Doshi tries to use Gladwell’s analysis of “social epidemics,” which he put out in his bestseller, The Tipping Point, to look at the IPL tournament. To that end, she places key players — Lalit Modi, Shane Warne, etc. — in the three categories Gladwell identified as crucial to spread or radically change behavior.
Now, putting aside whether or not Gladwell’s thesis actually makes sense, Doshi doesn’t quite use it properly here. She’s trying to figure out what makes the IPL successful, but that’s not what Gladwell’s completely interested in. He cares about social behavior, as Doshi herself writes, not just a tournament’s particular marketing or brand strategy. Doshi’s analysis would make more sense if more people started to care about Twenty20, or cricket in general, as a result of IPL, but I see little evidence of the game’s heightened popularity outside non-cricket nations.
Why does it matter? So what if Doshi misapplied Gladwell? Well, it matters because the IPL’s supposed success (I haven’t seen any balance books myself) isn’t all that much of a mystery. Lalit Modi simply used the BCCI’s financial and political clout to create a tournament whose format wasn’t even his own. This isn’t to say the tournament’s staging does not require a huge amount of logistical work, but that’s not all that creative or worthy, is it?