IPL: A Slow Poison




IPL - A Slow Poison

IPL – A Slow Poison

Cricket started in England with a five day match which is now called a Test match, while one day matches never existed. During the early ages of the game, people knew of only the five day version of this sport. As more and more people played they got tired of playing five days in which most of the times the game would end without any result. This resulted in the first ever limited over game to be introduced in England in 1963. Since then the sport has gained popularity all over the globe.

Cricket in India was brought by the British which today is more or less treated like a Religion rather than just a sport. People go to any lengths to make sure that they are updated and follow closely, every match that India plays. As more and more cricket was played over the years, people got tired of following every match for such long duration of the day, and history seemed to repeat itself with an even shorter form of cricket called ‘twenty-twenty (T20)’ being introduced at the international level, a few years back.

The problem is not so much with the new format of the game, but rather with the Indian Premiere League which is based on this T20 format. Television viewership and market research may show that it is one of the most eagerly followed form of cricket and that it is acting as a great revenue generator and in terms of gaining popularity for game but I ask the question “is it not acting like a slow poison for cricket?”.

Twenty-twenty is all about who can score more runs, faster. It is exciting, I agree, but I feel this form of cricket has diminished the skills and the basic techniques of today’s upcoming young cricketers. How many of the young players do you see with a defense as solid as Dravid’s?  Mind you, he is a legend and any young player is not expected to rise to such stature, but the point was that the technical skills they possess are weakened due to the pressure of constant run scoring nature of the IPL. The batsmen are playing improvised and unorthodox shots and taking huge swings, slogging away every ball, which is not the mark of a great player. This type of cricket should not be encouraged, especially for the young cricketers.

Our bowling attack has not been the best in the last few years. We have been experimenting and shuffling our bowlers from time to time. This is neither good for the team nor for the moral of the player. The form of a bowler is at times judged on the IPL performance which should not be done at all. Cricket was always called a batsman’s game and the aggressive nature of T20 only adds to the bowler’s nightmare. The bowlers never can bowl a proper line or length, constantly trying something new with their bowling. Usually, in the thick of things it’s the bowlers who suffer as the batsman take huge swings at every delivery bowled at them.

IPL, I feel, is a means of business which uses cricket. This  is degrading the quality of the young players in India. Today’s youth who perform well in the IPL may score a lot of runs in a match but they lack the elegance and poise, which gives the nick-name of ‘the gentlemen’s game’ to cricket. When we see a straight drive from Sachin or Dravid leaning into a perfectly timed cover drive, a leg glance by Laxman or a precise cut-shot from Ganguly, more often than not, the heart tends to fill with awe and one is forced to be mesmerized by the amount of grace and beauty in the shot.

A true cricket enthusiast will understand the real essence of cricket. It is not about hitting the most number of sixes or getting the most number of wickets in the match, it about the beauty of the sport and the skill involved. I still feel that test match defines cricket where a player has to exhibit true skills to survive the five day encounter. The class and the level of technique required to reach the great heights of cricket will never come with IPL. This is not a good sign for the future of Indian cricket.

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Anjan K Merkap

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