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What is the IPL?

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IPL_Indian_Premier_League_cricketFrom the beginning of time, nature provided for man. It remained steadfast and unchanging. Man changed. He grew. He became a smart ass. He made discoveries, then inventions and in the process created things he didn't really need. It began with the wheel. Without it, the need to travel farther than required wouldn't have risen. Without it, the plane wouldn't have been created. Without it, the necessity to speak to someone far off wouldn't have crept up. You get the picture. Curiosity created everything.

A man picked up a stick and hit a stone with it. He found it exhilarating. He needed someone to throw the stone at him and someone to bring it back. He needed someone to catch the stone if he missed it. The man throwing the stone also wanted to hit the stone. So he devised ways of getting the batter out. As man grew curioser and curioser, the game evolved. Test matches. ODIs. T20s.

Man is always searching for something new. A premier league was not demanded by anyone. Lalit Modi brought it and people consumed it. Corporates who couldn't afford to be associated with cricket in India are now in some form or the other, part of India's biggest cricketing tournament. Players who were known only within the confines of certain dressing rooms are now known to many. Employment opportunities have been created. Money is being pumped into cricket. The IPL did that. So what exactly is the IPL?

Is it the manifestation of one man's musing? Is it unnecessary supply created for an audience just waiting to consume cricket? Is it a safe haven for black money? Is it the harbinger of death for Test cricket or international cricket? Is it employment and livelihood for sports personnel? Is it good or is it bad? Is it really cricket?

The ideology of the IPL has been questioned so many times. The IPL itself has constantly branded itself as 'entertainment.' It is also telecast on a GEC (General Entertainment Channel). People branded it a carnival and they came out with an ad depicting the event as a carnival. So far, it has been a successful tournament. A reason for that is perhaps because, like a true artist it has stayed true to itself. The tournament hasn't worried about what cricketing purists and experts have had to say. The fall of any artist is when he begins to waiver from his own belief and starts trying to please every critic. IPL hasn't fallen prey to that.

Personally, it is fun. It is hard to get away from if you're in India. You might have to go on a complete media blackout if you want to escape it totally, but it isn't forced down anyone's throat. Okay! You can escape it as much as you can escape death.

As far as the players are concerned, injuries might become a concern. Pimping themselves out for a bit of money raises questions of integrity. However, in all honesty, if offered that much money, playing cricket with a slight niggle is the easiest among the things I'd be willing to do. For the two months cricketers are like reality TV stars. It's a show. It's Vidya Balan from 'Dirty Picture'..entertainment.

As the tournament begins, glamour, dance and a 'Pitbull' adorn the stage. Entertainment. Lights, fireworks and the performing arts enthrall. Entertainment. Questions will always be asked of the IPL, as they are of any artist. But it never promised pure cricket. It ends the way it begins; it puts on a show. For two months, 4pm – 11.30pm IST, will have eyeballs glued to the telly.

Answering the question, IPL is anything you want it to be.



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