My Two Cents made a rousing pitch for keeping the IPL on schedule this year, even as the tournament faces doubts from foreign cricketers and the Indian government as well, jittery about election season.
I’m not so sure I agree. My Two Cents lists a few good points — he’s right that it would de-hypenate India from Pakistan, at least partly, though I think that’s happened already to some extent — but he lists some other dubious ones, like:
Because it is the clearest statement yet that in India, cricket matters.
Because if teams use the IPL precedent to stop touring India, cricket in India can go one of two ways – we reinforce our grass roots, pay more attention to domestic cricket and do what South Africa did in the apartheid years. Or let cricket wither and die.
Because the IPL is the most potent symbol of what can be achieved if a few Indians decide to put their minds to it. An event that came out of nothing, an idea brought to fruition in the space of 6 months, a celebration of the game and a celebration of the sheer logistics involved.
First, India does not need to make any more additional statements about its love for cricket. It’s been noted, I assure you. Besides, a private, Twenty20 series wouldn’t make the clearest statement about cricket; I’d like to see more attendance at Test matches for that.
Secondly, if international teams do stop touring India, I really doubt people will pay more attention to domestic cricket. This relates to my first point: I’m not certain that Indians care about cricket as a game; they care only when India plays the game. That’s different. Does anyone care about the Ranji trophy?
And thirdly, India should have to prove absolutely nothing about “what can be achieved if a few Indians decide to put their minds to it.” For one thing, that’s just post-colonial guilt talking. (What, exactly, is India proving here? That its citizens are capable? Why should we have to prove that? Who doesn’t think otherwise?) For another thing, the fact that the biggest election season in the world is about to unfold is a much more respectable accomplishment and one I’d prefer to boast about.
This isn’t to say that I think the IPL should be postponed for safety reasons. I think players should show up for tournament, especially given the huge sums they will be paid. But no, I think the IPL should be postponed because I don’t like the IPL — I don’t like the fake franchises; I don’t care that much for the format (I think the tournament drags on too long), and I don’t like the power and money it gives to the BCCI, which has gotten too big for its boots lately.