This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Chauvinistic, elitist, snobbish, upper-class, income-tax-evading, black-money-hoarding, tax-haven-using, anti-social, imperialist, capitalist, post-modern Test cricket fans have always been dismissive of Twenty20 cricket and the millions of knowledgeable, sophisticated fans - including your truly - that the Twenty20 format has.
Look at what happened throughout the most extraordinary fourth season of the Indian Premier League in 2011. Every moment of every day these so-called "Text cricket aficionados" would constantly try to point out faults and shortcomings with the IPL format. Constantly they tried to undermine the cricket, the administrators, the cheerleaders, the bookmakers and - most arrogantly of all - the fans. The moment some small thing went wrong somewhere, these "defenders of the pure and true cricket" would jump up and down and scream and blog and tweet and make fun of us.
For instance, when the BCCI told that cheerleader that she should focus on cheerleading and not on writing blatant lies about cricketers, suddenly these fellows got upset. They said that the BCCI was acting in a petty and immature fashion. They said that it was unfair to target the cheerleader because she wrote a few things on her blog that everyone knew but no one talked about.
What nonsense. What if Test cricket had cheerleaders and one of them started leaking secrets?
Oh, I am so sorry. There are no cheerleaders in Test cricket. And if there were, you can imagine what the diary would be like.
Complete, Unabridged, Unedited, Uncut Diary of a Test-match Cheerleader:
Day 1: Nothing happened.
Day 2: Nothing happened.
Day 3: Four byes.
Day 4: Nothing happened.
Day 5: Draw.
I am sure you also remember how that Shane Warne controversy about the pitch was blown out of proportion. I think the BCCI was fully justified in doing what it did. Not only should they have fined him US$50,000, they should have also shaved his head, videotaped his hair growing back, and then sold the tapes to Test match fans, who like that sort of riveting, wall-to-wall action.
Yet another area where I see tedious Test match fans pointing fingers is audience turnout. Yes, I agree, some of the matches in IPL 2011 were poorly attended, as per ODI or World Cup standards, but to interpret this as the success or failure of the format is unfair and shortsighted.
If you insist, let me also interpret.
Recently I was watching Test cricket on TV - I don't remember who the teams were, because everyone wore identical white clothes - and then suddenly they showed the inside of an Ikea showroom. I was confused. Why are they showing so many empty seats arranged in rows?
Then I realised the cameras were panning over the excited crowd, which comprised thousands of empty stands, one middle-aged Englishman and his son, who was perhaps being punished for not doing his homework. You could make out from the look on the young boy's face that the moment his father sent him to buy beer or lunch, he would run away from the stadium, jog to the nearest long-distance train station and, depending on his mood, throw himself in front of the train or hop on board and start a fresh life as a social-media consultant in some distant place without a Test venue (Alaska?) under an assumed name (Sidebottom?).
I request all readers to not be swayed by these elitist bigots and their superior nonsense. The Indian Premier League 2011 was a celebration of all that is good and great about contemporary cricket. Sure, a few things went wrong. But that is to be expected from a new format and tournament that is just four editions old.
Let us not forget that sport is notoriously resistant to change. Take basketball, for instance. For the first 10 years after the sport was invented, the bottom of the basket was closed. After each basket, someone had to climb up and remove the ball from inside. This is true. I am sure that when the open basket was introduced, orthodox basketball players, many of them Test cricketers no doubt, must have been very upset and written long blogs and editorials with headlines like: "Just say no to opening the bottom!"
A hundred years from now people will look back at IPL 2011 and wonder how cricket could have managed without it. It will be remembered as the tournament that put cheerleaders in their place, exhibited restraint in not scheduling too many matches, showcased the talents of Chris Gayle, Paul Valthaty and Raiphi Gomez, and, most of all, prevented Test cricket being played anywhere in the world for two months.
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