days because he worked for them for 5 years without taking money -- oh!! What irony -- here is a guy willing to give you 5 more days of "free labor" and he has no takers. Please don't laugh.

  • Eelco on April 24, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    Surprise , surprise. Everybody seems to be forgetting how shameful and arrogant the BCCI responded to rest of the cricketworld regarding the ICL and how they were throwing their weight around. If Lalit and his cronjes are that desperate to make a success out of the IPL, surely regulations in India , with the help of some political involvement , can't be a obstacle either.

  • Praveen Nirmalan on April 24, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    Nominate the Blimp as the next IPL Chief honcho.

  • S_Shukla on April 24, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    good article....thought provoking too....but I still feel that as long as you are as fit as Hayden, Gilchrist and Gibbs are on the feild and have good reflexes which they apparently still have, I am inclined to believe that they are just out of form and can b back with a bang anytime.....remember sachin going thru a slump in his thirtees and people started asking for his retirement, but he showed that if u have quality and if u r still physically fit then u can return to form anytime. Though I think jaya and warne should gracefully retire now. Warne will make a great coach for rajasthan royals...

  • raghu on April 24, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    funny as ever..........being a dc fan.........i still feel its funny. Mr. hughes once again great work.........hope you are saving your best for the finals and beyond......goodluck

  • Death to the blimp on April 24, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Seriously, I hate that blimp. I can now take all the sponsored commentary and the ads in between deliveries because that blimp has a special way of getting my goat.

  • pravin on April 24, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    "....the bails from the stumps with the alacrity of a glutton slapping away the hand of a fellow diner going for the same éclair" - classic Hughes stuff. Great to read and laugh. Thanks for the metaphors

  • Raj on April 24, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    When these old dads perform well... you use different words!! All praises.. and now blaming them?? hmmm... what can i say?

  • Venu Gopal G on April 24, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    Though tongue-in-cheek......& hilarious , it was a thought provoking article.

    The oldies looked just that.......old , with Sachin being a shining exception ! T20 is all abt fast reflexes, spectacular catches, diving stops ...and innovative strokeplay....and thats how it shud be !

  • Natesh on April 24, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    I was indeed very amazed with the arrogance displayed by Mr. Lalit sitting in funny fashion and trying to show in financial power. Watching matches on mobile phones and really crude display on money from a country still fighting against poverty and destitution

  • Ajinkya on April 24, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    I don't get it ... I think this is for older readers isn't it?

  • Soumya on April 24, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    Hmm...not a very happy article for a DC supporter(read:me).went to watch this game live(my 1st time!!) It was painful to watch Gilchrist and Gibbs bat.Pity Rohit Sharma too was a let down.

  • Mick on April 24, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    It is indeed a shame to see father time catch up with Gilly, Hayden & Gibbs, and also Jayasuriya & Warne in this tournament. All of these guys are probably hanging on longer than they should and should really retire in dignity. Jaya for me has been the worst, he has made himself look foolish in the last year or two. Please guys, retire on a high, don't taint your great careers any further, let us remember the good times.

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  • Mick on April 24, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    It is indeed a shame to see father time catch up with Gilly, Hayden & Gibbs, and also Jayasuriya & Warne in this tournament. All of these guys are probably hanging on longer than they should and should really retire in dignity. Jaya for me has been the worst, he has made himself look foolish in the last year or two. Please guys, retire on a high, don't taint your great careers any further, let us remember the good times.

  • Soumya on April 24, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    Hmm...not a very happy article for a DC supporter(read:me).went to watch this game live(my 1st time!!) It was painful to watch Gilchrist and Gibbs bat.Pity Rohit Sharma too was a let down.

  • Ajinkya on April 24, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    I don't get it ... I think this is for older readers isn't it?

  • Natesh on April 24, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    I was indeed very amazed with the arrogance displayed by Mr. Lalit sitting in funny fashion and trying to show in financial power. Watching matches on mobile phones and really crude display on money from a country still fighting against poverty and destitution

  • Venu Gopal G on April 24, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    Though tongue-in-cheek......& hilarious , it was a thought provoking article.

    The oldies looked just that.......old , with Sachin being a shining exception ! T20 is all abt fast reflexes, spectacular catches, diving stops ...and innovative strokeplay....and thats how it shud be !

  • Raj on April 24, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    When these old dads perform well... you use different words!! All praises.. and now blaming them?? hmmm... what can i say?

  • pravin on April 24, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    "....the bails from the stumps with the alacrity of a glutton slapping away the hand of a fellow diner going for the same éclair" - classic Hughes stuff. Great to read and laugh. Thanks for the metaphors

  • Death to the blimp on April 24, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Seriously, I hate that blimp. I can now take all the sponsored commentary and the ads in between deliveries because that blimp has a special way of getting my goat.

  • raghu on April 24, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    funny as ever..........being a dc fan.........i still feel its funny. Mr. hughes once again great work.........hope you are saving your best for the finals and beyond......goodluck

  • S_Shukla on April 24, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    good article....thought provoking too....but I still feel that as long as you are as fit as Hayden, Gilchrist and Gibbs are on the feild and have good reflexes which they apparently still have, I am inclined to believe that they are just out of form and can b back with a bang anytime.....remember sachin going thru a slump in his thirtees and people started asking for his retirement, but he showed that if u have quality and if u r still physically fit then u can return to form anytime. Though I think jaya and warne should gracefully retire now. Warne will make a great coach for rajasthan royals...