April 27, 2009

Night of the screamers

Why the commentators' desperate hawking of the IPL may have started to work against the tournament
  shares 117

It's working. Two weeks of the second season of the Indian Premier League and it's finally been drummed into me who the damn sponsors are. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Now GO AWAY!

Actually, had I money to invest, I'd be wondering why DLF, presently being squeezed by slumping property values and a share price a quarter of its peak, and Citigroup, insolvent but for Barack Obama's indulgence, were wasting shareholders' funds on staking sixes and endowing so-called "success". As I don't, I'll simply vary that old Bob Hope gag concerning the night he went to a boxing title fight and a game of ice hockey broke out: the IPL is fast degenerating into a series of three-hour advertisements through which are sometimes discernible glimmers of cricket.

Cricket, of course, has much to thank television for. How much richer is our appreciation of a Shane Warne legbreak or a Kevin Pietersen cover-drive for the luxury of studying it, frozen in time; when we can hover over each detail of the harmonious human mechanism. But either Lalit Modi is pumping nitrous oxide into the commentary box, or the IPL is bearing out JK Galbraith's observation that television allows for persuasion with no minimum standard of literacy or intelligence.

One expects a certain degree of phoniness from Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, who as IPL governing council members are busy getting high on their own supply. But the rest of Modi's fawning courtiers, even super-smooth Mark Nicholas and pawky Jeremy Coney, have been reduced to carnival barkers, whether greeting a full toss slogged for six like the news of VE Day, pretending that the tactical time-out is something other than a sneaky commercial trick, or, above all, hawking the sponsors like Jim Cramer used to ramp shares on Mad Money. Could Citigroup be scattering moments of success for its own morale? Can it be that somewhere in the fine print of DLF's sponsorship contract is prescribed a specified number of long-hops and full-tosses per hour, to guarantee a minimum of "maximums"? The result is that whatever the game looks like, it sounds as forced as the canned laughter in an American sitcom.

Some of the artificiality of season two has simply been made more obvious by the inclement weather, diminishing novelty value, fewer thrills and more spills, which has left the appointed interpreters straining for effect. But that can't explain everything. There was plenty of glitz and hype in the first season of IPL, but the excitement of the fans was stunningly, thrillingly real. Away from India, the IPL lacks that authentication. It is a distant and diluted re-run, with contrivances to redeem its deficiencies.

Even when it's right, they somehow get it wrong, as at the end of Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday, when the best game of the tournament and the best result in cricket was capped by a climax as fake as Sally's when she met Harry. Are the commentators, then, straining to act as proxies for their main audience back in India? If so, it seems a doomed enterprise.

Because the commentators' clueless desperation now feels as though it is working against the IPL. When something great happens, they have nowhere to go, no upper register left to use. When 20 off 10 balls exhausts your superlatives, how do you describe a hundred off 50 balls? When a young Indian domestic player getting away a couple of beefy blows is so thrilling, what tone do you adopt for Sachin Tendulkar? As Gilbert and Sullivan put it in The Gondoliers, "When everyone is somebodee / Then no one's anybody"

When something great happens, the commentators have nowhere to go, no upper register left to use. When a young Indian domestic player getting away a couple of beefy blows is so thrilling, what tone do you adopt for Tendulkar?

A further complication is Twenty20's inherent unpredictability, its mixing of the sublime and the ridiculous. When commentators hype a batsman up for consecutive boundaries only to watch him perish to an imbecile smear, or praise a bowler to the skies for four dot-balls, then see him smacked into orbit twice while closing the over out, they subtly erode their own authority - such authority as they had, anyway.

The television commentator has always been sensitively placed. His network has paid good money to broadcast, and thus has an interest in the game being perceived as representing high-quality excitement - even when it is not. Richie Benaud didn't become His Richieness by saying: "This is a boring game between two mediocre teams and represents an ideal opportunity for you to go mow the lawn."

With Twenty20, however, there is the added imperative of promoting a format in which exorbitant sums and giddying hopes have been invested. The consumer has not just to be sold the game he is watching, but the Twenty20 concept in general; persuaded that he is witness not just to a contest of teams, but a contest of genres, with Modi responsible for the most exciting breakthrough since penicillin. It forces the commentator even further from the ideal perspective of disinterested critic, bringing to bear a weight of experience and a talent for observation; it reduces him to sideshow huckster, flogging the game like a patent medicine from the back of his covered wagon.

Nor am I sure it ultimately does the sponsors much good either. There are two sides to brand recognition: one where the sponsor's name conjures up warm and positive associations; another where it stirs irritation and objection, as a result, perhaps, of incessant, cloying, annoying repetition. So, yes, we now know which sponsors to find, and also, if so moved, those to avoid.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY rjoshi009 on | May 5, 2009, 0:17 GMT

    Finally, an article that tells it like it is. A six is a six. Not a "DFL Maximum". Or a "DLF-er". The constant, abrasive display of commercials and shout-outs to sponsors may help the sponsors in the short run, but in the long run, it will affect brand loyalty. Not loyalty to DLF or Citi, but to the Mumbai Indians, and the Royal Challengers. The sooner Modi and Co realize this the better.

  • POSTED BY Sri7 on | May 1, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    "When a young Indian domestic player getting away a couple of beefy blows is so thrilling, what tone do you adopt for Sachin Tendulkar?". You said it all in a nut-shell. Just this observation alone is enough to show how idiotic the commenting has become. Shastri was a commentator I used to like, now he disappoints me greatly. Gavaskar is not yet there. I think in a Twenty20, guys should comment on the state of match and strategies, not cricketing skills of the players; comment about Twenty20 'cricket smartness' in a player, his ability to smash the ball or his agility - please don't say that these are his 'excellent' "cricketing skills". I just feel that as playing Twenty20 is different than playing test cricket; commentators also need to look into commenting on 'Twenty20 smartness' in player rather than his cricketing skills. There is a broad distinction between excellence in test cricket and excellence in Twenty20.

  • POSTED BY crazydesi on | May 1, 2009, 9:40 GMT

    i'm with china_cricket! hit the mute button and turn up the punk rock! in fact if there was technology that linked the mute button to a counter, the sponsors would realise how (in)effective the overuse of phrases like 'citi moments of success' and 'dlf maximum' are. i always think 'silly moment of success' when i hear the former, anyway! which somehow seems more appropriate! it is irritating and annoying and, as far as i'm concerned, completely ineffective. and the vodaphone commercials in india are annoying too. however as it is the price to pay to watch some very exciting cricket notwithstanding the hyperventilating and forced commentary, i for one grimace and bear it. no sorry, i can only grin when it goes from annoying to sublimely ludicrous.

  • POSTED BY Arvind3 on | April 30, 2009, 22:37 GMT

    I know! Its so funny how Ravi Shastri cannot refrain talking about the size of every batsman that walks out to bat! :D "He is tall man" "He is a short man" " He is well built" lol.

  • POSTED BY leave_it_to_the_umps on | April 30, 2009, 14:26 GMT

    I have watched most of the games of both seasons on setanta sports and have found the cricket to be both exciting/entertaining even when one side is getting tied down by good bowling (its good to see the bowlers doing so well this season!) The commentators overuse of "citi moments of success" for pretty much everything is extremely annoying but its a small price to pay to be able to watch legends from all the great teams around the world play with and against each other!

    The thing i find ridiculous is setanta's decision to regularly interupt the commentary so that two guys sitting in a studio in england can put in their two cents worth. The worst is Ronnie Irani who hasnt said a positive thing all season. they throw to him everytime there is a wicket and he just completely rips into the batter who got out (even if 2mins earlier he had been praising him as the best thing since sliced bread!) Thankfully I am able to fast forward everytime I hear his voice!!!

  • POSTED BY CB20 on | April 30, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    The problem is not with the Sponsorship itself or for that matter with the sponsors extracting their pound of flesh! Surely, no one would expect to run a high profile tournament like IPL with no sponsor money. The whole issue is about this "in your face" commercialism. The bang for your buck does not necessarily come from TV commentators announcing your name several times during the telecast! The charm of the game, the novelty of the format, the great stars of cricket both current and retired are enough to garner huge support and viewership (both at the stadium and on TV!)The sponsors I hope will realize that consumers of cricket will love them for their serious support for the GAME and definitely not for their commercial greed! Commercial obligations cannot be bigger than the THE GAME itself! I hope sponsors will begin to respect that and demand subtlety (on their own accord) which will give them the appropriate brand mileage and the viewers their cricket!

  • POSTED BY CiMP on | April 29, 2009, 12:06 GMT

    Does anyone seriously expect DLF, Citi etc. to fund entertainment for tv viewers and income for cricketers and remain anonymous? Who sets the standard for the no. of times their names are called in a game? The market forces will decide that anyway.

    It is basic. Either we watch what is dished out with at least tolerance or abstain from viewing the program.

  • POSTED BY Debanjon on | April 29, 2009, 11:11 GMT

    Well, this article has echoed the general notion about the sponsorship madness in the best way. Really Modi needs to get his act together. Good business sense is one thing and brazen attempt to maximize profits is something totally different.

  • POSTED BY PNBanu on | April 29, 2009, 8:10 GMT

    Finally! Thank God someone has said what needs to be said. Commentary with every word a superlative is excruciatingly boring. Mark Nicholas, for all his smoothness, has nothing of substance to say. The cheerleaders are not only superfluous, but divert attention from enjoying the sixes and wickets they purport to celebrate. Yusuf Pathan's hitting does not need the dancing as a side-dish. T20 is loads of fun most of the time, despite these distractions and irritations.

  • POSTED BY cvam on | April 29, 2009, 5:06 GMT

    ah yes, the gentle English game of cricket has fallen prey to the financial overtures of the rapacious Modi and co. How absolutely horrid that someone actually wants to make an honest buck in Africa. I mean, doesn't Modi know that the only way to make money in Africa is to rob the natives?? Darn that ivy league educated Modi, had he been educated at jolly old Oxford, he'd have known how to go about this the right way...

  • POSTED BY rjoshi009 on | May 5, 2009, 0:17 GMT

    Finally, an article that tells it like it is. A six is a six. Not a "DFL Maximum". Or a "DLF-er". The constant, abrasive display of commercials and shout-outs to sponsors may help the sponsors in the short run, but in the long run, it will affect brand loyalty. Not loyalty to DLF or Citi, but to the Mumbai Indians, and the Royal Challengers. The sooner Modi and Co realize this the better.

  • POSTED BY Sri7 on | May 1, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    "When a young Indian domestic player getting away a couple of beefy blows is so thrilling, what tone do you adopt for Sachin Tendulkar?". You said it all in a nut-shell. Just this observation alone is enough to show how idiotic the commenting has become. Shastri was a commentator I used to like, now he disappoints me greatly. Gavaskar is not yet there. I think in a Twenty20, guys should comment on the state of match and strategies, not cricketing skills of the players; comment about Twenty20 'cricket smartness' in a player, his ability to smash the ball or his agility - please don't say that these are his 'excellent' "cricketing skills". I just feel that as playing Twenty20 is different than playing test cricket; commentators also need to look into commenting on 'Twenty20 smartness' in player rather than his cricketing skills. There is a broad distinction between excellence in test cricket and excellence in Twenty20.

  • POSTED BY crazydesi on | May 1, 2009, 9:40 GMT

    i'm with china_cricket! hit the mute button and turn up the punk rock! in fact if there was technology that linked the mute button to a counter, the sponsors would realise how (in)effective the overuse of phrases like 'citi moments of success' and 'dlf maximum' are. i always think 'silly moment of success' when i hear the former, anyway! which somehow seems more appropriate! it is irritating and annoying and, as far as i'm concerned, completely ineffective. and the vodaphone commercials in india are annoying too. however as it is the price to pay to watch some very exciting cricket notwithstanding the hyperventilating and forced commentary, i for one grimace and bear it. no sorry, i can only grin when it goes from annoying to sublimely ludicrous.

  • POSTED BY Arvind3 on | April 30, 2009, 22:37 GMT

    I know! Its so funny how Ravi Shastri cannot refrain talking about the size of every batsman that walks out to bat! :D "He is tall man" "He is a short man" " He is well built" lol.

  • POSTED BY leave_it_to_the_umps on | April 30, 2009, 14:26 GMT

    I have watched most of the games of both seasons on setanta sports and have found the cricket to be both exciting/entertaining even when one side is getting tied down by good bowling (its good to see the bowlers doing so well this season!) The commentators overuse of "citi moments of success" for pretty much everything is extremely annoying but its a small price to pay to be able to watch legends from all the great teams around the world play with and against each other!

    The thing i find ridiculous is setanta's decision to regularly interupt the commentary so that two guys sitting in a studio in england can put in their two cents worth. The worst is Ronnie Irani who hasnt said a positive thing all season. they throw to him everytime there is a wicket and he just completely rips into the batter who got out (even if 2mins earlier he had been praising him as the best thing since sliced bread!) Thankfully I am able to fast forward everytime I hear his voice!!!

  • POSTED BY CB20 on | April 30, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    The problem is not with the Sponsorship itself or for that matter with the sponsors extracting their pound of flesh! Surely, no one would expect to run a high profile tournament like IPL with no sponsor money. The whole issue is about this "in your face" commercialism. The bang for your buck does not necessarily come from TV commentators announcing your name several times during the telecast! The charm of the game, the novelty of the format, the great stars of cricket both current and retired are enough to garner huge support and viewership (both at the stadium and on TV!)The sponsors I hope will realize that consumers of cricket will love them for their serious support for the GAME and definitely not for their commercial greed! Commercial obligations cannot be bigger than the THE GAME itself! I hope sponsors will begin to respect that and demand subtlety (on their own accord) which will give them the appropriate brand mileage and the viewers their cricket!

  • POSTED BY CiMP on | April 29, 2009, 12:06 GMT

    Does anyone seriously expect DLF, Citi etc. to fund entertainment for tv viewers and income for cricketers and remain anonymous? Who sets the standard for the no. of times their names are called in a game? The market forces will decide that anyway.

    It is basic. Either we watch what is dished out with at least tolerance or abstain from viewing the program.

  • POSTED BY Debanjon on | April 29, 2009, 11:11 GMT

    Well, this article has echoed the general notion about the sponsorship madness in the best way. Really Modi needs to get his act together. Good business sense is one thing and brazen attempt to maximize profits is something totally different.

  • POSTED BY PNBanu on | April 29, 2009, 8:10 GMT

    Finally! Thank God someone has said what needs to be said. Commentary with every word a superlative is excruciatingly boring. Mark Nicholas, for all his smoothness, has nothing of substance to say. The cheerleaders are not only superfluous, but divert attention from enjoying the sixes and wickets they purport to celebrate. Yusuf Pathan's hitting does not need the dancing as a side-dish. T20 is loads of fun most of the time, despite these distractions and irritations.

  • POSTED BY cvam on | April 29, 2009, 5:06 GMT

    ah yes, the gentle English game of cricket has fallen prey to the financial overtures of the rapacious Modi and co. How absolutely horrid that someone actually wants to make an honest buck in Africa. I mean, doesn't Modi know that the only way to make money in Africa is to rob the natives?? Darn that ivy league educated Modi, had he been educated at jolly old Oxford, he'd have known how to go about this the right way...

  • POSTED BY insightfulcricketer on | April 29, 2009, 3:04 GMT

    Cricket is being thrown into the cauldron of a vibrant marketplace. Atleast it is not appealing to the vagrant lunatics that English Football league does so lucratively for themselves. What Modi has done is to maximize the reach of cricket into an emerging market where the middle class is starting to find some down time for enjoyment . I think Gideon is confused because he is not the targeted audience anyway. IPL does not care two cahoots about what people of his ilk think about this.Starting next year the version will be back in India and the vibrancy will be again in full color. Citibank and DLF are not idiots they know where they can make their buck. I think BCCI had fed enought money to keep ICC and other boards afloat - it was time for them to put some money back into Indian domestic cricket and cricketers .

  • POSTED BY luks on | April 29, 2009, 2:40 GMT

    "Modi responsible for the most exciting breakthrough since penicillin"

    lmao - next thing we know we will have Nobel prizes for marketing/advertising!

    GH - love this article.

  • POSTED BY china_cricket on | April 28, 2009, 13:06 GMT

    MUTE the IPL! Great idea....few beers, bit o punk rock on the stereo...sorted

  • POSTED BY Copernicus on | April 28, 2009, 10:42 GMT

    There is a very simple way to make the naff commentary "GO AWAY" - press the mute button on your remote control. It's pretty easy, once you get the hang of it. I personally think it would be a lot more interesting to only have the stump mikes instead - so we hear the interaction of the players on the field instead of ex-players in the commentary box. Not sure about you but I reckon a Warnie sledge would be more entertaining than yet another Gavaskar plug.

  • POSTED BY ed.dixon on | April 28, 2009, 9:48 GMT

    And another thing, there's a lot of (mainly Indian it seems by the log in names) accusing Gideon Haigh of all kinds of bias against the IPL and India in particular, but you are all on the wrong track. He's not criticising the cricket, the standard of play, the players, the teams or even the concept - he's just criticising the fact that the TV producers seem more interested in the advertising revenue than what's happening on the pitch.

  • POSTED BY indianalways on | April 28, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    A real "Citi moment of success" would happen if the commentators got on their "Hero Honda" bikes and went to the nearest "DLF" airport and took the 1st "Fly Kingfisher" flight out of Africa remembering always to keep their "Vodafone" mobiles off so no one calls them back allowing us to cheer and watch crciekt on "Sony Max" in peace! (Have I forgotten anyone.....?)...I am tired of asinine remarks from these guys who seem to be under the impression that all viewers are dumbasses and don't know their cricket or the stats....it is an insult to our intelligence...

  • POSTED BY guitar13 on | April 28, 2009, 8:58 GMT

    There are some really oddly defensive posts on here.

    I very much agree with this article - and I would actually say that Mr Haigh does very well to limit his criticism. Personally I cannot stand anything about the IPL and that may cloud my judgement when making any comment about it.

    As far as commentators go, Mark Nicholas has fallen off of my list of favourtites with alarming speed. I think it was one over of Flintoff fireworks back in 2005 ("Hello, massive" etc) that turned him from a cool, considered caller of the game, to a shreiking imbecile.

  • POSTED BY amod_star on | April 28, 2009, 8:20 GMT

    I don't quite agree , even when we log in cricinfo i get a ad which basically covers up most of the screen and is very frustrating. In the new modern age of buisness and commercialisation we have to respect the sponsors who put in the money for the free product we get? Would any of you pay some royalty for the IPL matches even on TV? We like it to be realtively free and cheap and so let us respect the sponsors

  • POSTED BY app04 on | April 28, 2009, 8:13 GMT

    These comments are so true. The art of commentary seems to a dying art wherever you go. With the IPL this art has just become commerce - plain and simple. The best way to watch a cricket game nowadays is with the mute on. That way you can enjoy the game without troubling your ears and you also save yourself from being subject to the endless advertisement that is the commentary.

  • POSTED BY WorldsOddestMan on | April 28, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    The IPL commentators are shoving the brand names down our throat and I don't know about you but I don't like it. This is over advertising and there is no real commentary as they spend at least two thirds of the time saying the brand names.

  • POSTED BY slugger1969 on | April 28, 2009, 3:08 GMT

    The problem here is that Gideon, like myself, is a cricket fan. I have no real idea about what he is talking about as I have never watched a game of the IPL. I never will either. I just can't consider it a cricket tournament. A round of cheers for the marketing tykes who have brought in former non-cricket lovers to be spectators but they will only ever be spectators of this tournament and possibly other Twenty20 games. Anything else will be considered too boring for them. Cricket has so many skills that need to mastered; surviving on a seaming or turning wicket, breaking through or containing on a good batting pitch, etc. It is so much more than a contest of who can hit it harder more often. I don't begrudge them their money, and as some people have said, I can always turn the TV off. I don't have to actually, because the IPL will never be on it anyway.

  • POSTED BY hsitas on | April 28, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    Its precisely this type of approach that has kept this game restricted to a handful of countries playing against each other for the last 100 years! If we are ever going to make this a global game, I wouldnt mind promoting such a concept.

    Sorry my friend, you have to take a new approach to the way this game is marketed...

  • POSTED BY NBZ1 on | April 28, 2009, 2:29 GMT

    It's interesting how those who have criticised the article invariably profess to enjoy the IPL, while those who defend it are often the ones who dislike the IPL. Very few ppl seem capable of distinguishing between criticism of a particular aspect of the IPL, in this case the state of the commentary, as opposed to criticism of the IPL as a whole. Or perhaps they do understand the difference and are just using this comments section as a battleground for the fight between IPL fans and detractors?

  • POSTED BY bustermove on | April 28, 2009, 0:55 GMT

    Gideon, I'd love to say you are going to make a difference but the reality is that commentators spruiking for sponsors during sports telecasts is here to stay. It has become so pervasive that it doesn't even register with the audience (well not this audience at least). Not that I don't agree with your sentiments. I just think you're fighting a losing battle. Mark Nicholas and his pals do a fair bit of it even during test matches promoting everything from signed bats to the betting agencies (an interesting one given cricket's flawed history in this area). We even hear about the upcoming series of "Underbelly". Somewhere I can hear Alan McGilvray and John Arlott groaning. To tell you the truth I can't really see them doing any real damage to 20/20 or the IPL. 20/20 is like white sugar. It provides instant gratification. Unfortunately, because it largely removes attacking bowling from the game it is also seriously flawed. Even India's masses will eventually look for more satisfaction.

  • POSTED BY whiterose on | April 28, 2009, 0:30 GMT

    I agree completely with the comments about IPL commentators and I, also, turn down (or off)the sound. I scream at them when they discuss e.g.what they had for breakfast, then what they'll have for breakfast tomorrow etc. while little mention is made of what's happening on the field. It makes me long for our usual commentators -- even Bob Willis!! The other thing that irritates me past belief, is perhaps not shared by males. It is the 'dancing girls',one of whom I suspect has an admirer in charge of the tv camera. The girls are usually pretty but they are not very good dancers. And no, I am not jealous. I am 78yrs old and just love cricket, when I can see it!

  • POSTED BY StreetCricketer on | April 28, 2009, 0:30 GMT

    The article looks like a giant rant. It complains about commentary AND about TV timeouts AND about Sunil Gavaskar AND about Citigroup spending money AND about everyone being treated as special.

    I am in US and IPL seems rather banign to me. In NBA there is Prudential Player of the Game and XYZ shot of the day, etc. In NASCAR you would be hard pressed to find original car color. NFL is the wildest with people tailgating the team and camping outside the stadium in below freezing weather. IPL does not have nearly as much frenzy as American games. In Europe, soccer hooligans regularly riot and people can even die watching these games!

    If you do not like the ads AND the show, the decision should be easy. Watch something else!!! Why so much fuss?

  • POSTED BY strokedthroughthecovers on | April 28, 2009, 0:28 GMT

    Why are the sub-continent fans so defensive about any criticism of the IPL? The author is not criticising the IPL - he's criticising the TV commentary, which is clearly alienating a lot of viewers. And for all those people who believe the IPL is a decadent carnival, a paradigm shift, that anything goes, that the hyperactive excitement is somehow in the Now ... don't forget that the IPL is still fundamentally a sporting contest. It's the contest between bat and ball that draws most viewers. If the contest becomes too diluted by farce, people will go elsewhere for their fast paced sporting fix.

  • POSTED BY krik8crazy on | April 28, 2009, 0:27 GMT

    The phrase which irritates me the most is "citi moment of sucess". Another thing that needs to stop is commentators fawning over Lalit Modi. As soon as he comes into focus, the commentators say "that's Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner". Honestly, is there any spectator left that doesn't know who Lalit Modi is ?

  • POSTED BY Brian_Tendulkar on | April 28, 2009, 0:18 GMT

    haha yea i still havent come to term with the fact that DLF max is a new name for a six and 'city moment of success' cud be any dismissal wether u get no 1 or no 10 out. and i keep hearing ipl will improve cricket all over the world! but i dnt see how! yea it will improve cricket in india for sure like raina is a real find from the last ipl.. ppl may argue hes been around for a while but he hardly ever played any good innings before the last ipl. and i dnt see any bangladeshi, irish or kenyan cricketers.. how is it improving world cricket? I wonder y we dnt see the likes of sakib or tikolo or anyone from developing cricket countries and yet ppl claim its developing world cricket! when ur only allowed 4 foreign cricketers u dnt have the luxury to pick developing foreign cricketers while icl can afford to buy a full bangladeshi squad.. and HowZatbro hahah yea not too long man not too long!

  • POSTED BY Tau001 on | April 27, 2009, 22:58 GMT

    Hi Haigh, Good, they brought you up from cryogenic state. In the last few decades the world have a changed a little bit. Fascism did not take hold, Communism did not proliferate and there is something called Capitalism that is prevalent in the present times. So, let's get on with the it. The money makes people do strange things, like try to make a game more interesting because that's what's on the agenda of the sponsors, you know the people who make these events possible. They indirectly throw a bone to the players and people like you who write about it. So wake up and let's play!

  • POSTED BY lettherebecricket on | April 27, 2009, 22:43 GMT

    And what about them cheerleaders? They are fairly common in the US where there are times during a game of American Football or Baseball when nothing really interesting happens. But 20-20 already has so much non-stop action on field that I don't really understand the logic behind having dancing girls. Nobody seems to care about their presence. Even the commentators don't say a word or two when they're being shown on screen in fear of saying something sleazy or sexist in front of a family audience.

  • POSTED BY jolly_727 on | April 27, 2009, 22:27 GMT

    if you dont like it, simply dont watch it/write about it. why feel so jealous!!

  • POSTED BY SaaB11 on | April 27, 2009, 22:21 GMT

    Come On Guys; I know it is hard to hear them every match regarding sponsors, but that is IPL, and it will be there for only 2 months. And mainly it is INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE, so it will be based on commercial, Why we need IPL simply because of the money and amount of money the sponsors pay to run this IPL is humongous. So get over it and enjoy this 2 months, if it is hard to hear again and again then switch to some other channel where you can watch Smooth and easy going matches. I repeat it is INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE, so there will be disturbance get over it.

  • POSTED BY NicoliD on | April 27, 2009, 22:16 GMT

    I'm going to make the opposite complaint... the IPL is just not long enough. Now, I know this sounds like heresy, but the fact is, the IPL feels like a global sideshow, tearing players away from international sides and their normal clubs to play for a team in India for five weeks. If players in the IPL were more easily identified with these teams, like a soccer or rugby player would be with their league club, you'd have much more interest. The issue with that being, soccer clubs might play 50 or 60 games a season in leagues, cups, things like that, and that would stop endless national tours... but, would that be such a bad thing either? And, with some hope (and can we only hope), having to pay $160 million to have a company's named dropped twice an over for a longer competition would just be insane, the product placement would drop to more sane levels, we'd have less articles written about it, and less random accusations of racism, which I think would be particularly good for everyone.

  • POSTED BY sandeeprevi on | April 27, 2009, 21:30 GMT

    i can stand any of the rubbish that they talk when it comes to advertising.....but the city moment of success is just utterly rubbish.Its just supposed to be 1 moment and u hear the commentators yapping about it after each wicket or boundary.Even that is fine but when i heard a particular commentator saying a dot ball was a city moment of success after the bowler had been hit for the first 3-4 balls of the over i just couldnt believe it.Why cant commentators just stick to cricket and let advertisements during commercial breaks do their job!!!!

  • POSTED BY giveitaslap on | April 27, 2009, 21:25 GMT

    I agree with everything that GH says. IPL is cricket for muppets and the sooner it returns to India, the better. We can then start to concentrate on the 'real' cricket and stuff the money.

  • POSTED BY aarpee2 on | April 27, 2009, 21:24 GMT

    I agree.These commentators without exception are sounding and appearing more and more as "Cheerleaders" with clothes on and a mike.Further the cameras also panning frequently to out of job actresses, now co-owners is getting to be a bit painful.

  • POSTED BY Ulio on | April 27, 2009, 21:22 GMT

    Spot on, actually I been thinking about this why Mark Nicholas keeps repeating "citi moments of success and DLF SIX and some of his other lines" I think that is how it works they are paid and they are simply doing their job, but it is been over done, its annoying to hear the same line 10 times in a over.

    Thanks for the article.

  • POSTED BY Damageinc on | April 27, 2009, 21:06 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with Gideon Haigh,you are absolutely right..IPL is such a pathetic excuse for cricket...all its doing is that it is ruining this great game of cricket and making players extremely greedy for money.

    Its not cricket at all,its just business and nothing else.

  • POSTED BY FAnon on | April 27, 2009, 20:57 GMT

    This is what happens when big business hijacks every facet of our lives. What we love will become unlovable, because it isnt about loving the game. This is mindlessly brutal and ultimately meaningless competiton, with soem exceptions of course, as mindlessly overhyped by the game's commentators become sophists and cynics beholden to their masters chequebook. A Faustian contract that even the likes of Coney it seems cant resist. Nicholas is given to cringing hyperbole anyway, but Coney, almost 60 year old Coney gyrating with cheerleaders!!! Pathetic and creepy. Wonder what Arlot would have said to all this?

  • POSTED BY inswing on | April 27, 2009, 20:46 GMT

    IPL is a screaming success, and a certain someone can't stomach it. If you have decided to find fault with something, you can always find it. Some of the commentary is a minor annoyance. The players are best in the world and the games are exciting. A few silly comments are hardly going to cause the collapse of cricket. On the contrary, T20 is what is going to keep cricket alive by paying the bills for test cricket. For DLF and citi, it is actually a fantastic investment given the popularity of the tournament. It is probably better than any other form of advertising for the same money. But one is allowed to write articles in a fit of jealousy, isn't one?

  • POSTED BY SourojitDhar on | April 27, 2009, 20:24 GMT

    Oh... I just forgot to mention... I just had my first glimpse of the IPL trophy for this year and I almost threw up in my mouth. Got to go down as the most abhorrent trophy design in sports history. I bet I'd have a big 'O' moment if I saw the design of Modi's house!!!

  • POSTED BY MaxPowers on | April 27, 2009, 20:06 GMT

    There is always going to be politics in cricket. Weather its a team of kids playing on the street or internation cricket; the politics will always be there. Lets learn to deal with it.

  • POSTED BY Loiterer on | April 27, 2009, 20:00 GMT

    I am finding the IPL quite enjoyable, more so than last year--and it's not all do to with Deccan playing to their full potential. Contrary to last year's tournament, the IPL is not being televised where I live and so I am 'watching' via cricinfo commentary. No cheerleaders, annoying music, continual ad-breaks--and certainly no DLF or Citibank.

  • POSTED BY Gaurav_D on | April 27, 2009, 19:52 GMT

    I have enjoyed every inch of IPL so far. So much so, that I have been waking up at 4-5am every morning to get my dose of IPL. Its a pity not to see all stars participating. Its also a pity some people cannot appreciate something good and go only on a witch hunt. I am sure Gideon Haigh hates roses because it has thorns......

  • POSTED BY Sinnerman on | April 27, 2009, 19:47 GMT

    About ur comment on commentators making a deal out of a rookie doing good, i think that it is a big deal, Flintoff being smashed by Nayar was way more exciting than Mendis being smashed by Tendulkar.

    Rest I agree with you.

  • POSTED BY Aswin_ganesh on | April 27, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    I wish that the commentators start concentrating on the action on the field instead of the one off it. Of late, I have been seen a lot of distractions during matches when some commentator or IPl member goes and interviews either a team owner or group of supporters. Then the anchor pretends as if the stadium is full when we all could see that it was half empty. And then, lots of rubbish talk emerges and the viewer is left shaking his head wondering why these buffoons are being interviewed.

    Please focus on cricket. Agreed IPL needs money, but the main onus should be on cricket, not on the bollywood coterie

  • POSTED BY Rahul-Bhatia on | April 27, 2009, 17:30 GMT

    <i>"When everyone is somebodee / Then no one's anybody"</i>

    Or as Dash phrased it more recently in The Incredibles, "If everyone is special, no one is". Replace one with thing.

    The commentary is cloying, and the constant reference to sponsors is tedious, but what else can the channel do? Perhaps somewhere, unknown to us, are a heap of contracts that contain fine print requiring Arun Lal and his friends to utter a sponsor's name over 20 times an hour. There's a business proposition here: a channel that provides live feed without the commentary.

  • POSTED BY ProudCharger on | April 27, 2009, 17:10 GMT

    Mr.G I guess your English. I would say get over the anti-IPL feeling. If you are a true cricket fan start embracing it. IPL will definitely improve cricket around the world. It has its own fault but its still in an infant stage and should be given benefit of doubt.

    Champions league is giving $6mil for the winner. Tell me how will that effect a poor county team or NZ state side or WI club team when they win it. Some of the Jr crickets in world or not being paid full time. How that money will affect them even if they make it to the leagues that's big for them. All this money is generated by IPL and its ads.

    Next time you write your anit-IPL and high morale look of cricket, look at the state of county cricket. There's no real talent in county cricket because the kids in England can't get inspired for a 5 day game. To get them pick up bat and ball you need the carnival and fast paced cricket. Money is needed to sustain the game for long time and we need to compromise a bit.

  • POSTED BY ed.dixon on | April 27, 2009, 17:05 GMT

    I seem to remember an eminent commentator (I think it was one of those mentioned above) summarising Richie's approach to commentating along the lines of 'if you cannot add anything constructive to what has been shown on the screen, don't say anything.' Seems like good advice to me and is what made Richie the most respected commentator of his or any other age. I love cricket in all it's forms - but IPL I watch with the sound turned off.

  • POSTED BY HowZatbro on | April 27, 2009, 16:50 GMT

    how long before the Toyata front foot drive throuw the Vodaphone covers by Pepsi's Kevin Pieterson!

  • POSTED BY RajKS on | April 27, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    IPL is a good concept and was successful last year. But if the commercial aspect of it is thrust down our throat each and every ball, every run and every matches then that day would not be far when people would get bored and fed up with it which will eventually cause the death of that tournament. I live in America and am a passionate fan of NFL. I have seen open air stadium packed to the capacity even during the freezing temperature. But I have not seen a vulgar display of massive wealth or physical power on the television or in the stadium. NFL do not have to prove anything to the people. It has become a part of the culture of the United States of America. Every aspect of the NFL is spectator friendly and is virtually pure. Sadly, the person or the group that created the IPL will eventually kill it.

  • POSTED BY _IndianCricketFan on | April 27, 2009, 16:42 GMT

    Man, this is exactly what has been on my mind too. This "DLF maximum" and "citi moment of success" is quite annoying. Citi should stop spending its money on advertising, the darn bank is sinking into the ocean. Im sure they're paying big money for this constant "Citi moment of success." I noticed this year, it has not been as repetitive as last year. But, at the same time without the sponsors the IPL, which is great entertainment wouldn't be possible. So I think its a minor small annoyance that we can all deal with and there probably is not a huge need to cry about it.

  • POSTED BY QUDSI on | April 27, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    if they swill not scream their names. they will not get the money.simple as that.

  • POSTED BY azuri24 on | April 27, 2009, 14:51 GMT

    Absolutely spot on ... I think there is a potential opportunity for Red Bull to sponsor the Commentary Team .... Maybe call them the Red Bull Squad or something. Make no mistake ... I love the IPL and I am a marketing person myself but there has been an overkill. I think it is not the fault of the sponsors but the fault lays with the commentators for the over zealous way they have presented every sponsor. I think T20 cricket is an energy packed concept on its own and the audience do not require hyperactive commentators to pump the audience every 20 seconds. Infact all they manage to do is turn you off.

  • POSTED BY frankstrandli on | April 27, 2009, 14:38 GMT

    I haven't got a Kingfisher's clue in Vodafone hell what you are DLF talking about.

    I enjoy the way the DLF commentators refer to the sponsoring companies like sentient beings, with a DLF heart and genuine love of the DLF game. In fact, I entirely agree with it. DLF, and I'm not talking about the people who work at DLF, loves cricket, its logo loves cricket, its buildings love cricket and most of all the idea that is DLF loves cricket and I love DLF maximums. And I don't think DLF has been imprinted on my brain and the DLF keys on my keyboard haven't worn down because of the DLF IPL and intrusive DLF sponsorship.

    What is DLF?

  • POSTED BY tbc1 on | April 27, 2009, 14:29 GMT

    The entirety of the criticism levied at the IPL, whether on grounds of commentary, commercialism or such, arises from the reality that it is not, and has never been, a format for the "Cricket fan". It is lowest common denominator entertainment, whose purpose is strictly commercial; Twenty20 was coneived thus, and will remain thus, a vehicle by which longer, more sophisticated but less profitable formats can be maintained. Hence, I fail to see why the sub-continental clamour, criticism, and cries of "racism" should be treated with any credibility; they misunderstand the basis of "Cricketing" opinion upon the IPL.

  • POSTED BY matka on | April 27, 2009, 14:18 GMT

    Ok, we get it. You don't like the IPL, and you don't like the crappy commentators and commercials. Knowing that you will get a lot of heads nodding in agreement on the latter, you are using that to denigrate a cricket league only in its second year. Some of the mis-steps, like the useless 10-over break, are experiments that we have to suffer through as part of growing pains. I expect this one to be a one-season abomination.

    There's a lot that's annoying about the IPL, but a lot of the cricinfo analysts are missing the point that there's a lot to like as well. Is it fashionable to slam the IPL to prove yourself as a 'true' cricket connoisseur? Why so much focus on the sideline tamasha instead of the quality cricket that is being played by the best that international cricket has to offer? Is it because its an IPL, and not an EPL? Them grapes be very sour, methinks.

  • POSTED BY Pete789 on | April 27, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    Gideon, the problem is that this business has not gone far enough. If it's to be a farce, it should be turned into a complete farce to increase the entertainment.

    Examples:

    Off stump can be called Coke stump; Middle stump - Pepsi stump; Leg stump - Vodaphone stump.

    Also fielding positions - eg 1st slip = Coke slip; 2nd slip = Pepsi slip, and so on.

    Commentators names:

    Instead of Mark Nicholas, Coke Nicholas...

    You get the drift. The opportunities are endless.

  • POSTED BY dcrowle on | April 27, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    I'd have to, for once, disagree with Gideon. I believe, as @Pragmatist states, I think this highlights the deficiencies of commentators not being able to blend in a sponsors name more than the sponsors telling them to name-drop at each opportunity (although I am sure when they had their training sessions the commentators were told just that...). Richie wouldn't fall for it. Although I might have heard him a couple of times talking about new CSI episodes on Channel 9 in Australia last summer...

  • POSTED BY markr1976 on | April 27, 2009, 12:59 GMT

    Agreed - the art of commentary used to be to talk sparingly. The pictures were clear enough, and the insight and observations were only ever to supplement one's understanding of the play. The permanent state of excitement for games which have often been damp affairs does little but grate.

  • POSTED BY Sriram.Dayanand on | April 27, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    Gideon, as usual, is absolutely on target here. Before hollering at him about his anti-IPL views and his distatse for money entering into the sport, you should at least consider the simple issue he is raising - it is about the shrillness of the commentary and the fact that the primary job of describing the action on the field seems to have been replaced by a need for the commentators to be hawkers. This is not about being against the IPL, you know. The audio is really jarring and the artificially concocted high-pitch is irritating to the core.

  • POSTED BY henrystephen on | April 27, 2009, 11:38 GMT

    You're right Gideon, but why don't you just say it how it is? Twenty-20 is for today's shallow consumers who want instantaneous gratification and think that anything can be justified if it "rakes in the moolah".

    Ugly old Test cricket will survive because although it might not make as much money there is a lasting, real hunger for it.

  • POSTED BY chughesblancashire on | April 27, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    Gideon I agree entirely with your article, particularly with reference to the banality of the commentators. I am a lover of cricket and 20/20 holds no interest to me at all. I don't subscribe to Setanta and if I did I would not watch the 'slogfest' that is currently taking place in India/South Africa/Timbuktu (does it really matter where?). Commentators revving up boring games of 20/20 is, I suppose, inevitable but Mark Nicholas is just as culpable when covering Test matches. His ability to talk up a maiden over on the first morning of Bangladesh v New Zealand is a skill of sorts but not one that this particular observer has any wish to suffer.

  • POSTED BY harikrishna_n on | April 27, 2009, 11:32 GMT

    It seems that IPL bashing has come a favourite pastime or even a fulltime profession (maybe due to the global economic downturn) for some. In a recent article in The Times about Andrew Flintoff, Mike Atherton wrote "He will miss the opening two npower Test matches of the summer against West Indies.". Notice the use of "npower" Test matches, in due deference to the sponsor of the Test series. But Gideon Haigh will not write about or even pretend not to have seen this or many other such instances outside the IPL.

  • POSTED BY jaggss on | April 27, 2009, 11:21 GMT

    Gildeon,ur way of presenting the article is nice.But the content is not that great.IPL is not a international competition,Its run by BCCI and the franchises are owned by different individuals.But they made a option for Foreign players to take part.Every Franchise has the right to sell what they can to earn money from the sponsor.Even priety zinta goes one step ahead to make titbits like cup and saucers,bands to earn.Its a good thing.They are spending it and they can Advertise to make most of the earning.IPL officials are supporting it to make everyone profitable and commentators are following it.Its nothing wrong with it.Its the view that makes these things acceptable.Ur comments are rubbish and doesnt make sense.cricket is not just a game nowadays.It also involves marketing.SO if u have go for the earning

  • POSTED BY deepblueC on | April 27, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    Well as much as Gideon & the others may wanna cry ... The IPL is raking in the moolah .... good luck to them!

  • POSTED BY devdog on | April 27, 2009, 11:02 GMT

    Can I just say, I agree with you on the commentators selling out, and taking away the basic aura of the game. But look at it this way, we now have more people watching cricket than ever before, especially for the last decade or two. Cricket has always been known to be traditional and boring to the non-cricket player, but this IPL is bringing people back the game. Stadiums are getting sold out quicker than ever before. As much as we can see it as a money making scheme, and taking away the pride of cricket, look at it this way: it's ONE tournament! If you're really not enjoying it, then DON"T watch it! Simple! We have an awesome Ashes series, and ICC competitions coming up, so look forward to those then. Otherwise, just let the people enjoy their one month of madness!!

  • POSTED BY philipbkk on | April 27, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    With all due respect to Mr. Gideon i think he's gone a bit overboard with his assessment of the commentators. The other night i was listening to Harsha Bhogle and i think he was at his best as always.The entire world has woken up to IPL and looking at the house full scenario in almost all grounds in South Africa,i have to admit that Mr. Modi deserves a pat on the back for organzing and scheduling this year's IPL at such short notice. The sponsors which have been lambasted by Mr. Haigh are the one's giving out funds to needy students and schools in SA.I think this is a very harsh critique and totally bereft of facts.

  • POSTED BY pragmatist on | April 27, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    Gideon - this shouldn't be any surprise to any of us. IPL is a money-making exercise, and intrusive ads and content in association with multiple sponsors are the way the Indian media industry works. The commentators will no doubt be under huge pressure to oblige the sponsors - and some will be better than others at integrating the message/taking the mickey as they do it. So these guys are just doing their job - no more, no less. It's not my taste either - but that's just the way it is. Viewers in Australia and the UK need also to bear in mind this is an Indian tournament designed for Indian television - viewers elsewhere in the world are an added bonus for the organisers as they stretch the monetisation of their product via small additional rights deals with the likes of Setanta.

  • POSTED BY UsmanSyed on | April 27, 2009, 10:33 GMT

    Have to second you on that, mainly because T20 isn't always exciting, just like ODIs aren't all the time aaahs and ooohs! You have to credit the situation as it stands, no hyperbole, be rational. Otherwise, when you credit an upcoming batsman with the sensational shot when it's just a mistimed cover drive rolling down to the fence, you degrade the likes of the true cricket greats and their game.

  • POSTED BY digitwizard on | April 27, 2009, 10:31 GMT

    Well said. I used to respect these commentators, yes Shastri and Gavaskar included, when they brought to the commentary box an expert opinion that was unique to men who had played the game. If all that experience amounts to is fawning over a mediocre shot, my respect for them is unjustified. What's sad is, you can hear the regret in their voices as they do it... they'll try and hide the fact that they're selling out, change the wording, slip it in without trying to be obvious. If even they feel like sell-outs here, I'm not convinced this is the best idea for the sponsors themselves. That said, I disagree that the IPL is a shadow tournament, because regardless of what you see on TV, you know that fans are still going wild in India... they invented the tournament and they're still enjoying it. The only thing missing is the packed statium and the atmosphere, but it still exists where it should.

  • POSTED BY DWP1 on | April 27, 2009, 10:31 GMT

    Yes the IPL is shamelessly commercial and yes the commentators are ridiculously over the top, but can anyone honestly say they'd rather watch county cricket or even 5 games in the middle of nowhere between Australia B and Pakistan? There is some occasionally good test cricket around (basically when SA, Aus and India play each other), but otherwise most 50-50 and test cricket is all rather dull. Like it or not, IPL is what modern cricket needed, perhaps not as commercialised as this, but I can promise you any rational person still prefers it to the ridiculous champions trophy or watching South Africa in a home series with Bangladesh!

  • POSTED BY travisglen on | April 27, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    The advertising seems to have become more important than the game. When Vettori bowled Pietersen in last nights game, when they showed the replays the TV broadcaster 1HD(australia) went to an ad break denying me the opportunity to see some true entertainment on more than one occasion.

  • POSTED BY Fine_Legs on | April 27, 2009, 10:20 GMT

    You must be kidding, Gideon. IPL is not test cricket; it is driven by the power of advertising. Just as Geoff Boycott would have been a misfit in this format, the sobriety of a Richie Benaud wouldn't work in IPL. Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar may not be your favourites, but its a free market out there for commentators: I believe the broadcasters would simply pay for better ones if they existed, and definitely will if they find them. Every sport has tried in recent times to "get with it": faster, glitzier, riskier. And the people funding those efforts have been your villains: companies and banks. In those other cases, audiences have complained, as you are cribbing, about excessive advertising, and then hvae come right back for the riveting action. I suspect it won't be very different with IPL. I share your revulsion at some of the commercial excesses, but must admit it would be foolish to deny the obvious success of the transformation experiment. Get with it, Gideon.

  • POSTED BY Sandman2007 on | April 27, 2009, 10:18 GMT

    Though I agree that the commentating has been plugged with adverts (some discreet others blatant like citi moments and DLF max), I find Gideon's piece a bit short sighted. He is of the opinion that there can be advertisements but there is a limit to it....So Natwest trophy is ok but DLF maximum is irritable....now who decides this limit...of course if I am the sponsor I will demand more. There are no powerful global bodies in cricket that can make strong statements like that. The game needs Lalit Modi as badly as it needs a Lara or a Tendulkar as the game was certainly dying. I CERTAINLY DONT AGREE to him being shown 10 times in a day romancing the cheerleaders. Money brings in better players and also helps the game reach different countries. NBA did it, Baseball did it....Cricket needs to do it.

  • POSTED BY prashant1 on | April 27, 2009, 10:09 GMT

    Of course. You are absolutely right. But then, you miss the basic point. This is not really "cricket" as we know it. This is a CARNIVAL, which does not even have any pretensions to serious cricket. The Gavaskars,Shastris,Nicholass etc etc KNOW that and have said it often enough. SO this thing is basically 90% PARTY and 10 % cricket/or whatever. Lighten up.

  • POSTED BY JackSparrows on | April 27, 2009, 9:44 GMT

    Thanks Gideon for all your insights re IPL 2. One question I'll ask to you and everyone who is questioning the way IPL is marketing its sponsors and bla bla. Suppose you were working for a company (not very renowned) and you were hired as a marketing executive, wont you do your job promoting the company and telling how good your company is to every other person you meet, knowing the company provides sub standard services and whatever whatever. Commentators at IPL are doing the same thing Lalit Modi and co are paying their wages and have every right to ask them to promote IPL and talk often about the sponsorers. I live in england and I will tell you one thing watching county games is so boring and if you see IPL, young players who are emerging and oozing with talent are getting chance to play cricket with great cricketers the game has ever seen. so please as everyone has advised you, ACCEPT THE CHANGE or else watch highly thrilled county games played in england and write about them!!

  • POSTED BY mmoosa on | April 27, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    Did anyone notice the number of left arm seamers of high quality in the IPL? Are there any new faces OF QUALITY PLAYERS in the IPL one hasnt seen before? Have GENUINE spinners played a role in the IPL? Has reverse swing played a role in the IPL? Are neutral grounds getting filled at the IPL? Are players getting paid more in the IPL? Has the standard of fielding been enhanced at the IPL? Are Indian subcontinent players improving on faster wickets? Are different cultures being shared accross different countries via IPL? Is cricket expanding its fan base via IPL?

    Answers: yes,yes,yes,yes,yes,yes,yes,yes,yes,yes!

    As a lover of test cricket i must say 20/20 is the next best thing and a superior spectacle to the 50 over format especially after the last 50 over world cup in the Windies.

    By the way Citigroup may not be too flush but i can think of another more bankrupt entity-ENGLAND!

  • POSTED BY gpharrison on | April 27, 2009, 9:41 GMT

    some of these comments are ridiculous. that there are objectionable consequences of the ipl is not a slight against india or the ipl, nor are they a denial that change is a fact of the universe. i find the pessimistic tone of a lot of these comments unfounded, and so puerile. it is a journalist's job to offer insight; stir up debate; articulate things that most of us cannot articulate or simply do not see. haigh has a fair point and supports it; those of you upset by it either need to read the article properly or grow up.

  • POSTED BY abythegreat on | April 27, 2009, 9:41 GMT

    Brilliant Article, You spoke my mind. Some of the commentary crap like DLF , Citi moments that too from from the likes of Sunil Gavaskar( arguably the greatest Test opening batsmen) & Mark Nicholas( the best commentator after Richie Benaud, Henry Blomfeld, Tony Cozier,Michael Holding & Bill Lawry ) Its nothing but cheap publicity and marketing gimmicks that these corporate business house do to spoil this game. People like Harsha Bhogle has no business being there. Shows what you can do if you have a business model and plenty of finance houses as support

  • POSTED BY Sudzz on | April 27, 2009, 9:16 GMT

    The author is right, since the tournament itself is not exactly the same as last year, everything is looking highly contrived and very plastic.

    Therefore when people go ga ga over a DLF maximum or a Citi Moment of Success etc it sounds very artificial.

    The problem that IPL is having this year is that on true-ish pitches most players are getting found out, techniques are getting questioned and therefore only the true old fashioned cricketers are meeting with success. Therefore the adrenalin rush that was experienced last year is altogether missing and nothing that these commentators do is going to bring it back...

  • POSTED BY timedout on | April 27, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    Brilliantly put. The enthusiasm for Twenty20 and the IPL is like a wildfire - very powerful, very convincing, and soon burns itself out. I've already stopped watching Twenty20, because it's so one-dimensional. Once a team loses a couple of early wickets, the game is over. The excitement is a sugar rush, nothing more, and sugar rushes soon pall. Give me the full, five-flavour complexity of the five-day game, please, and by all means I'll remember your sponsor's name with some respect.

  • POSTED BY R.Sankar on | April 27, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    To ask commentators to bring expertise and observation to bear on a T20 is to miss the point. T20 is not about nuance or strategy or any of the finer aspects of the game. T20 will reduce the best of commentators to banality, to avoid which, they have to scream and work up a sweat over a crude slog. What then to say of the likes of Gavaskar, Shastri and Bhogle who are pathetic in the game's more demanding formats?

  • POSTED BY Bytheway on | April 27, 2009, 9:06 GMT

    And to listen to Gavaskar (the Great Gavaskar who speaks his mind) talking Modispeak is.....Can we take him seriously again when he speaks his mind?

  • POSTED BY wahbie on | April 27, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    The first time I knew something was up was when I watched the opening ceremony in Cape Town. Ravi Shastri was being interviewed by one of the Capetonian anchormen, when Yuvraj Singh walked past. Ravi then snatched the mic out of the (presumably) embarrassed TV-man's hand, and proceeded to conduct an interview with Yuvraj. I thought that was pathetic and a clear indication of what the IPL is really all about: shameless commercialism. I like the fanfare and hype around the game, but I must say that the game itself is getting lost in all of that. So, the IPL is a great idea, but needs to be reworked.

  • POSTED BY mynameisnobody on | April 27, 2009, 8:53 GMT

    I could not agree with you more. It is a cheap way of marketing a product. The game starts at 4.00 p.m IST, but tv channels announce the start time as 3.00 p.m. IST. One hour of continuous and repetitive ads which not only irritate viewers but also projects IPL as a boring commercial venture. Right in the middle of game, ads appear (either you miss the first ball of the over or the final one).Mr. Modi, enough is enough.

  • POSTED BY Avid.Cricket.Watcher on | April 27, 2009, 8:51 GMT

    Gideon, you are as guilty of rendering an unbalanced view on the IPL as some of the commentators. The Super Over in the RR vs KKR game was a hell of a lot of fun & excitement! Or did your senses fail to perceive that the whole crowd stayed and cheered (not to mention the millions at home in India) all through the extra-time? Similarly, perhaps you've also missed the numerous other nuggets of exciting, top-class cricket...such as Harbhajan vs. Hayden & Flintoff, Murali vs. KP, Dravid vs. Warne, Fidel Edwards vs. Ganguly, Warne vs. Ganguly, De Villiers vs. Flintoff, Gilchrist vs. Steyn, Malinga's fantastic bowling at the death, Hayden's awesome assaults on teams DD and RC, the emergence of Kamran Khan under Warne (a young man who was chopping wood for a living last year), etc. etc. If all you're observing is the irritating commercial aspects of the IPL, you really are missing out, mate.

  • POSTED BY Bytheway on | April 27, 2009, 8:51 GMT

    The absolute worst cricket commentary I have ever heard. After the first week, I mute the sound and watch most of it in silence. To say that this is the new, innovative Indian way is rubbish. Indians are far more intelligent than this. Admittedly, the IPL is entertainment. Boring, repetitious drivel is not good entertainment. It is sickening. Be sure that, after this, DLF and Citi are two brands that I now find so repulsive that I would not touch them with a bargepole.

  • POSTED BY Mdave on | April 27, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    I agree with the article.

    Being a true cricket fan I have the most utter disrespect for the brash IPL ..its all about money and more money .... players are just pawns in this great corporate greed saga..

    having said this i must also say that its a big hit in India and almost everyone I know of is hooked on to it..

    I mean, there is no better way to come home and enjoy your evening than watch an IPL game (no matter how shallow it may appear).

    IPL is akin to a b-grade tv reality show -- something that stinks of mediocrity and people still watch it because they dont have anything better to do in the evenings.

  • POSTED BY harsha_chu on | April 27, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    Mr.Haigh, First of all, let me start by saying that i LOVE test cricket. I think that is the best form of cricket and its importance must be preserved. However, I also like IPL a lot. I think it is great fun. Let me tell you something- IPL is a "domestic" tournament of India in which some foreign players are playing. Modi has every right to talk about the sponsoring companies - just see the amount of money they have splashed on the tournament. Just come to India and see what IPL has done- People who were never interested in cricket earlier are now diehard fans of IPL. My American friend who never could understand cricket absolutely loved IPL when i took him to a stadium to watch a game. I find this IPL bashing very funny. People have no problem with people making obscene money in EPL or the NBA but think that money and IPL is destroying cricket.

  • POSTED BY R.Sankar on | April 27, 2009, 8:39 GMT

    I thought it was "silly moment of success!" Gideon is spot on.

  • POSTED BY PlanetJamie on | April 27, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    It's nothing to do with resistance to change, it's about inanity, lack of clarity, lack of quality and plugging sponsors at every conceivable chance. Accepting change is only good when the change is a positive one. If accepting the kind of garbage spewing from IPL commentary boxes is what anyone is suggesting then my answer is No. Remember, IPL is what they call "sports entertainment" - like WWE "wretling". How long before we have cricketing equivalents of The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, et cetera? I'll stick to keeping the occasional eye on the IPL via websites, over which Lalit Modi has no editorial control. There is already too much mediocre broadcasting already, in life generally, never mind sport. IPL commentary is a huge wave of mindless mediocrity, sponsored by DLF, Citi and anyone else with a few million dollars to waste.

  • POSTED BY asifsarfraz on | April 27, 2009, 8:33 GMT

    I do believe that IPL commentary has to calm down on saying the sponsors name every five seconds, because it is getting a bit tedious, and I do have it drilled into my head who the sponsors are.

    Besides the sponsors names being mentioned and the 7 and half minute break! We have to accept change, because the world is changing (Gideon Haigh) and we have to go change with it! Its true, if your frustrated by watching the IPL, go watch a game of county cricket! How exciting!

    Let's talk about how exciting Stanford was shall we. At least IPL is going to last longer, come on Gideon it's only into it's second season!

    Next time Gideon though lets compare Stanford 20/20 to IPL.

    I know it's embarrassing ain't it.

  • POSTED BY rinspin on | April 27, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    well dont both the IPL and county cricket pay cricketers a healthy wage? IPL from a commercial/business perspective is a brilliant concept as it has the capacity to create EPL like fan/customer bases and generate plenty of revenue.

  • POSTED BY Otto_Fister on | April 27, 2009, 8:17 GMT

    'But either Lalit Modi is pumping nitrous oxide into the commentary box...'- genius gideon. No matter what your opinion of the IPL itself, everyone knows that the commentary is rubbish. Do they think that our support is that temperamental that every momment has to be absolutely screaming fantastic... actually I think they might. Truth is that anyone watching 20/20 has at least a passing interest in the game and can see for themselves what is good and bad. I mean they don't bother to talk up the EPL or AFL if the game is poor... Could be worse though - we could have Tony Greig painfully illustrating on the 'telestrator' the difference between an inswinger and an outswinger in order to educate the uninitiated on the fundamentals of the game.

  • POSTED BY robheinen on | April 27, 2009, 8:14 GMT

    It is a strange phenomenon, indeed, this T20. Fortunately(?) Sky isn't broadcasting it. { The question mark is there because I'm not sure why they're not broadcasting it, since they broadcast gridiron, wwf and what nonsense have you instead } More astonishing is the protectionist way it is handled. Obviously you can't blame Mr. Modi or the BCCI for blocking its competitor, the ICL. The ICC however is very much to blame for disallowing that one true value of the Western World - ahum - free competition in any market. Did we indeed see the ICC effectively become a commitee of the BCCI? Can we avoid the racial card - england and australia have ruled the ICC too long - being played and get some sense into the cricketing world? We've seen the value of money - Is every winner in the West Indies'team payed yet? - can we now please get back to the cricket?

  • POSTED BY mumbaiguy79 on | April 27, 2009, 8:01 GMT

    Awesome Gideon! You really spoke my mind. Of the few matches I have been following, some of the commentary gibberish that goes on is appalling and truly phony. I admire Sunny and Ravi as cricketers but by far they have been the worst commentators I have ever heard on the air. Add to that Harsha Bhogle, who I think doesn't have any business holding a mic let alone showing his face on the idiot box.

  • POSTED BY 68704 on | April 27, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    Yes it is pathetic to see the hyperbole and the raving and the ranting of the commentators. It is sad to see the more sophisticated, polished Mark Nicholas trying hard to become a Bill Lawry or an Ian Smith. Yes Citi could do with a few moments of success itself and it is really annoying to see every commentator shamelessly describing wickets of full tosses and long hops as citi moments of success. But the most blatant exhibitionism is the parading of Lalit Modi. This may be a great advertising of how a game can be marketed and how sponsors can be roped in and how even a venue can be changed in three weeks" time, but it is a sad advertisement for a noble game. Ramanujam Sridhar

  • POSTED BY Roamer on | April 27, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    Very well said Gideon ... couldnt put it better .... the commentary and even the cricket being played looks too artificial in this IPL ... no more a novelty so it has lost the charm.

  • POSTED BY crickey_fan on | April 27, 2009, 7:35 GMT

    Every time I hear the commentators come out with 'DLF Maximum' and 'Citi moment of success', they sound so contrived. Sometimes, they miss out on stating it, and after a moment or two come up with it during the replays. Almost as if someone just reminded them through their earpiece. But then, lets look at the other end of the spectrum here for a second. It is because of clauses like these that the sponsors are shelling out billions of dollars. This in turn allows the IPL to generate more money and franchises to play the players huge sums of money. At least part of it is going to the players whose cricketing careers are so short that they can certainly use the extra paycheck. So, though I am vexed of hearing it, I can live with it.

  • POSTED BY Chatli on | April 27, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    Great article Gideon, very well written and very perceptive as usual. Thoroughly enjoy reading everything you write

  • POSTED BY SachinIsTheGreatest on | April 27, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    This article didn't deserve much of my time so I haven't read it in full but catching a few words like "IPL", and "Gavaskar" AND coming from Gideon Haigh I have no doubt this is one more of a bash-India-BCCI-Gavaskar-IPL stunts.

    But isn't it amazing that the IPL gets beaten, trashed, and abused in almost every other article from this person and thats a tribute to the event. Gideon Haigh's existence is because of the IPL. If there is no IPL, who will he abuse, or spew vitriol on?

  • POSTED BY chuck.of.all.trades on | April 27, 2009, 7:17 GMT

    I know exactly what you mean, and felt the irritation from Season One. http://chroniclesofdementia.blogspot.com/2008/04/up-in-sky-its-bird-its-plane-its-dlf.html

    Cardus would be turning in his grave if he found out how the commentator's box is being used to peddle insolvent companies...

  • POSTED BY NumberXI on | April 27, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    Just to borrow from Haigh: We know who you are, what your agendas are and how much you hate the money angle in cricket, even of the ECB variety (i.e. money from a dubious billionaire and what-a-great-guy-Giles-is), but "Now GO AWAY!"

  • POSTED BY AjaySridharan on | April 27, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    Good articulation of what most cricket lovers have observed about the ridiculously poor standards of commentating. It is another point that the same can be said of Ravi Sashtri's commentary even in regular formats of the game too. He acts like an Indian cheerleader, sans the skimpy dress!

    At the end of the day Modi is a businessman, a shrewd marketer and is trying his best to import successful sports marketing concepts from the US. As a sports marketing student myself, I know that the most crucial step in this process is to preserve the "authenticity" of the game itself (the core), while providing different entertainment experiences for the audience. The IPL is in imminent danger of failing this test, and Modi will only have himself to blame for it. It is on this crucial topic that I think the commentators can actually play a vital role in being educated critics, helping the concept evolve into better shape. They are doing a disservice however, by being Modi's marketing vehicle

  • POSTED BY JaySarkar on | April 27, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    Resistant to change - thats haigh, as is Booth. Cricinfo despite being at forfront of cricket reporting has strangely been hackneyed and old fashioned - is it representing the views of those only in England? If so, then sorry, the game is Indian Premier League, get your own league and do it your way. This represents resistance to change.Ask anyone who's worked for corporates how change is managed for their are detractors to anything new and different. Tension between purists and novelty-seekers is a historical truth. DLF IPL represents a different type of game, very idfferent to 20-20 in England.I've no problem with 'DLF maximum' , and 'Citimoment of success'. IF i'd paid as much as they've, i too would be demanding publlicity.when we go to buy a hi-fi we specify a Sony hifi, a samsung mobile, a jaguar car: not just any hifi or car.I dont think it devalues cricket but its different.This is cultural resistance:but cricinfo wouldnt put my mail our for it hasnt for last several weeks.

  • POSTED BY PottedLambShanks on | April 27, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    One must wonder how much Citi has spent on their advertising contract with Modi - one can only presume it must be a huge amount.

    As a potential customer I'd rather they spent that money on risk analysts and therefore it's one bank which will never see any of my savings.

  • POSTED BY True_Indian_Fan on | April 27, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    I think we should get used to it, this cricinfo page itself has many many ADS..Haven't we gotten used to it? ;)

    Cricket is a small game(played by only 7-8 countries) compared to Football or Basket ball....So it needs a lot of support...Every inch of a F1 drivers Jersey is taken up by sponsors today...That's the way sports is heading today...We need to take it a pinch of salt IMHO.

  • POSTED BY peter_della_penna on | April 27, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    There is also the case of Tony Greig being on the ICL board and doing ICL commentary. The most baffling for me though was when I witnessed Sanath Jayasuriya doing television commentary in late 2007 for the test series between England and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka... when he is still a member of the one-day side. How can anyone expect him to be critical of the players in the test arena and expect him to get along fine when he suits up on the same field as them in one-day games? It's also very hard to watch Sky Sports and expect Nasser Hussain to be asking tough questions to people he has shared part of his playing career with. The same goes for Ian Healy and Michael Slater on Channel 9 in Australia, among others. Michael Atherton may be one of the rare exceptions of a recent player who is not afraid to be critical of people he has suited up with. But overall, even the tough cookies like Ian Chappell and Michael Holding can sometimes come off looking too chummy with modern players.

  • POSTED BY peter_della_penna on | April 27, 2009, 6:37 GMT

    This is a wonderful piece by Gideon Haigh. He brings to light one very important point that has been ignored for far too long. The fact that there is a conflict of interests in the commentary box never seems to cause much conflict in the world of cricket. It is not just Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar being on the IPL board and commentating on IPL matches. Mark Taylor and Allan Border are on Cricket Australia's Board of Directors. Taylor commentates on Channel 9 while Border has done work on overseas tours in the commentary box. The non-probing, puff interviews by Shastri and Taylor are always baffling. Merv Hughes is an Australian national selector and yet he was in the SABC commentary box during the one-day series in South Africa. I thought the whole premise of being a journalist, both in broadcast/commentary and in print format, was to present an unbiased outlook. But for some reason it seems as though cricket prides itself on being as biased as possible.

  • POSTED BY riteshjsr on | April 27, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    Well, Gideon has a point here. The commentators have been saddled with the job of reminding the viewers who the tournament sponsors are. It is indeed irritating to keep hearing phrases like 'DLF Maximum' and 'Citi Moment of Success'. The observations and judgments on the on-field action seem contrived. However, I disagree with the other observation that the author makes regarding the popularity if IPL season 2. In fact it can't even be called an observation, because had he cared to observe, he would have witnessed huge crowds in packed stadia. I am actually amazed at the response a domestic Indian tournament is getting in SA. In India there's IPL frenzy everywhere, despite the fact the tournament is not being staged in India. People are glued to the television, so much so that no TV channel wants to bring out a new show till the end of May. The Indian film industry is also on vacation till the IPL draws to a close. This bears testimony to the immense popularity of the IPL.

  • POSTED BY rugg on | April 27, 2009, 6:26 GMT

    i agree with you on the tactical time out. I mean do players really need a break after only 10 overs? But i dont think its the commentators fault.

  • POSTED BY vmind on | April 27, 2009, 6:15 GMT

    Another disgruntled anti-IPL campaigner! Somehow Cricinfo is not too happy about IPL.. Why? A couple of days ago one of the cricinfo commentators commenting on an IPL match was sending a barrage of sarcastic remarks about IPL.. If you've got something better to do, go do it. IPL for all its faults is the first time that the best cricketers in the world are put in a box, shuffled randomly, allocated to 8 teams, and made to compete against each other. It is like NFL (American football) where the best in football compete not based on which state they were born/studied, but (just like a professional engineer) based on which franchise pays them the best for their services. Yes, the ads and sponsor info is sometimes pushed in your face; but the sponsors are the ones who are paying big bucks to bring the entertainment to us. Yes, Ravi Shastri's hollow commentary is a pain, but not to the extent that the author seems indicate. And remember, things evolve and so does cricket. Accept the CHANGE!

  • POSTED BY sdpuri on | April 27, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    Dear Gideon, I am surprised you are actually watching the IPL and ignoring the dizzying spectacle of county cricket. The IPL is about money - that's why Pietersen and Flintoff turned up and that's why Citibank is there too. Oh, and that's why the commentators are there as well.

  • POSTED BY theregalpower on | April 27, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    Haigh hits the nail on its head when he says that commentators of the calibre of Mark Nicholas are reduced to mere screamers and barkers...

    Probably T20 is an advertisement for bare cricket rather than nuances of cricket...

  • POSTED BY sap1979 on | April 27, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    ah finally u made it. We were all missing ur valuable insights. See you again in the 3rd edition with more of ur useful comments.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY sap1979 on | April 27, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    ah finally u made it. We were all missing ur valuable insights. See you again in the 3rd edition with more of ur useful comments.

  • POSTED BY theregalpower on | April 27, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    Haigh hits the nail on its head when he says that commentators of the calibre of Mark Nicholas are reduced to mere screamers and barkers...

    Probably T20 is an advertisement for bare cricket rather than nuances of cricket...

  • POSTED BY sdpuri on | April 27, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    Dear Gideon, I am surprised you are actually watching the IPL and ignoring the dizzying spectacle of county cricket. The IPL is about money - that's why Pietersen and Flintoff turned up and that's why Citibank is there too. Oh, and that's why the commentators are there as well.

  • POSTED BY vmind on | April 27, 2009, 6:15 GMT

    Another disgruntled anti-IPL campaigner! Somehow Cricinfo is not too happy about IPL.. Why? A couple of days ago one of the cricinfo commentators commenting on an IPL match was sending a barrage of sarcastic remarks about IPL.. If you've got something better to do, go do it. IPL for all its faults is the first time that the best cricketers in the world are put in a box, shuffled randomly, allocated to 8 teams, and made to compete against each other. It is like NFL (American football) where the best in football compete not based on which state they were born/studied, but (just like a professional engineer) based on which franchise pays them the best for their services. Yes, the ads and sponsor info is sometimes pushed in your face; but the sponsors are the ones who are paying big bucks to bring the entertainment to us. Yes, Ravi Shastri's hollow commentary is a pain, but not to the extent that the author seems indicate. And remember, things evolve and so does cricket. Accept the CHANGE!

  • POSTED BY rugg on | April 27, 2009, 6:26 GMT

    i agree with you on the tactical time out. I mean do players really need a break after only 10 overs? But i dont think its the commentators fault.

  • POSTED BY riteshjsr on | April 27, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    Well, Gideon has a point here. The commentators have been saddled with the job of reminding the viewers who the tournament sponsors are. It is indeed irritating to keep hearing phrases like 'DLF Maximum' and 'Citi Moment of Success'. The observations and judgments on the on-field action seem contrived. However, I disagree with the other observation that the author makes regarding the popularity if IPL season 2. In fact it can't even be called an observation, because had he cared to observe, he would have witnessed huge crowds in packed stadia. I am actually amazed at the response a domestic Indian tournament is getting in SA. In India there's IPL frenzy everywhere, despite the fact the tournament is not being staged in India. People are glued to the television, so much so that no TV channel wants to bring out a new show till the end of May. The Indian film industry is also on vacation till the IPL draws to a close. This bears testimony to the immense popularity of the IPL.

  • POSTED BY peter_della_penna on | April 27, 2009, 6:37 GMT

    This is a wonderful piece by Gideon Haigh. He brings to light one very important point that has been ignored for far too long. The fact that there is a conflict of interests in the commentary box never seems to cause much conflict in the world of cricket. It is not just Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar being on the IPL board and commentating on IPL matches. Mark Taylor and Allan Border are on Cricket Australia's Board of Directors. Taylor commentates on Channel 9 while Border has done work on overseas tours in the commentary box. The non-probing, puff interviews by Shastri and Taylor are always baffling. Merv Hughes is an Australian national selector and yet he was in the SABC commentary box during the one-day series in South Africa. I thought the whole premise of being a journalist, both in broadcast/commentary and in print format, was to present an unbiased outlook. But for some reason it seems as though cricket prides itself on being as biased as possible.

  • POSTED BY peter_della_penna on | April 27, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    There is also the case of Tony Greig being on the ICL board and doing ICL commentary. The most baffling for me though was when I witnessed Sanath Jayasuriya doing television commentary in late 2007 for the test series between England and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka... when he is still a member of the one-day side. How can anyone expect him to be critical of the players in the test arena and expect him to get along fine when he suits up on the same field as them in one-day games? It's also very hard to watch Sky Sports and expect Nasser Hussain to be asking tough questions to people he has shared part of his playing career with. The same goes for Ian Healy and Michael Slater on Channel 9 in Australia, among others. Michael Atherton may be one of the rare exceptions of a recent player who is not afraid to be critical of people he has suited up with. But overall, even the tough cookies like Ian Chappell and Michael Holding can sometimes come off looking too chummy with modern players.

  • POSTED BY True_Indian_Fan on | April 27, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    I think we should get used to it, this cricinfo page itself has many many ADS..Haven't we gotten used to it? ;)

    Cricket is a small game(played by only 7-8 countries) compared to Football or Basket ball....So it needs a lot of support...Every inch of a F1 drivers Jersey is taken up by sponsors today...That's the way sports is heading today...We need to take it a pinch of salt IMHO.

  • POSTED BY PottedLambShanks on | April 27, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    One must wonder how much Citi has spent on their advertising contract with Modi - one can only presume it must be a huge amount.

    As a potential customer I'd rather they spent that money on risk analysts and therefore it's one bank which will never see any of my savings.