An advertisement for Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings, via Sideline Slogger:
There’s little doubt Twenty20 has radically affected the game of cricket at large, but the silly imagery and team names are more important an influence than you may think.
The IPL teams trade on militaristic and overly aggressive themes (“Super Kings”; “Deccan Chargers”; and so on). I understand the idea, but I’m not sure it fits completely into a game whose traditional format has players in whites and emphasizes fair play and patience. Besides, isn’t that what makes cricket so different from other sports? Why replace its blended chic of aggression and kindness with over-the-top violent imagery no one really believes? (I mean, seriously — is that Dhoni behind a shield?)
I also don’t think it’s a coincidence these names have popped up in an increasingly nationalistic India, where an openly chauvinistic right-wing has grabbed more seats in the last two decades. Oh, I know: this is just a game, and it’s just a stupid poster and sports team. But advertisers know what they’re doing. And for whatever reason, they’ve decided this kind of stuff just sells better to the target audience.