Ravi Shastri April 4, 2012

What’s not to like about the IPL?

Unicorn parades, anthems by Elvis: an English addict of the greatest cricket show in earth writes
46

Tuesday, 3rd April “So you really watch it? All of it?”

Yes it’s true. My name is Andrew Hughes and I have an IPL problem. It isn’t the same problem that most English people have with the IPL. Those three letters don’t provoke me to derisive nasal sounds or to mutter dismissively about “Indian domestic cricket” from behind the county pages of the Times.

No, my IPL problem is that for a few weeks every spring it takes over my life, but I can’t talk to anyone about it. I am the only English person I know who watches the thing. Incredulity is the most popular reaction when I tell people I’m looking forward to the IPL, followed by benign amusement and then concern for my state of mind.

It seems there is a divide between those of us who love it and those of us who don’t; a gulf as wide as any that separates groups of humans. I don’t understand why cricket lovers wouldn’t want to watch the IPL, just as I don’t understand why anyone would want to vote for Newt Gingrich or eat their steak rare. We might as well be different species.

But isn’t there a lot of hype with the IPL? Well, yes, there is, and a good thing too. Anticipation is part of the pleasure. A big sporting event without the hype is like a carnival without candy floss or a Hollywood blockbuster without a car chase in the trailer. The IPL hype doesn’t usually last beyond Ravi’s first commentary stint, but I wouldn’t be without it.

In fact, Test cricket could do with a dose of IPL glamour, instead of limping apologetically from one two-match series to another and trying to make a virtue of its Victorian snobbery. The Test ranking system is a good thing, but where’s the publicity? An annual photograph of a sheepish-looking captain holding a sort of a mace is not exactly a crowd-puller

Of course, not everything in the IPL garden is fragrant and appealing. It’s fair to say the rehabilitation scheme under which former international cricketers are retrained as game-show hosts has had mixed results. Then there’s the unpleasant whiff of commercialism. Like sewage, we know it’s part of life, but that doesn’t mean we want to keep looking at it.

And it is a marathon. By halfway, you’ll be flagging. You’ll start forgetting what day it is, who played yesterday, who’s playing tomorrow and whether Punjab are out yet. You may find yourself daydreaming fondly about kidnapping Danny Morrison and confining him to an uninhabited Pacific atoll for the duration of the tournament.

But then the knockout stages come into view and you get the energy to keep going. By this time the birds outside your window are starting to sound like Shastri, you’re hitting sponsored boundaries in your sleep and even though bloody Chennai are in the final yet again, you still wouldn’t miss it for anything.

It is the greatest cricket show on earth and so, for the next seven weeks and five days, from the mythical realm of Row Z, I will be bringing you the view of the English franchise-addict: an outcast in his own land, braving the group stage with just a remote control, a bottle of gin, and a copy of Shane Warne’s Official IPL Colouring Book.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think the opening ceremony’s starting and I really don’t want to miss the parade of unicorns or Elvis singing the IPL anthem or the 20-foot high diamond-encrusted replica of Virat Kohli’s finger…

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pulkit on April 11, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    I am your fan for life from now on :)

  • Babur on April 5, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    I never really bothered with IPL as it is mostly waste of time. The only aim of this extravaganza is to grab some (or lots of) quick bucks for as long as you can from a huge market. Calling it the 'great cricket show' is nothing but absurd. If I want to see real cricket, I'd rather go and watch Ashes ..... or a series involving SA and other top teams.

  • Pooja on April 5, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    This. "...even though bloody Chennai are in the final yet again, you still wouldn’t miss it for anything." Hehelarious :)

  • redneck on April 5, 2012, 3:21 GMT

    you only have to look at the names missing from the west indian test squad about to play australia and the one that will tour england! that is why i detest the ipl! it ruins cricket for everyone but the indian market! i dont even think its broadcast in australia at all now and thank god for that!

  • Geoff Plumridge on April 5, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    What is the IPL?

  • Wacco on April 5, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    The only Englishman successfully participated in IPL was L.modi, i suppose. Pardon me If I am wrong!

  • farai on April 4, 2012, 23:29 GMT

    hilarious article, please where can i find 'Shane Warne’s Official IPL Colouring Book? i'm from Zimbabwe.

  • ralph on April 4, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    "I don’t understand why cricket lovers wouldn’t want to watch the IPL"... ...no and I hear that some people think Christmas is better without Coca-Cola. Isn't it about time the ordinary people started backing the big corps and millionaire players who make all our lives so much better?

  • Prashant on April 4, 2012, 21:30 GMT

    I hate to see that but many of our (indian) cricketers are always fit for IPL, while they will occasionally miss an international tour or two for injury. Besides its also a shame that BCCI does not let Pakistani cricketers participate. Mera bat hai, main nahin khelta tere saath, what nonsense!

  • BackBenchBoy on April 4, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Is it only me or nobody finds 'Page 2' not funny. I wonder even more, how people write the comments abt something is being funny.

  • Pulkit on April 11, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    I am your fan for life from now on :)

  • Babur on April 5, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    I never really bothered with IPL as it is mostly waste of time. The only aim of this extravaganza is to grab some (or lots of) quick bucks for as long as you can from a huge market. Calling it the 'great cricket show' is nothing but absurd. If I want to see real cricket, I'd rather go and watch Ashes ..... or a series involving SA and other top teams.

  • Pooja on April 5, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    This. "...even though bloody Chennai are in the final yet again, you still wouldn’t miss it for anything." Hehelarious :)

  • redneck on April 5, 2012, 3:21 GMT

    you only have to look at the names missing from the west indian test squad about to play australia and the one that will tour england! that is why i detest the ipl! it ruins cricket for everyone but the indian market! i dont even think its broadcast in australia at all now and thank god for that!

  • Geoff Plumridge on April 5, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    What is the IPL?

  • Wacco on April 5, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    The only Englishman successfully participated in IPL was L.modi, i suppose. Pardon me If I am wrong!

  • farai on April 4, 2012, 23:29 GMT

    hilarious article, please where can i find 'Shane Warne’s Official IPL Colouring Book? i'm from Zimbabwe.

  • ralph on April 4, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    "I don’t understand why cricket lovers wouldn’t want to watch the IPL"... ...no and I hear that some people think Christmas is better without Coca-Cola. Isn't it about time the ordinary people started backing the big corps and millionaire players who make all our lives so much better?

  • Prashant on April 4, 2012, 21:30 GMT

    I hate to see that but many of our (indian) cricketers are always fit for IPL, while they will occasionally miss an international tour or two for injury. Besides its also a shame that BCCI does not let Pakistani cricketers participate. Mera bat hai, main nahin khelta tere saath, what nonsense!

  • BackBenchBoy on April 4, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Is it only me or nobody finds 'Page 2' not funny. I wonder even more, how people write the comments abt something is being funny.

  • Vadd on April 4, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Awesome to hear from you ! It is only a matter of time before English players play in IPL. With the growing Indian economy and declining UK GDP, it is logical guess that viewership in India is likely to grow in popularity. English try to keep it as "their game". But the resistance to the tectonic shift is futile.

  • Krish on April 4, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    I just love IPL. If players are tired then they can stop playing IPL, siimilarly if people are tired then they can happily ignore it. But for people like me who love cricket in its shortest form, it is a bonanza :)

    Cheers

  • Adeel on April 4, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    Very well written and "An annual photograph of a sheepish-looking captain holding a sort of a mace is not exactly a crowd-puller" + Victorian snobbery is exactly why Test cricket is not able to connect to common 9-5 man and women and families. And that's where IPL has excelled. It is the only sporting event where men and women and families watch together the game together with interest.

  • Faisal Taquie on April 4, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    I think this issue is being beaten to death! I liked IPL the first year, the next year I did not like it and switched off the TV...now I don't follow or care about it anymore. Knowing that others do not have to like everything that makes sense to me, I fully support the IPL in its any form that entertains the crowd. So Andrew and others, either deal with it, if you are watching, or if you have problems with it, switch the TV to England vs. Sri Lanka:)

  • Vis8 on April 4, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    Please dont glorify this 20-20 crap as the greatest show on earth. It is for those who have very little knowledge about cricket. Greedy Indian businessmen/politicians are taking fans for a ride.

  • max on April 4, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    awesome !

  • Amey on April 4, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    Andrew - you can confide in me, as even I will be glued to all the games. Let me know we can meet for drinks in some London pubs for couple of weekend matches.

  • Graham on April 4, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    Q. What’s not to like about the IPL?

    A. How long have you got?

  • nilankaraja on April 4, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    Nobody cares about the IPL. It's the place where cricket turns into baseball to entertain people with low IQs. It's breed more and more flat pitch bashing heroes to India and spoil good players from other countries.

  • Venkat on April 4, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    I don't like EPL, simpy a fish market of football and typical english narrow mindedness. It is a shame for football

  • Prashant on April 4, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    Under the 20-foot replica, a placard reads: "It is not just the finger, the DIAMOND FINGER!"

  • Venkat on April 4, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    Typical English. Has EPL, jokes about IPL.

  • UhOhDaeSu on April 4, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    Why haven't you got a Twitter account we can follow? Humour is about the best way to get through the IPL and that is your forte. Plenty of English people watch the IPL, mainly for punting it must be said but then again it can be a brilliant vehicle for that. Before Cricinfo made you take it off I remember you had a gambling reference in your profile. In short, get with the programme and get tweeting.

  • Cric_lover on April 4, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    Oh!....my frnd i don't understand wat is u r problem with ipl.....a mother can't blame that his newly born bcoz son is differs from other ...for mother it's just an new son... similarly for cricket lover t20 or test or ipl it's just cricket match...he had to loook @ the skills involved it...even edges takes place in test cricket...even batsman his the ball in d middle of the bat in the t20....it's about how bat or bowl not about wich format.....

  • shailesh ambasht on April 4, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    am luking fwd to a break from cricket for next two months so that i can refresh myself for the next indian season....nz, england, australia!!!!

  • Anonymous on April 4, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    n btw.. an excellent piece of work from Andrew again.. well.. I still love the 5 day battle between the best test sides, but again.. wats wrong in sumthin like an IPL?? ppl talk as if tests hav been abolished and its just the shortest format of the game that has taken over. Nobody appreciates the power of IPL in adding more no fans to this beautiful sport.. most of the women n children hav started watchin IPL n it has only helped increased the fan base.. n for ppl who hate IPL.. no prob. u ve always got the other formats. just 2 months of IPL in 12 months doesnt kill anythin. n commercialization like Andrew has said.. is good for the sport. I want cricket to hav the same popularity as football or rugby sumday. the same reach as other sports. I dnt think that can be achieved by the longer formats. Its good if the game gets richer both popularity wise and monetarily.

  • Abhishek on April 4, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    I dont get it y ppl r bothered about who plays or doesnt not play in the IPL(which is mainly meant for the indian audience). say if pakistan launches its own league and doesnt pick indian players.. I dnt think none of us Indians wud be bothered about it. cos its ur league and u hav a choice of who plays in it.. I never get it y u guys always make such a big fuss abt it!!

  • Mayank on April 4, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    super witty as always..

  • Vernon on April 4, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    That's what you call British Humour..., not vulgar pro-fain language jokes, this article was Hilarious and no other like it will ever be written again..., EVER !!!

  • Prashant on April 4, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Maybe because I live in Boston and I now associate the IPL with spring, but I've come to look forward to these two months. Having a horse in the race also helps, even better if your horse has Pollard and Malinga like mine does.

  • Swaminathan R on April 4, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Good hilarious take on IPL ... refreshingly positive from a lone Englishman ... I look forward to more on the course of IPL-5 from you ...

  • Taha Noor on April 4, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Excellent one Andrew...especially the "20-foot high diamond-encrusted replica of Virat Kohli’s finger".

  • Mayur on April 4, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    I myself am quite excited at the turn of the IPL every year... It feels like excess of cricket but somehow, at the eve of the tournament every year, I end up looking forward to it. The matches are usually close and most of the biggest starts are present.. and where else can you watch the retired talents in action (ex. Adam Gilchrist) other than at the IPL?? It is controversial, heavily criticized but entertaining none the less.

  • Sri on April 4, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    hilarious article! 'diamond encrusted replica of Virat Kohli's finger' indeed!

  • HBK on April 4, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    What is not to like about this article? Why no FB like button?

  • hasan on April 4, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    this peice right here has just made my day....:) Loved it. Also, just cant stop laughing over the picture of the fat indian politician, smiling as if there is nothing else left to acheive in life...:)

  • Sam on April 4, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    I don't like IPL, simpy a fish market of cricket and typical indian narrow mindedness. It is a shame for cricket

  • Vilander on April 4, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    Virtue out of victorian snobbery,punjab and chennai bit and about birds sounding like Shastri were high points. Good fun read.

  • nitin on April 4, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    wonder what u thought about the damp squib of a opening nite! hope the tournament is much better...

  • Rohan on April 4, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    I liked your comment about "birds outside starting to sound like Shastri" its so hilarious and true!

  • mojo on April 4, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    Where can i find "Shane Warne’s Official IPL Colouring Book".

  • ranjith poduval on April 4, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    I am an Indian , a cricket lover and I dont like IPL . I am tired enough to see batsman smashing around bowlers on subcontinental flat pitches that I cant see them smashing any more the said bowlers again on yet more flatter pitches and shorter bounderies .Its a subcontinental run-buffet and the bowlers aint invited . Somehow this just aint Cricket .

  • Shankar on April 4, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    so true...especially the part abt kidnapping Danny Morrison

  • Hussain R on April 4, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Hilarious piece of writing.... 20-foot high replica of Virat's finger was too good..... :)

  • Vishal on April 4, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    I have been in England and people hate IPL, so u r a change. For all the glitz and politics involved, it is still a crowd puller and takes over our lives for a brief while .. a good pill to forget India's dismal performances .. the Indian public has short memory you see or maybe we are just very forgiving .. look forward to ur future posts on the Indian Public League

  • Zuhaib on April 4, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    I will tell you why...Its the length of the tournament. Cricket is not to be compared with football Leagues with a plethora of matches. Too much slog cricket simply cannot be good for the sport. Plus as a Pakistani i hate to see the monopoly of BCCI refusing to accept Pakistani Players who in my opinion are the best T20 players in the world. My opinion can be alittle biased i guess but i am pretty sure I am not the only one

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  • Zuhaib on April 4, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    I will tell you why...Its the length of the tournament. Cricket is not to be compared with football Leagues with a plethora of matches. Too much slog cricket simply cannot be good for the sport. Plus as a Pakistani i hate to see the monopoly of BCCI refusing to accept Pakistani Players who in my opinion are the best T20 players in the world. My opinion can be alittle biased i guess but i am pretty sure I am not the only one

  • Vishal on April 4, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    I have been in England and people hate IPL, so u r a change. For all the glitz and politics involved, it is still a crowd puller and takes over our lives for a brief while .. a good pill to forget India's dismal performances .. the Indian public has short memory you see or maybe we are just very forgiving .. look forward to ur future posts on the Indian Public League

  • Hussain R on April 4, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Hilarious piece of writing.... 20-foot high replica of Virat's finger was too good..... :)

  • Shankar on April 4, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    so true...especially the part abt kidnapping Danny Morrison

  • ranjith poduval on April 4, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    I am an Indian , a cricket lover and I dont like IPL . I am tired enough to see batsman smashing around bowlers on subcontinental flat pitches that I cant see them smashing any more the said bowlers again on yet more flatter pitches and shorter bounderies .Its a subcontinental run-buffet and the bowlers aint invited . Somehow this just aint Cricket .

  • mojo on April 4, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    Where can i find "Shane Warne’s Official IPL Colouring Book".

  • Rohan on April 4, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    I liked your comment about "birds outside starting to sound like Shastri" its so hilarious and true!

  • nitin on April 4, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    wonder what u thought about the damp squib of a opening nite! hope the tournament is much better...

  • Vilander on April 4, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    Virtue out of victorian snobbery,punjab and chennai bit and about birds sounding like Shastri were high points. Good fun read.

  • Sam on April 4, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    I don't like IPL, simpy a fish market of cricket and typical indian narrow mindedness. It is a shame for cricket