February 15, 2010

Club or country? Same difference

Far from marking the end of nationalism, the IPL is the ultimate triumph of that principle: a global tournament in which the same nation always wins
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In 1921 the American journalist Lincoln Steffens returned home from a visit to the Soviet Union with a spring in his step and a famous line on his lips: "I have seen the future and it works." Cricket's equivalent nowadays is a study of the Indian Premier League. The headline of a foretelling of cricket's future published in last month's Wisden Cricketer by Mike Atherton is unequivocal: "Club v Country? No contest."

Atherton is, to my mind, the game's premier analyst, speaking with the authority of 100 Tests, not to mention 10 O-Levels, three A-levels and a BA Cantab. When he concludes that "international cricket will eventually be superseded by club cricket", we are bound to listen. His argument, typically considered, is that while countries are constrained by the talent within their borders, "clubs can sign whomever they wish, from wherever, finances and availability allowing". Thus: "Over time competitiveness, which is at the heart of good sport, is much easier to maintain."

Atherton is not the first to so prophesy. Some, especially those who have deplored what they see as sport's tendency to nationalist excesses, have already celebrated the rise of the franchise-owned club as the game's chief organising unit in the 21st century. No less than the former undersecretary general of the United Nations, Shashi Tharoor, looks on the IPL as cricket's proverbial melting pot, blurring former allegiances, dissolving old antagonisms: "Thanks to the mixture of nationalities in each of the IPL teams, partisanship has suddenly lost its chauvinist flavour. In the IPL, the past poses no impediment to the future."

Peter Roebuck has foreseen and welcomed the substitution of the values of the corporation for those of the country: "The ICC will be more important after the franchises have taken over domestic cricket because it will be empowered not by self-centred countries but by businessmen with high expectations. Free from impossible responsibilities and the petty politicking that mars this most ungovernable of games, it will focus on matters of discipline and co-operation."

Interesting - and such wise judges are right to note the tectonic shift the IPL represents. Yet there's something familiar about such sentiments, maybe even ironic, given the liberal dispositions of commentators involved. The inefficiency of the state, the purifying efficacy of competition, the fundamental rationality of free enterprise: is there not here a nostalgic waft of 1980s economic dogma - Reaganomics, Thatcherism, call it what you will? The 1980s also saw all manner of prophecies about the necessity of dismantling public institutions, empowering private capital and the general global globalness of globalism. How odd, meanwhile, to hear such pronouncements regarding cricket at a time when they are so deeply out of fashion in economic policy circles, when the American government owns the bulk of the country's auto industry, the British government runs a sizeable chunk of the country's banking industry, and France's Nicolas Sarkozy has declared that the global financial crisis presages "the return of the state, the end of the ideology of public powerlessness".

Nor is the IPL, involving the socialist principle of a salary cap and the protectionist mechanism of quotas, perhaps the best example of a market left flourishingly to its own devices and dynamics. As for those "businessmen with high expectations" focused on "discipline and cooperation", this does not reconcile easily with stories of corporate babble in the boardrooms, Rolexes scattered in the dressing rooms, US$600,000 paid for Mashrafe Mortaza, and Australian cricket's man of the moment Cameron White not representing his franchise at all during IPL's second season.

The IPL, involving the socialist principle of a salary cap and the protectionist mechanism of quotas, is not perhaps the best example of a market left flourishingly to its own devices and dynamics

Undeniably the club model has a great deal to recommend it. Indeed, one can hardly argue the contrary. The club is, after all, the basis of cricket everywhere, long predating the nation, and even the county, state and province, as a unit of cricket competition. With a bit of imagination you can draw a line of descent from the Bat and Ball Inn's corporate sponsorship of Hambledon to Kingfisher's ownership of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, even if the soi-disant "King of Good Times", Vijay Mallya, has yet to emulate Richard Nyren by mixing punch to "make a cat speak". So does the reinvention of "the club" via the medium of the multi-million-dollar franchise prelude in cricket the eclipse of the nation?

For the most convincing counter-argument, it is useful to recall the world three years ago, when the BCCI was still resisting Twenty20 for fear of endangering the golden calf that was one-day international cricket. One impetus for IPL is generally well understood: the irruption of Subhash Chandra's Indian Cricket League, which looked like bringing Twenty20 to India anyway, and potentially cornering the market. The other impetus tends to be forgotten: India's defeats, by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, in the 2007 World Cup, which sent the team reeling from the tournament before the Super Eights stage. Bad as this was for Rahul Dravid's team, and also Greg Chappell's coaching career, it was a calamity for those broadcasters, sponsors and advertisers on the subcontinent who had priced their investments in the tournament on the assumption of prolonged Indian involvement.

Lalit Modi was a man whose time had come, having conceived of a tournament in which India was guaranteed participation right the way through. When MS Dhoni's ensemble prevailed in the World Twenty20 in South Africa, the argument could also be made that the IPL was somehow the best of the best - even if that contention has since been belied by the abject failure of IPL teams, despite home-ground advantage and friendly schedules, in last year's Champions League.

With this understanding, though, the formulation of "club v country" can be seen as simplistic. Far from "partisanship having lost its chauvinist flavour", as Tharoor argues, the IPL is nationalism's ultimate triumph: a global tournament in which the same nation always wins. Indeed, the IPL is national champion, like the computer-services giants Infosys, Wipro and TCS, a source of pangs of patriotic pride as it outdoes the world's best. "I am extremely proud that whatever we have seen over the last 44 days is a product of India," said Sharad Pawar at the first final. "It [IPL] is a global representation of India and what the modern-day India stands for and its successes," added Modi. When the tournament was relocated to South Africa in its second season, in fact, its Indianess was somehow emphasised, by lying so lightly on the landscape while simultaneously effacing the location beneath.

At the player auction for the third IPL, the nation won again, with the franchises unanimously shunning players from Pakistan, many of whom had been invaluable in the first IPL before their exclusion from the sequel after the horrors of the Mumbai attacks. This was not economically rational behaviour in a borderless world: at $200,000, for example, Shahid Afridi was a snip. But the franchise owners were unwilling to wager their popularity on the market and/or political acceptability of Pakistani players. Where the BCCI, to its considerable credit, could see a greater good served by the resumption of cricket relations with the Pakistan Cricket Board six years ago, the IPL's self-serving cartel had no such wider or deeper focus: no sense of symbolism, no notion of the good of the game, and no goal greater than pleasing the financiers by not running the risk of displeasing the fans. In doing so, the perceptive Ashok Malik argued in the Pioneer, they have paradoxically served the ends of India's Ministry of External Affairs, demonstrating "cricket's potential for coercive diplomacy".

The IPL franchises have placed the equivalent of an economic embargo on Pakistan. India has very little leverage - political or socio-economic - within Pakistan, and its ability to "impose costs" in the face of provocation is limited. The IPL boycott of Pakistan, the income loss to individual cricketers and the open snubbing of that country's cricket community, represents just such an "imposition of costs". This has been done by civil society. Yet, it would be foolish to expect Indian diplomacy not to use it to its advantage.

The contention that the IPL somehow leads us to the sunny uplands of a post-nationalist cricket utopia, then, lacks force. Indeed, one is left to wonder exactly what the IPL's admirers in this context find so objectionable about nationalism as cricket expresses it. To be sure, George Orwell famously described international sport as "war minus the shooting". But for all Orwell's greatness as a thinker, this was one of his least felicitous lines, analogous to "murder minus the death" or "life minus the breathing". Yes, follies and frictions can occur when countries clash head to head in sport, but international cricket's impacts have been, by most standards, almost overwhelmingly benign: we still talk about Bodyline and the Stop the 70 Tour campaign because they are exceptional, not characteristic. One could even argue that the cricket in this post-colonialism age is worryingly lacking a nationalist edge. West Indies v New Zealand? Sri Lanka v South Africa? Afghanistan v Ireland? Compared with such rivalries, it's no wonder that the IPL, with its hyperbolic promotions and hypertrophic team names, seems to represent a veritable clash of titans.

"Club v country"? For sure, the club may well be the face of the future, but behind it will always lurks the country - which is not going anywhere. And if IPL does represent a recrudescence of nationalism beneath a corporate veneer, it is perfectly possible that the future we have seen will not work at all as we imagine.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer. This article was first published on Seriously Cricket Chronicles

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on February 19, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    A superb article by Gideon Haigh - as confirmed by the rabid hostility from the imbecilic and socio-historically illiterate. Haigh masterfully delineates the social and historical context of the postwar era - how the age of anti-imperialism, state economic policy and the Cold War gave way to the age of privatisation, market economics and the never ending War against Terror. He places the evolution of international cricket within this context and is therefore able to better understand the dynamics of the interaction between cricket and society than the likes of the extreme reactionary Peter Roebuck and the arriviste Mike Atherton.

    Speaking as an Indian living in Britain, there is something ugly and vulgar about modern Indian nationalism, a monstrous inflation of chauvinistic, zenophobic and communalist toxins mingling in the aether of crass commercialism, nuclear geopolitics and hydroelectric social engineering. On the cricket field this is represented by the likes of Harbhajan Singh

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 18, 2010, 18:41 GMT

    @Lovetash and similar persons. Yes IPL is a domestic competition but nearly 1/2 of every team consists of foreign players who do help carry the popularity and more importantly the standard of the competition. Therefore you have no right to tell the writer to "keep off it". The IPL administrators have to be responsible ("with great power comes great responsibility") for the good of the game on a whole. If the KFC big bash continues to pull more Int'l players as well, they too need to be more responsible as well. I actually love the IPL and thinks it is a great idea. I personally would like to see 2 divisions of it and ASSOCIATE TEAM PLAYERS getting scouted. I also would like to see finances spread to countries who's players play in the IPL as I would like to see ENG COUNTY DO THE SAME.

  • JeffG on February 17, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    @ Lovetesh - but the whole point is that the IPL is NOT just a domestic tournament like the KFC Big Bash. It ceased to be one as soon as it effectively forced countries to ban players (eg Shane Bond) if they had appeared in the ICL. And it further moved away from being a domestic tournament when it produced the offshoot Champions League and tells the ECB which teams they can and cannot send and expects them to change the English domestic season around. As an Englishman I am extremely worried that the IPL will kill the game in other parts of the world. I can see the day coming (in the not too distant future) where international test cricket is dead and english domestic cricket is played by amateur players with all the best english talent playing solely in IPL cricket. I will therefore be unable to see any top class live cricket in my own country. That is what I am worried about, and so are many more, i'm sure.

  • Aldavid on February 17, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Gideon's lament that the IPL is becoming too nationalistic to the detriment of test cricket would be believable if he first looks and comments on what is happening in his own backyard. Isn't it strange that he along with the jingoistic Murdoch cricket press have remained silent about the goings on regarding who is to represent Australia/NZ as the next representative to be deputy chairman of the ICC from July. It has taken the best cricket writer in Australia, the Englishman Peter Roebuck to bring to light the shenanigans going on behind the scenes.

    It's disgraceful that Australia has no better candidate than former PM John Howard and is refusing to concede that the Kiwi's long serving cricket administrator John Anderson is the better candidate. Instead a committee has been formed to choose a consensus candidate.

  • Aldavid on February 17, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    Gideon's lament that the IPL is becoming too nationalistic to the detriment of test cricket would be believable if he first looks and comments on what is happening in his own backyard. Isn't it strange that he along with the jingoistic Murdoch cricket press have remained silent about the goings on regarding who is to represent Australia/NZ as the next representative to be deputy chairman of the ICC from July. It has taken the best cricket writer in Australia, the Englishman Peter Roebuck to bring to light the shenanigans going on behind the scenes. It's disgraceful that Australia has no better candidate than former PM John Howard and is refusing to concede that the Kiwi's long serving cricket administrator Sir John Anderson is the better candidate. Instead a committee has been formed to choose a consensus candidate.

  • tor.cricfan on February 16, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    maddy20 -> As one of my lecturers once said "stupidity is like the universe. It never never ends no matter how much you discover. Yes it is true.....you are an example.

  • StaalBurgher on February 16, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    Will these Indian posters please realise no one is bashing "IPL". Get over yourselves. When we say IPL it means any T20, Pro20, 20/20 or whatever the hell you call it in the various countries. I dislike T20 internationals, our own (SA's) T20 domestic competition. This is not about Indians. It is the 20 over format that is rubbish. Fine have it in India, but please reduce limited overs significantly on the international calender and only have 1 limited overs world cup. 2 is too many. And now of course those idiots are talking about T20 in the Olympics?!

  • Lovetesh on February 16, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    Do write something new Mr. Haigh. I am truly fed up with your usual bashing of BCCI!!

    IPL is a domestic tournament, if you don't like it keep off from it. Does anybody in the world say anything about KFC Big Bash? NO. Then why you are breaking your head over IPL?

  • skks on February 16, 2010, 3:12 GMT

    @ Xolile - Your assertion about MLB is not correct. From hitters to pitchers a huge chunk of top players are foreign-born . But do agree that IPL can't stand on just the homegrown talent yet .

  • skks on February 16, 2010, 3:01 GMT

    on not picking the Pakistani players - my $0.02 . You are right to point to out the owners did not want to become unpopular by picking the Pakistani players . After all it is a business decision and i don't see why they should be "brave" , already Shah Rukh Khan , the actor and the owner of KKR is facing the wrath of one of the political parties in India for suggesting that Pakistani players should have been included . This may not be ideal, but this is the reality. And by the way, I am very disappointed that Pakistani players aren't included . To conclude, the IPL is about money and entertainment a la American

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on February 19, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    A superb article by Gideon Haigh - as confirmed by the rabid hostility from the imbecilic and socio-historically illiterate. Haigh masterfully delineates the social and historical context of the postwar era - how the age of anti-imperialism, state economic policy and the Cold War gave way to the age of privatisation, market economics and the never ending War against Terror. He places the evolution of international cricket within this context and is therefore able to better understand the dynamics of the interaction between cricket and society than the likes of the extreme reactionary Peter Roebuck and the arriviste Mike Atherton.

    Speaking as an Indian living in Britain, there is something ugly and vulgar about modern Indian nationalism, a monstrous inflation of chauvinistic, zenophobic and communalist toxins mingling in the aether of crass commercialism, nuclear geopolitics and hydroelectric social engineering. On the cricket field this is represented by the likes of Harbhajan Singh

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 18, 2010, 18:41 GMT

    @Lovetash and similar persons. Yes IPL is a domestic competition but nearly 1/2 of every team consists of foreign players who do help carry the popularity and more importantly the standard of the competition. Therefore you have no right to tell the writer to "keep off it". The IPL administrators have to be responsible ("with great power comes great responsibility") for the good of the game on a whole. If the KFC big bash continues to pull more Int'l players as well, they too need to be more responsible as well. I actually love the IPL and thinks it is a great idea. I personally would like to see 2 divisions of it and ASSOCIATE TEAM PLAYERS getting scouted. I also would like to see finances spread to countries who's players play in the IPL as I would like to see ENG COUNTY DO THE SAME.

  • JeffG on February 17, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    @ Lovetesh - but the whole point is that the IPL is NOT just a domestic tournament like the KFC Big Bash. It ceased to be one as soon as it effectively forced countries to ban players (eg Shane Bond) if they had appeared in the ICL. And it further moved away from being a domestic tournament when it produced the offshoot Champions League and tells the ECB which teams they can and cannot send and expects them to change the English domestic season around. As an Englishman I am extremely worried that the IPL will kill the game in other parts of the world. I can see the day coming (in the not too distant future) where international test cricket is dead and english domestic cricket is played by amateur players with all the best english talent playing solely in IPL cricket. I will therefore be unable to see any top class live cricket in my own country. That is what I am worried about, and so are many more, i'm sure.

  • Aldavid on February 17, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Gideon's lament that the IPL is becoming too nationalistic to the detriment of test cricket would be believable if he first looks and comments on what is happening in his own backyard. Isn't it strange that he along with the jingoistic Murdoch cricket press have remained silent about the goings on regarding who is to represent Australia/NZ as the next representative to be deputy chairman of the ICC from July. It has taken the best cricket writer in Australia, the Englishman Peter Roebuck to bring to light the shenanigans going on behind the scenes.

    It's disgraceful that Australia has no better candidate than former PM John Howard and is refusing to concede that the Kiwi's long serving cricket administrator John Anderson is the better candidate. Instead a committee has been formed to choose a consensus candidate.

  • Aldavid on February 17, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    Gideon's lament that the IPL is becoming too nationalistic to the detriment of test cricket would be believable if he first looks and comments on what is happening in his own backyard. Isn't it strange that he along with the jingoistic Murdoch cricket press have remained silent about the goings on regarding who is to represent Australia/NZ as the next representative to be deputy chairman of the ICC from July. It has taken the best cricket writer in Australia, the Englishman Peter Roebuck to bring to light the shenanigans going on behind the scenes. It's disgraceful that Australia has no better candidate than former PM John Howard and is refusing to concede that the Kiwi's long serving cricket administrator Sir John Anderson is the better candidate. Instead a committee has been formed to choose a consensus candidate.

  • tor.cricfan on February 16, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    maddy20 -> As one of my lecturers once said "stupidity is like the universe. It never never ends no matter how much you discover. Yes it is true.....you are an example.

  • StaalBurgher on February 16, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    Will these Indian posters please realise no one is bashing "IPL". Get over yourselves. When we say IPL it means any T20, Pro20, 20/20 or whatever the hell you call it in the various countries. I dislike T20 internationals, our own (SA's) T20 domestic competition. This is not about Indians. It is the 20 over format that is rubbish. Fine have it in India, but please reduce limited overs significantly on the international calender and only have 1 limited overs world cup. 2 is too many. And now of course those idiots are talking about T20 in the Olympics?!

  • Lovetesh on February 16, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    Do write something new Mr. Haigh. I am truly fed up with your usual bashing of BCCI!!

    IPL is a domestic tournament, if you don't like it keep off from it. Does anybody in the world say anything about KFC Big Bash? NO. Then why you are breaking your head over IPL?

  • skks on February 16, 2010, 3:12 GMT

    @ Xolile - Your assertion about MLB is not correct. From hitters to pitchers a huge chunk of top players are foreign-born . But do agree that IPL can't stand on just the homegrown talent yet .

  • skks on February 16, 2010, 3:01 GMT

    on not picking the Pakistani players - my $0.02 . You are right to point to out the owners did not want to become unpopular by picking the Pakistani players . After all it is a business decision and i don't see why they should be "brave" , already Shah Rukh Khan , the actor and the owner of KKR is facing the wrath of one of the political parties in India for suggesting that Pakistani players should have been included . This may not be ideal, but this is the reality. And by the way, I am very disappointed that Pakistani players aren't included . To conclude, the IPL is about money and entertainment a la American

  • skks on February 16, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    Confirmation bias working here, looks like you have been continuously searching for different arguments to support your theory ( now its Indian nationalism !)

  • viku13a13a on February 16, 2010, 1:57 GMT

    As a Indian orgin, i must admit that IPL is a good thing to have for entertainment but it is really bad for cricket. Prime example is Andrew Flintoff and Chris Gayle they both have IPL in their mind before Cricket or Country. All IPL is nothing but money business. Players, team owners and BCCI all they want it to get rich. I think they should keep the test and ODI going. It is the best two format of the game. Yes IPL is a very good way to make money since economy is bad just about everywhere. I just hope that ICC and greedy BCCI will do the right thing along with players and keep this fine game from going to waste of time and becoming trash.

  • on February 16, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    IPL is an Indian product which aims to provide employment and entertainment to a global audience, and being an Indian I am proud of that. It is and will be exported to the outside world - IPL2 is an example. I don't understand whats nationalistic about it. Should a German or Italian feel proud when he sees Porche's or Ferrari's being sold across the world, yes of course, should we equate that to nationalism - of course not.

    IPL is a result of capitalism(=democracy) a novel concept that the west has been selling to the rest of the world for years now.

    @DonChad Botha - so the IPL asked England to change their schedule & what's the big deal. I can assure you this is much much less than what the IMF's & WorldBank's & foreign banks do to the monetary policy of lesser nations, when they export their services.

    Atherton - a premier analyst? ..ha!! The writer lost his credibility right there. A very mediocre batsmen - he played 100 tests coz of the average talent English team had back then.

  • MartinAmber on February 15, 2010, 22:57 GMT

    If Cricinfo ever introduces an 'Article of the Year' award, this would be my first nomination for 2010. Balanced, erudite, setting cricketing developments in the context of broader economic trends. Cynics really ought to read and absorb: Haigh knows more about his subject than the rest of us are ever likely to learn. Of course, the saddest thing is that multi-faceted viewpoints get drowned out by the commercial imperatives of faceless "businessmen". To all lovers of the IPL and T20, please try to understand that Haigh and people like him are not full of bitterness, hate and envy; they are concerned about a future that appears to be at the mercy of people who care nothing for 130-plus years of history or for a sport of infinite variety that T20 will never offer even if it lives for 1300 years. Finally "The world moves on", or "move on" isn't an answer to any of the concerns raised here. It's about as useful as Test lovers telling T20 lovers to "grow up".

  • kenos on February 15, 2010, 22:47 GMT

    If the club, county or state sides were allowed to trade players as the major football leagues have been doing, would this necessarily lead to the fading in importance of national teams? In soccer, does a Chelsea player, InterMilan or Barcelona player lose interest in playing for his country or playing in the World Cup? Kenos

  • maddy20 on February 15, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    IPL bashers are at it again. Gideon Haigh needs to take a break so that we can see other good writers write some interesting articles! Just in case if you haven't noticed, an Indian(Virender Sehwag) is nominated for the top 5 test innings of the year and not even one Australian in the list! http://www.cricinfo.com/awards2009/content/current/story/448279.html Someone said "IPL the vast majority of the best players are non-Indian" So very true, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble are all foreign players(Thanks for this enlightening info). As one of my lecturers once said "stupidity is like the universe. It never never ends no matter how much you discover". So very true isn't it?

  • Venkatb on February 15, 2010, 20:41 GMT

    The IPL will die a slow death and fairly soon - yes, for all the reasons the ICL was hounded out as destroying traditional cricket, the IPL does exactly that and collects a "street bully" fee. First, the IPL's franchise players are ageing players and non-starters in the T20 version of the game - in any other country, they would go into the sunset - but this is India, the land of props and idol worship (no not Shiva and Rama but Sonia, Rahul, Karunanidhi, etc.). The BCCi will hold on to Tendulkar for as long as possible - the day he retires, half the collective value of the IPL franchises will vanish - extend this logic to performers such as Gilchrist, Hayden and Flintoff and the day these players vanish, replacements will arise not out of the IPL but from traditional cricket. Add to that, Modi's diktat of removing the IPL from its home city (or home country) and play it elsewhere - you lose the local fan base and the game ends up as a travelling circus which it is.

  • Rajesh. on February 15, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    I don't dislike IPL or T20 altogether but Test Match Cricket is the real deal.................. anytime, any day !!

  • ankursachinislife on February 15, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    wht i want to say is yes the ipl is the product of india no doubt..bt is is helping the game any how?,,our own team after ipl last year performed poorly in the same format. i would never watch a single game of ipl after people lyk warnes n kumble,sachin or dada will stop playing there. its not helping the game. yes the t20 format is helping the game bt nt the ipl..in a commercial way soon the consumer will be bored of it. in its next edition there will be 96 matches where frm will u get the crowd after 2, 3 or say 4 years.ipl is not helping cricket. n mean while its destracting youngsters frm the main core format of the game which is test cricket. n i want to ask one thing..is ipl helping bcci to build a great cricketing structure with all the money they are making. if not then where is all the money?...mr modi says he hasnt earned a penny frm last 2 editions. tc guys long live sachin tendulkar..MY loRD..

  • harsha_chu on February 15, 2010, 17:39 GMT

    For guys bashing the IPL, please remember that it is a DOMESTIC tournament played in India. The people in India love IPL which doesnt mean we dont watch test criket- FYI, the stadiums in Nagpur and Calcutta were full for the India-SA test series which just shows that people will watch any form of cricket as long as it is competitive.

  • knowledge_eater on February 15, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    I was not going to comment first, but i was tempting and having hard time concentrate in my daily activities. So, commenting. I think most of us are born by default rituals of not liking (hating) anything beyond our imagination. Let me rephrase it, most of us are being taught (thats better) not liking (hating) others progress, attempts, style of living, race, and even style of picking nose by others. After, gaining enough knowledge about how human body works and how country runs, I think word 'nationalism' is the biggest step back to humanity. I still get goose bumps when I hear national anthem, but you know funny thing is I get goose bumps even I see kids dieing due to some deadly virus, which could have been prevented by just giving simple vaccine. Funny thing (its not funny) is, that kid wasn't born in silver spoon home of some rich politician. So, whats the point of nationalism ? Is it really patriotism ? or is it the way to keep ourselves busy before we die? Never mind. Peace.

  • S_Sen on February 15, 2010, 17:00 GMT

    Rubbish. Who in the IPL is indulging their inner nationalist? Not Lalit Modi, who thinks entirely in dollars and cents, chases short-term corporate gain to the exclusion of everything else, and is the biggest threat to the future of India as a Test side. Not the players - Indian or foreign - who have generally shown a (reasonable) preference for money over prestige. Not the fans, who enter the picture purely as consumers of instant tamasha and advertising. The IPL demonstrates Indian political clout at the ICC, yes, but that clout exists because of money and for the sake of more money, not for national pride. The ability of the IPL to bend world cricket around its demands is, in fact, much less nationally oriented than the old (and apparently much-mourned) Anglo-Australian conviction that they owned cricket. Ah, Gideon. Your resentment gives you away as someone who is unhappy that new money has altered an old arrangement of power. Go tell it to Freddie and Shane Bond

  • Indiacriclove on February 15, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    First of all its a Indian Product designed to benefit the Indian Crowd and the Indian players. I wouldn't say that IPL is affecting Test cricket at all.... as I have seen so many comments about the IPL saying its going to have negative effect and all whihc is pure rubbish and I think its just the case of jealousy.......I would definitely watch IPL... for that matter I am a ardent cricket fan.. i would love to see othet nations domestic T20 tourneys as well if I get a chance.....So I would suggest stop crying foul over IPL.

  • Shyam_P on February 15, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    The sheer disgust of the "purists" and their resistive approach towards IPL is very understandable. But its time we awaken to the fact that all through 150 yrs of the administration, the game could not achieve much adulation from the world audience, let alone the pathetic addition of a paltry 4-5 teams to the "elite" test list. If there is anything that has brought the game to the masses in recent years, its its success with leagues like the IPL. Definitely a lesson to be learnt from the EPL. Let alone the audience, even for aspiring cricketers, 14 international teams with 200 slots in all is too small a stage. Yes, there is money, glitz and more some arm crushing, but then anything that can help the game grow is fine for me!

  • corpusninja on February 15, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    Come, come now, this is getting ridiculous. The IPL is a festival of cricket. It is enjoyed by millions. It has created jobs and wealth. Don't like it? Don't send your players and don't watch it. Simple. Whoever creates the tournament gets to set the rules. Either play by them or go away and make your own. Either way, pipe down.

  • Vikas.K on February 15, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    What rubbish! Do you feel a sense of patriotism when Man United or Chelsea win premiership? Or Do Chelsea's or Arsenal's run in the Champions League make you feel giddy about English football? If not, then why would it be any different for IPL. My favourite team won the IPL last year but that was no compensation for India's dismal showing at the Twenty20 World Cup in England. If I have any fear--as an Indian--it is that with all the money and the talent it can buy, India might go the England way in soccer: Premiership Clubs rock but England team sucks. SAME DIFFERENCE!

  • Shrini on February 15, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    Are foreigners investing in IPL? Indians are investing, they have the right to decide who is to play. For the increasing control of BCCI over ICC, 60% of ICC revenue is from INDIA. In corporate terms, BCCI has 60% stake in ICC and has the moral right to control cricket. In any case, are we being authoritative? Lastly for Shafiq Ashraf, If you don't wish to see IPL, you are at a loss. It will never die a death as the talent in India will never get exhausted. (BTW i agree BCCI policy towards ICL was wrong.)

  • jayray999 on February 15, 2010, 16:10 GMT

    To Mr. Gideon Haigh and others: The IPL is above all a tournament FOR Indian audiences BY Indian organizers. It is not entirely comprised OF Indian players/umpires/commentators but as far as I know, no one has been forced to participate. It has the lure of money but it is up to individuals concerned to resist temptation. Stop blaming Modi/BCCI/India for choices made by individuals and start minding your own business. If you find it revolting switch off your TV. If it has poached your best players and scuttled your local tournaments, blame your players. They must take responsibility for their own actions.

  • master_class1989 on February 15, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    Im a cricket fan and love IPL. It is a national game which is watched by billions worldwide. IPL to me rivals the uefa champions league or it has the same status at least in my view. Its a brand name these days, lalit modi may be a confused man but when it comes to the numbers game he sure is a true marketer and earns value for its money. Although, i think BCCCI should have more control over IPL and lalit modi. As a Pakistani i was disappointed to see no pakistan players this year but that could be understood politically...

  • banter123 on February 15, 2010, 14:54 GMT

    y all of u guys cnt welcome "change" in cricket....atleast it attracted a new bunch of cricket followers who nw enjoy d short format of game by watching favourite bollywood stars and cricketers....i am also a cricket purist but atleast i cn watch with my family and enjoy a bit of cricket in it......players r happy and everyone so stop crying and grow up d writer is oz and dey dnt like anything good happenning in india

  • rohtheho on February 15, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    So Gideon- what's your point? It's an Indian Tournament that's gone global and something India is proud about- I'm not entirely sure what you're then harping on about here. No Pakistani players were bought, which was a pity as they're still the reigning world champions but if they are going to damage the commercial success of a franchise, it's not totally unreasonable for owners protect their investment. Just look at what's happening to Shah Rukh Khan's movie in Mumbai where ridiculous nationalists are causing mayhem because he criticised the lack of Pakistanis in the IPL. Moreover, despite my misgivings about Modi, the BCCI and him have put Indian cricket on the map. They might not have been pioneers in that they didn't come up with the genre but they have marketed it fantastically and overall it's a brilliant spectacle. I only wish, living in England, that I had the opportunity to step out and enjoy an evening of cricket with a bit of fun, verve and panache. Fun sells well!

  • on February 15, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    I am a cricket fan but have never watched a single IPL match;seen some news snippets that's it; it's just glitz it doesn't evoke anything in me. I hope it dies a swift death.

  • PottedLambShanks on February 15, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    Couple of comments 1) I suspect there was a bit of mischief in Athers' article; write about the end of the world to stop it happening 2) The spectre of further terrorist-related atrocities hangs over the Indian subcontinent like an ever-darkening and expanding cumulonimbus. Quite simply, it's naïve to think that players from England and Australia are going to be safe in India.

    For those reasons, I shall continue to think of the IPL as what it really is; a short-lived, money-spinner for Modi and his krew, and nothing more. People want to see the finest cricketers playing top level cricket and the IPL (home to both retired and nepotistically-selected, average players) will never be the place to watch it.

  • BellCurve on February 15, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    @dhchdh - Huge difference between the World Series Baseball and the IPL is that in baseball the vast majority of the best players are American, whereas in the IPL the vast majority of the best players are non-Indian. This subtle difference means the IPL must tread very carefully or risk losing the services of the international superstars and turning itself into nothing but a hyped-up domestic competition.

  • StaalBurgher on February 15, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    IPL is rubbish. Test cricket all the way. I have no interest in supporting a club as my main aim, secondary sure and then the club or province needs to be geopraphically linked to me, not some business mogul's marketing venture. Nationalistic support will always make the heart beat prouder.

  • Uranium on February 15, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    Cricket playing nations of the subcontinent constitute 1.5 billion people. Outside of that there are 100 million people in other cricket playing nations and cricket competes heavily with other sports such as soccer, rugby, basketball etc. As affluence and prosperity increases in the subcontinent and particularly India, it is obvious that India will increasingly run the world game. India's national team should eventually become dominant in all forms of the game. They will administer world cricket. The IPL is the first development in this trend. Where will it lead? If India can successfully spread the game around the globe by introducing more professionalism, openness, money, hype and excitement then that will be great. Another possibility is that India with their tendency to be punitive will ruin world cricket and the game will wither away outside the subcontinent.

  • Cricneutral on February 15, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    Another foolish article from a person who can not swallow the strides of a country and who cant swallow the fact that every cricketing country is bowing before the Richest board. Mentioning Wipro, Infy TCS in a cricket article shows his wicked and poor thought process. Questioning Vijay Mallya's 'King of Good times' shows, sorry to say, this guys upbringing.Cheap attempt.. Better improve yourselves than berating others.

  • NickHughes on February 15, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    More hype and nonsense doom predictions of international cricket. The IPL is based on luring international stars to play and how did those stars get noticed in the first place? International cricket. Is the IPL going to raise its own stars from Australia, England, the West Indies, South Africa and the rest to import or is it going to still depend on Internationals to provide those bums on seats star names? If they do totally take over, then only Indian stars will rise to prominence and if you take out the international players then who outside of India is going to want to watch?

  • iratewarlock on February 15, 2010, 11:42 GMT

    i really never used to read Gideon haigh before, but his recent articles are nothing short of hey ppl "am a glutton, look at me" . i agree with dhchdh about ipl bashing the new english sport. why the bitterness? ok Eng lost out.. but its not indias fault. another point which does prove ur level of cricket knowledge is when u regards Mike Atherton as a supreme cricket authority. That man is full of bitterness and hate. Read his articles the way he disregards subcontinental cricketers.as if he himself was some titan, a mediocre eng batsman hyperboled by ppl like this author who disregard anything which is not english.

  • SrinR on February 15, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    I love cricket and I'm a traditionalist - prefer to watch test cricket, haven't seen an IPL match yet. That notwithstanding, when the IPL was launched, I was fully cheering them on. Nationalistic pride? For sure. But this is not the kind of pride which says "We're better than you lot"; It is a pride that comes from a sense of wonder - that an event of this magnitude has been conceived and managed in a country like India. If you have lived here with seemingly perpetual chaos and dysfunction at every corner, you would start to appreciate how we feel. Plus, on a purely objective level, can't you see how many jobs it creates for people in India and some overseas too? Accusations of "nationalism" and taking cheap shots is not just crude, vile and unwarranted, I believe it betrays a strange kind of anxiety on the writer's part.

  • on February 15, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    @dhchdh, what you fail to see is that the IPL and BCCI told every country that there players would be banned if they played in the ICL....How can one country dictate the sport to the rest of the nations?? To much power they have!!! Few people know that the ICL was formed b4 the IPL, but the Ipl ran to the BCCI to get approval, and then asked them to ban the ICL, like petty little kids, they cant handle competition. Now they want England to move there county schedule so that there players can play in the IPL, who the hell do they think they are, the cricket governing body.....Damn, I sure hope not!!!

  • TheHooker on February 15, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    Navster2009 - that is quite appalling. If you have read or listened to Haigh, you will understand his sole loyalty is to cricket (Ok, Australia too!). There is no denying the IPL is a triumph for India (Modi and businessmen first, the people second) and that India is the powerhouse of World Cricket. Indians deserve to feel proud. But his view is perfectly valid and echoes (although much more eloquently) the views of a large section of cricket fans. We don't all enjoy the IPL hyperbole, we don't all enjoy the rampant commercialism. And we certainly don't like a global game being held to ransom by a bastardised version of the game of cricket. Personally, i can't see T20 holding a global audience captive indefinitely. There's too few quality, charismatic players to sustain interest. But good luck to India and the Indian people - it's fantastic for you. Just understand that we don't all enjoy what is happening to the great game and prefer to see a different future to the IPL.

  • on February 15, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Excellent article. Good logic and theory. But I seriously believe that IPL and all such cricket leagues will die their own deat within next 2 to 3 years, unless an untill a team comprises of atleast 9 international players. No body wants to waste his / her time watching second / third grade indian cricketers who can't make it big. Similar fate as with ICL. It has not died as yet only because of actors and actresses being involved and glitz attached to it.

  • chaithan on February 15, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    i dont think the ipl will be a long term success if it is hyped up like it is now.people will get bored of the ipl mainly because the quality of cricket is substandard . the kfc big bash is much better even though it has fewer resources, big names and less hype. for all the revenue earned by t20 leagues the biggest crowds are for internationals. @bulla: nice point @Gizza: no idea where u live but i cant figure where u got ur ideas of chennai from.most chennaites and tamils are as patriotic and tolerant as other indians. u will find separatists anywhere in india not just in tamil nadu(and there are comparatively fewer here)

  • dhchdh on February 15, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    Well IPL bashing is the new English sport. To draw an analogy from our transatlantic cousins...the US of A...they too have an all american baseball series & call it the WORLD SERIES. The NBA is no different or is football. Why dont we look closer to home & see EPL football. We are rubbish as a team but have the best football league in the world. We need to move past our bitterness of he IPL; the Indians got their act together in time & kudos to them. In business isnt timing everything??

  • TheOnlyEmperor on February 15, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    People under-estimate the emotions involved in playing for the country. Would somebody play a Test match for a Club? Who would want to watch ODI matches played between Clubs when they are played like exhibition matches? So is it the format? Not really! It's a combination of the format, the competitiveness of the tournament, the tourny duration, the players involved - their stature, form and records, the media hype & coverage, the commentary quality, the sponsorship money, the season timing and the location of the tourny! With no disrespect to the other nations, only India and to a degree Australia can make a multinational tournament like this a resounding success. With all of England's tendency to bring in Asians, Aussies and South Africans, they have not really got anywhere with their 'national' team and never will. It's also about event management and Indian cricket seems to have got their act right. They are fan base centric in approach and so naturally miles ahead of the rest.

  • on February 15, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    Beg to differ! The give away is in the name IPL, and also its a commercial venture.And which is the most lucrative place for cricket? Has the light sparked into life?

  • Gizza on February 15, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    Well actually the IPL may lead to stronger regionalism within India. India is a country divided by language and culture. Already we have seen the banning of hosting matches in Hyderabad due to state politics lead to heigtened tensions.

    If anything this reigionalism has been a major success factor so far for the IPL. They are many people lving in Chennai who hate North Indians and are more proud of being Tamil than Indian. Many others regions (though in some cases only one religion in a region) has historically shown anti-Indians and separatist sentiments. Punjab, Maharashtra, the South, the North-East, etc.

    Unlike National leagues for other sports in other countries (EPL, NRL, La Liga, NBL, AFL, Seria A, Currie Cup, NHL, Super 14, J-League, etc.) The devotion to the club/franchise will often be greater than to the nation because the inter-state or inter-region rivalries are more than that. Ethnic and regional conflict become embedded into the sport, much like it is when Ind play Pak

  • jr2012 on February 15, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    This article makes for embarassing reading "A rant about India from an old white historian"...sour grapes

  • manasvi_lingam on February 15, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Club cricket will never become the primary form of cricket. Cricket has been played as national game for the last 130 years. Given that history I think it's far unlikely that the upstart IPL will make an impact. In fact, in time I'm sure people will lose interest and domestic T20 leagues will die out, leaving only domestic T20 championships and perhaps the T20 Champions league

  • ww113 on February 15, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    In the context of India Pakistan contests,Orwell's observation of "war minus the shooting" was perfectly valid until sometime ago.Crowds in both countries were openly hostile to the other side.That intensity was not necessarily healthy but it made for tense ecounters.Now India Pakistan matches are watered down affairs.IPL has had a role to play.Pakistan cricketers can be bought or snubbed by the IPL with ease.It is a win win situation for Modi and co.

  • sridharps on February 15, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Nonsense article. I don't have any credentials in cricket which can match upto Michael Atherton, but what I do have is an unbiased mind, which tells me that club cricket will not take over international cricket. Cricket is too small a sport played by very few nations. In every nation where it is played, it is always the international matches which get the crowds and the ratings. A bangalore vs Delhi 20-20 match can never match the excitement of an Ind vs Aus or Ind vs Pak encounter. As long as IPL is played for 1-2 months every year, the interest will sustain. If we get club cricket for 12 months a year, then people will lose interest in the game very quickly.

  • bulla on February 15, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    The point being....? Saudi Arabia has an unjustifiably high share of oil and they use it as a tool of diplomacy, can't figure out what Gideon is trying to say

  • cricketbet on February 15, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    If Mr.Haigh is correct and it does "not work at all as we imagine" or worse still, all ends in tears and missing millions, I hope you give him due respect when he writes his piece entitled..."I bloody told you so" I love the IPL and especially the Champions League and I hope it is still around in 10 years time but I can see Mr.Haigh's concern

  • richardty on February 15, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Club versus country? The answer will always depend who you ask. Players, members of national boards, businessmen, and fans will all have their views based on individual vested interest. Even within each of these groups, you will most likely find a differing of opinions. The most important voices in this debate will belong to the players and some of them have already made their intentions clear. There is no doubt that the IPL has and its very lucrative contracts has really brought this issue to the fore. Those who have all their eggs in that particular basket had better hope that the political and social climate in India stays relatively calm, or the IPL could become a road show with stagings in many different countries.

  • IndianMigrant on February 15, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    Finally Gideon Haigh is earning his pay from cricinfo. Instead of blindly spewing vitriolic hate against anything related to IPL, Modi and BCCI he has put forwarded a theory which merits some attention. Butunfortunately he lost the main plot here if IPL is an example of more of indian nationalism then it should be seen thru the prism of an Middle Class Indian not thru the convuluted view of Gideon Haigh who hates everything about BCCI and IPL. Again if to a certain extent IPL exemplifies nationalistic indian fervours then it's because the wheel has come a full circle. There were times Indian Cricket was treated like untouchables by ECB and Australian cricket board. I still remember ECB refusing to allocate not more than three tests in England because india was not good enough and australia touring india only once in a decade.When india found it's niche thru IPL there is bound to be some nationalistic fervour attached to it and to call it the same old nationalism in sport is off base

  • dyogesh on February 15, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    Dear Gideon,

    I have enjoyed your writing and books tremendously before. But it is sad to see you wasting your talent on BCCI & IPL bashing. There are a few worthwhile points in your anti-BCCI and anti-IPL, but you have disappointed by blowing each of them into a full-fledged article, whereas it would have been better to put all of them into a single article and move on. Instead we are left flummoxed by these long-winding and finally pointless articles Your Movers and Shapers series is a gem and that seems to have stalled in the midst of this useless series of articles on BCCI & IPL. And to cricinfo, it will be better for Haigh and readers, if he is asked to move on from this stupid fetish of calling the bluff of BCCI & IPL. Marketers are always known to bluff and Modi is no exception. He has a good product, hence his indiscretions are being forgiven but not for too long. Whats the point of disproving Indian premier league isn't global ? Doesn't the name say so ? Move on Haigh.

  • Testcricfan on February 15, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    Move on Mr.Haigh...Your rabble on the IPL has been going on for so long and has been discussed Ad Nauseum - yes, the IPL is a national venture of India and it is all about making money - what do you expect the IPL/BCCI to do, share the profits with ECB? For what? Does the ECB share its revenues with CSA after picking up KP, Trott etal, or the countless Kolpak/ Overseas players in the county circuit? This is not a Nation Vs Club struggle, because no country other than England seem to be opposed to the tournament and because others see sense & have joined the side where the money is. Now IPL is just a hit and run cricket, which cannot offer the same intensity to the Sport like say Ind Vs Pak or Eng Vs AUS. Even in Football, where the franchise model has taken such deep roots, the WC and Eng Vs Ger or Arg Vs Brazil is still the biggest draw...So Nationalist sentiment will not die all of a sudden just because of some silly cricket played 2 months a year. As Simple as thate

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  • Testcricfan on February 15, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    Move on Mr.Haigh...Your rabble on the IPL has been going on for so long and has been discussed Ad Nauseum - yes, the IPL is a national venture of India and it is all about making money - what do you expect the IPL/BCCI to do, share the profits with ECB? For what? Does the ECB share its revenues with CSA after picking up KP, Trott etal, or the countless Kolpak/ Overseas players in the county circuit? This is not a Nation Vs Club struggle, because no country other than England seem to be opposed to the tournament and because others see sense & have joined the side where the money is. Now IPL is just a hit and run cricket, which cannot offer the same intensity to the Sport like say Ind Vs Pak or Eng Vs AUS. Even in Football, where the franchise model has taken such deep roots, the WC and Eng Vs Ger or Arg Vs Brazil is still the biggest draw...So Nationalist sentiment will not die all of a sudden just because of some silly cricket played 2 months a year. As Simple as thate

  • dyogesh on February 15, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    Dear Gideon,

    I have enjoyed your writing and books tremendously before. But it is sad to see you wasting your talent on BCCI & IPL bashing. There are a few worthwhile points in your anti-BCCI and anti-IPL, but you have disappointed by blowing each of them into a full-fledged article, whereas it would have been better to put all of them into a single article and move on. Instead we are left flummoxed by these long-winding and finally pointless articles Your Movers and Shapers series is a gem and that seems to have stalled in the midst of this useless series of articles on BCCI & IPL. And to cricinfo, it will be better for Haigh and readers, if he is asked to move on from this stupid fetish of calling the bluff of BCCI & IPL. Marketers are always known to bluff and Modi is no exception. He has a good product, hence his indiscretions are being forgiven but not for too long. Whats the point of disproving Indian premier league isn't global ? Doesn't the name say so ? Move on Haigh.

  • IndianMigrant on February 15, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    Finally Gideon Haigh is earning his pay from cricinfo. Instead of blindly spewing vitriolic hate against anything related to IPL, Modi and BCCI he has put forwarded a theory which merits some attention. Butunfortunately he lost the main plot here if IPL is an example of more of indian nationalism then it should be seen thru the prism of an Middle Class Indian not thru the convuluted view of Gideon Haigh who hates everything about BCCI and IPL. Again if to a certain extent IPL exemplifies nationalistic indian fervours then it's because the wheel has come a full circle. There were times Indian Cricket was treated like untouchables by ECB and Australian cricket board. I still remember ECB refusing to allocate not more than three tests in England because india was not good enough and australia touring india only once in a decade.When india found it's niche thru IPL there is bound to be some nationalistic fervour attached to it and to call it the same old nationalism in sport is off base

  • richardty on February 15, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Club versus country? The answer will always depend who you ask. Players, members of national boards, businessmen, and fans will all have their views based on individual vested interest. Even within each of these groups, you will most likely find a differing of opinions. The most important voices in this debate will belong to the players and some of them have already made their intentions clear. There is no doubt that the IPL has and its very lucrative contracts has really brought this issue to the fore. Those who have all their eggs in that particular basket had better hope that the political and social climate in India stays relatively calm, or the IPL could become a road show with stagings in many different countries.

  • cricketbet on February 15, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    If Mr.Haigh is correct and it does "not work at all as we imagine" or worse still, all ends in tears and missing millions, I hope you give him due respect when he writes his piece entitled..."I bloody told you so" I love the IPL and especially the Champions League and I hope it is still around in 10 years time but I can see Mr.Haigh's concern

  • bulla on February 15, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    The point being....? Saudi Arabia has an unjustifiably high share of oil and they use it as a tool of diplomacy, can't figure out what Gideon is trying to say

  • sridharps on February 15, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Nonsense article. I don't have any credentials in cricket which can match upto Michael Atherton, but what I do have is an unbiased mind, which tells me that club cricket will not take over international cricket. Cricket is too small a sport played by very few nations. In every nation where it is played, it is always the international matches which get the crowds and the ratings. A bangalore vs Delhi 20-20 match can never match the excitement of an Ind vs Aus or Ind vs Pak encounter. As long as IPL is played for 1-2 months every year, the interest will sustain. If we get club cricket for 12 months a year, then people will lose interest in the game very quickly.

  • ww113 on February 15, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    In the context of India Pakistan contests,Orwell's observation of "war minus the shooting" was perfectly valid until sometime ago.Crowds in both countries were openly hostile to the other side.That intensity was not necessarily healthy but it made for tense ecounters.Now India Pakistan matches are watered down affairs.IPL has had a role to play.Pakistan cricketers can be bought or snubbed by the IPL with ease.It is a win win situation for Modi and co.

  • manasvi_lingam on February 15, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Club cricket will never become the primary form of cricket. Cricket has been played as national game for the last 130 years. Given that history I think it's far unlikely that the upstart IPL will make an impact. In fact, in time I'm sure people will lose interest and domestic T20 leagues will die out, leaving only domestic T20 championships and perhaps the T20 Champions league

  • jr2012 on February 15, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    This article makes for embarassing reading "A rant about India from an old white historian"...sour grapes