September 21, 2011

IPL

The unique appeal of the Champions League

Andrew Hughes
BCCI secretary N Srinivasan speaks at a press conference in Colombo, January 13, 2009
"Forensics found a giant footprint on the Indian team's face. It is possibly of English origin, but that proves nothing conclusive"  © AFP
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Sunday, 18th September To some people the Champions League is like a big fat slug lurking at the bottom of your garden. It isn’t particularly attractive, you don’t see the point of it and you can get through the autumn fine without ever seeing it. But every part of the cricket ecosystem has its place, and to many of us the Champions League has become as familiar a part of the cricket calendar as a Shahid Afridi retirement or Somerset not quite winning a trophy.

It’s a jumble of flavours, a mix of cricket cultures that you just don’t get anywhere else. For instance, if there is a more unlikely cricket match this year than Somerset v Kolkata Knight Riders, I’ll eat Duncan Fletcher’s sunglasses.

And there’s something for everyone. You can have fun spotting players you thought had retired (good grief, Sanath is here!) and learn about teams you’ve never heard of before (welcome to my brain, Ruhuna, I’ll forget about Ronnie Irani to make room for you).

So who will you follow in the race to lose to Chennai in the final? It’s tricky. I don’t like snakes so the Cobras are out, and calling yourselves The Warriors is asking for trouble. Trinidad are a Bravo short, and though it might be fun to follow Somerset or Leicester, they have been shepherded into some kind of quarantine playoff system, designed, quite rightly, to keep the riff-raff out.

But while you’re deciding who to support, you can marvel at the unnecessary innovation. This year’s silly technology is a high-definition camera in a pair of sunglasses, so the viewer will be treated to wobbly footage from the vantage point of fine leg as he shuffles a touch squarer, live coverage of the drinks break, or if the glasses are being worn by a particularly inept fielder, the heart-stopping terror of a mistimed slog sweep heading directly towards our television screens.

Monday, 19th September So Kochi are no more. The IPL just won’t be the same. The Tuskers were my favourite team, partly for their daring choice of colours, partly for the presence of Sreesanth, but mainly for the fact that they nearly called themselves the Indi Commandos (kind of like the A-team with orange shirts). But now it’s all over. They haven’t so much gone down in a blaze of glory as got their ankles tangled up in red tape, pitched over in the board room and knocked themselves out on the coffee table.

I did try to read up on why Kochi were kaput but then I found myself drifting into a daydream and when I woke up it was Tuesday. When did the IPL get so complicated? You need an MBA and a law degree to follow the goings on in franchise land. Perhaps IPL5 should dispense with the cattle market for players and introduce a lawyer auction. A star batsman may help you get to the final, but you need a crack legal team to make sure you’re allowed to play in it.

Tuesday, 20th September Apparently there will be no investigation or post mortem of any kind into the unpleasant events of the summer, thus ending a very brief episode of CSI BCCI in which the charismatic Detective Srinivasan took a brief look at the crime scene and shrugged, concluding that India’s tour clearly just died of old age or something, and anyway it doesn’t really matter. Case closed.

Questioned at a press conference today, he first asked an aide why the “eject” button he was jabbing didn’t work, but was informed that the ejector seats fitted to the journalists’ chairs had been switched off due to doubts about the technology. So instead he called for his Big Box of Excuses and grabbed a few, handing them to his aide to read out while he tucked into a bag of tortillas. Those excuses in full:

“Sehwag wasn’t playing some of the time.”

“The weather was inclement.”

“Don’t forget to tune into the Champions League!”

“Srini for President!”

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by danoz on (November 22, 2011, 12:15 GMT)

i think the 20/20 champions league is a waste of time on the cricket calendar.

i would like to see a all star test series between the northern hemispere(india, pakistan, england, srilanka,bangladesh west indies) and the southern hemispere(australia,south africa,new zealand & zimbabwe) have a best of 3,6 day test series over a month.

the teams would be

northern hemispere

1 c gayle 2 v sewag 3 r dravid(capt) 4 s tendulkar 5 k pietersen 6 y kahn 7 k sangakarra(wk) 8 s broad 9 j anderson 10 i sharma 11 a mendis 12 m jayawardene

southern hemispere

1 g smith(capt) 2 s watson 3 r ponting 4 j kallis 5 ab de villiers 6 m hussey 7 b macullum(wk) 8 d vittori 9 m johnson 10 d steyn 11 m morkel 12 h amla

the tv rights would be bought in every country and thier would be great intrest in the series.instead of endless meaningless 20/20 comps,it should replaced with a meaningfull test series with all the best 24 players in the 1 spot at the 1 time.

Posted by Abdul Hamilton Farquahar on (September 24, 2011, 10:51 GMT)

Sublimely written article young man.

khuram I agree the indian commentators are death to the ears particularly the smug insecure harsha bhogle, why cant they find a pleasing english voice like a new skool boycott and please not michael vaughan the most embarrasing smug guy since...well harsha bhogle

Posted by Sam on (September 24, 2011, 2:57 GMT)

"good grief, Sanath is here!" -- That was the best. I am so glad Page2 exists.

Posted by riz on (September 22, 2011, 16:02 GMT)

@Sundar, perhaps you misunderstood my tone there, I don't have anything against the T20 format, what I'm concerned is about is the overkill. There's a limit to everything.

Posted by Khuram on (September 22, 2011, 12:25 GMT)

The TV coverage is marred by Harsha Bhogle who is so fond of his voice that he forgets others are not.He must by now understand the difference between a live match and his studio as a host.I would strongly recommend that he alongwith Alan Wilkins be left only to interview or host other cricket related events barring live commentry.They both rely on past records,history and reading back the screen.So please someone help us get rid of this agony.We have to mute the voice when Mr.Bhogle comes. I am sure he will understand.

Posted by Himanshu on (September 22, 2011, 5:55 GMT)

Veryt true, that you need to be a lawyer or MBA to figure out what is going on in IPL? I am a MBA, but still cannot figure out how can a delay in one payment, be termed "irepairable damage"? As per BCCIs policy, pay some more money and every thing gets repaired instantly. I am pretty sure that this is what will happen with Kochi as well.

Posted by Sudha on (September 22, 2011, 3:04 GMT)

"They haven’t so much gone down in a blaze of glory as got their ankles tangled up in red tape, pitched over in the board room and knocked themselves out on the coffee table. " Wow !! What Imagery...

Posted by Michael Perera on (September 22, 2011, 2:15 GMT)

Aww, but I do like the Champions League (or the idea of it, anyway). Domestic teams slugging it out on the big stage is infinitely more interesting than Indian Franchise A vs. Indian Franchise B (although with four or five IPL franchises in this year's CL20, I do see the problem with that equation). If anything, the Champions League has worked wonders for soccer, and you can't blame cricket for trying to ape that success.

Posted by Jay Nair on (September 21, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

Good stuff. Big box excuses is here to stay. Fan boredom will bring an end to Champoins League.

Posted by Shubham Agarwal on (September 21, 2011, 17:32 GMT)

i dont think any true cricket fan would likely to see champions league....its just making the cricketer more wealthy and rich widout taking the consideration of his fitness.....is ipl wasnt enough for the bcci to make wealth as dey start clt20....its just a waste of tym.....

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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