Writing or talking about cricket, in the internet era brimming with seamless social networking, in the two months of April and May is like walking into enemy territory- ready to get fired at, any time, from any direction. Doesn’t matter where you are, what you do for a living, you fall under two categories – you either like IPL, or you don’t.
That’s OK. You can choose what you want to. You like something, and you have the right to enjoy it. The only problem is that everybody wants everybody else to like the same thing.
So, the IPL starts early April, and this year, the county season started in early April too. That is a cue for a battle right there. There was a big battle between the ones who liked County, or preferred it, over the IPL, and the ones who liked the IPL. At what point of time will you accept the fact that I’m not interested in Butterscotch flavoured ice-cream and stop stuffing that down my throat?
Real cricket, reality of cricket…
Umm, you have defined three forms of the game, so I suppose all of those are “real cricket”. Why should someone watching the West Indies vs Australia test be bothered about what somebody else is commenting on an IPL game? Conversely, why should an IPL fan least concerned about a test match be bothered about somebody watching that? People watching different games fight. If you believe what you are watching is real cricket, watch it. You have your own reasons for doing so, yes. Others have their own reasons for watching the other stream. You have a Ford, I have a Hyundai, both are happy, neither is fighting on the streets on which is better.
It was kind of crazy when one gets angry when someone else is expressing his comments, while watching a test match, about a bowler who is going to get a whole portion of stands in his home ground named after him sooner or later; while this person is wanting a certain character to immediately be given the India cap after one innings of IPL stardom, while he was totally ignorant of all the efforts the player had put in throughout the Ranji season where his seriously good efforts failed to buy a couple of pairs of eyeballs of appreciation.
IPL has hit the level of European football standards in fan following, that is for sure. The fans show their passion with highest level of swearing, something that I’ve noticed in almost every sport that I follow running franchise models. So, yes, IPL is right up there. They either swear at each other, or team up to swear at somebody who is not quite amused by the IPL. Either way, wonderful words pop out now and then, which are likely to be Disney‘ed if on air on an episode of The Two Chucks. Shiva Shiva…
But yes, some true hard-core values from supporting the unified Team India don’t dwindle. They hate or like Sachin Tendulkar just as ever. They hate or like Sourav Ganguly just as ever. They have the same sentiments for Rahul Dravid, Shavir Tarapore, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rajiv Shukla etc etc just like if it were a game with India playing in it.
Every single move of Tendulkar was debated on. Rajya Sabha seat, his hair style, his son, his house, the kangan on his arm, his jersey number… I don’t know if I missed or added some topics over there. Ganguly’s batting position in the line up, well that was a lovely topic, wasn’t it? I read people on Twitter wanting him to drop down the order, and called for his head all the while. And, when he did, they questioned (“questioned” is not how exactly they expressed it) that move. Pure entertainment, I say. Just like always.
And, oh yes, whatever Harsha Bhogle writes or says will be dissected with utmost suspicion.
I just hope this month goes away quickly, so I can feel safe in expressing my views; so the IPL lovers can write about a season that had ended; so the County fans can rant about how the early season has been poor (or great); so the test cricket fans can build up to the ex- South Africa vs ex- South Africa, so a Pune Warriors fan can talk about Michael Clarke’s IPL u-turn with an Australian test cricket fan, so Chris Gayle can be seen playing for West Indies and etc.