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This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
After a morning of watching cricket players singing on YouTube (Abdul Razzaq is my favourite) I stumbled across the live IPL stream. I was greeted with Pommie Mbangwa and Shane Warne speaking with an awkward delay. When Pommie spoke, Warne's lips moved and vice versa. Was a nice effect.
Whispers had come back to me that the picture quality was poor on the IPL's YouTube experiment, but the picture worked for me. You could see Dirk Nannes' magnificent facial fuzz and Graeme Smith's cold, dead eyes. Warne's teeth were as luminescent as always and Harsha Bhogle's hair was lustrous.
Clearly when they came up with this online stream no one thought of the serious problems it could lead to. The cheerleaders are harder to ogle. If the light is not on these unnecessary dancing girls properly, it leads to pixellation and the girls can look like they're characters from Samantha Fox Strip Poker (made in 1986).
I started off by enjoying the experience, but then I realised that even though the site looked friendly enough, there was a seedy secret. After the first over I looked around the page to see what else they had. Under the video I found a live Twitter chat stream coming through that said 14 for 1 was the score, but I had seen no wicket. Three minutes later I saw Dirty Dirk Nannes get one, which took the score to… 14 for 1. We were on a delay.
I might not have worked this out without the help of this live Twitter feed directly below the footage. From then on in I watched the Twitter feed, and if someone said "four" or "wicket", I set my mental egg timer and then scrolled up in time to watch it.
Being that I was in sunny London, I got a KP Brylcreem ad that had been made for the internet, but was put on way too loud and made my ears cry. Like Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Michael Kasprowicz did. This seemed to be their only ad, and it was shown so much that I wanted to find the man who invented Brylcreem, dig him up, and make him watch it. Imagine if KP was batting and all you had was KP ads. You'd overdose on KP. Not how I want to go.
My cat, Spartacus, seemed confused that the IPL was on YouTube, and he never stayed long in my office. He went back to the lounge and waited for me to turn on ITV. (He is a big Mandira Bedi fan, although he was hoping she would wear an IPL logo sari).
The Twitter feed quickly became more interesting than the game to me, as most of the tweets were about illegal places to watch the IPL online. Quite often these people were saying the YouTube link was down, even though it never broke for me. Then they flogged their dodgy link.
When Graeme Smith was out, I was watching the young Ladda bowling on my screen, and he had four balls left in his over. Smith eventually was out in front of my eyes in the next over. It did annoy me, but I also felt like a cricket soothsayer, one who could sense the dismissal was coming before he saw it.
I doubt many people in the world just sit on one website when they are on the internet, so it is impossible not to go to your Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, Myspace, Bebo and Friendster to know what is coming next. And that doesn't even include Cricinfo's genius ball-by-ball coverage (editor, is that what I was supposed to say?). The ways of being in front of YouTube are many and varied.
After getting bored with the game I started playing around and found out you can see alternate camera angles with the "fun feed". Big mistake. I can't believe anyone could watch more than two minutes of this. All I had was a close-up of Shane Warne watching the cricket for 30 seconds, the cheerleaders' empty stage, vox pops of the fans in the dark as a poor interviewer just got screamed at by a bunch of young fans, and extended cheerleading shots. I can only imagine this "fun feed" is for stalkers of cricketers who love watching women dance and children yell.
Then the feed went down.
Not knowing what to do, I decided to click on one of the many illegal feeds while I waited for YouTube to come back on line. I was amazed that the illegal feeds were actually up to speed with the game. When the YouTube feed came back up, it was one full over behind the illegal feed. Does Lalit know about this? I wouldn't want to be the one who tells him. So I stayed with the illegal feed. It isn't quite as pretty, and you can't even make out Shilpa Shetty (I assume it was her) from a distance. But you do get a variety of ads.
Then the illegal stream crashed. I went back to watch the YouTube stream, and saw the over I had just seen. That annoyed me, so I found another illegal feed, but the sound was rubbish on this one.
That was enough. I went back to my couch. Watching cricket wasn't supposed to be this hard.
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