This is my major problem with the IPL: why should I support one franchise over another? When the Kochi Tuskers were on their way to defeat the other night, the cameras showed a few disappointed fans, their faces clearly registering some sort of heartbreak. But why? What could they possibly feel for a franchise that was created less than a year before, and that too by a murky set of backers that has never ever fully revealed itself?
Yes, one could say there’s a geographic basis for support. (So, Mumbaikars will support Mumbai Indians, and so on.) OK, but then, does that mean a team can contain any number of non-Mumbaikars and still qualify for loyalty? (That is, will you really cheer on Andrew Symonds, just because he’s Sachin’s teammate?)
Add to this the three-year shuffle, wherein teammates play an expensive episode of musical chairs, and I’m left with no narrative whatsoever. Are the Rajasthan Royals still the canny underdogs? What is Bangalore without Anil Kumble at the helm? And what am I supposed to be make of the Deccan Chargers, now they’ve been reduced to, essentially, Kumar Sangakarra, Dale Steyn and J.P. Duminy?
So why am I still watching this thing if I don’t have a stake in the outcome?