Over at Opinions On Cricket, Golandaaz offers his take on the IPL and Indian cricket:
The number of elite Indian cricketers has gone from four in my early days of watching cricket to at least 20 now. Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Vengsarkar and Vishwanath were the only superstars. Compare that to today’s situation where India can easily field at least two superb ODI teams. The number of opportunities for cricketers to show their wares has increased a thousand fold. Any domestic cricketer today who is a reasonable performer can expect recognition and visibility. Had poor KP Bhaskar played in this era, would he have been ignored?
It’s true that, by and large, the IPL has been good to domestic cricketers. But Golandaaz is diagnosing a wider trend in modern society: celebrity inflation. To put it another way: they don’t make stars like they used to. While it’s generally good for cricket players to have more avenues to success (IPL, T20, ODI, Tests, T20 Bash, Sri Lankan cricket league, etc.), I’m a firm believer that there are varying degrees of celebrity and stardom, and we’ve been defining them down lately. (A decade’s worth of reality television and hyper-Internet blogging shows the results in America, where celebrities like ‘Snooki’ and ‘Paris Hilton’ co-mingle with the rest of the lot.)
So, to my older readers, ask yourselves: would you rather take the Rainas, Kohlis, Yuvraj-es of this world? Or do you yearn for the Grace Kellys and Amitabh Bachchans (er, Sachin and Viv Richards) of yore? Is it truly a good thing for the line to blur between merely well-known and idolatry? Or does it produce a certain kind of anxiety — what Paul Simon meant when he sang of a lonely nation turning its eyes to Joe DiMaggio?