Just thought that I would climb on the IPL bandwagon as well. You know, it is the same crazy logic I had when I started smoking - everyone is doing it! By the way, if Ramadoss freaked out about smoking in movies (particularly SRK in Devdas), I wonder what he would say about Abhay Deol's extreme substance abuse in Dev. D? Smoke for thought...
Here is the funny thing, I never thought that the news channels would give the IPL so much support. When Chidambaram started his disasterous attempt to dovetail the Gujarat riots into the IPL yesterday he got a lot of flak from journalists.
And the flak seems to have been counter-productive, Arun Jaitley who was for several days behaving like a petulant schoolboy stirred. You can say a lot of things about Jaitley, but not about cricket. Despite the chaos that rules the DDCA – Delhi today has three permanent members of the Test team and when Virat Kohli makes it there, which hopefully should be sooner rather than later given the kid’s stunning form this domestic season – Delhi players will dominate the Indian team.
Not a Bombay-esque domination that happened in the 60’s and 70’s and that started the quota system, but domination nonetheless. And Jaitley has had a role to play, maybe not training wise but definitely a political role in getting these Delhi boys into the team (and Sehwag and Gambhir have spoken about this in the past, Sehwag even got married at Jaitley's house - love him or hate him, without Jaitley India might not have the best opening partnership in the world right now), and as events of the past few weeks have brought out in the spotlight, cricket is political. Very political and it has been like that since Jagmohan Dalmiya came into the picture. As are other Indian sports, but that is another story. But to be fair, the increased politicisation of cricket has happily coinciced with the team doing a hell of a lot better but still.
Back to my convoluted logic on how the television channels dug their own grave supporting the IPL and making Chiddu look like a vindictive man, which he is, but that is a moot point. See, this is going to be a bad year for companies. We can all delude ourselves and pretend that things are going to improve soon or we could also delude ourselves into thinking that the bottom has fallen out. The only people journalists have actually succeeded in convincing that things are horrible are the guys who employ them and they have promptly cut salaries. In certain cases the owners were broke and in certain cases, not so broke (maybe even profitable) but the salary cuts might be hiding a deeper malaise which happened thanks to the shares for adverts business and the requirement to maintain a debt to equity ratio.
Now, as we all know the media in India is free. ‘Real’ prices of newspapers haven’t risen in years, almost all the money you pay to your newspaper-wallah goes to him. Now the same applies to telly channels. You don’t pay UndieTV for the privilege of watching them, heck people refuse to pay UndieTV for the privilege of watching their trying to be Good Times channel, which nowadays feels like watching a person in complete denial. Anyway, companies aren’t doing well. Usually because their managers screwed up and money laundering operations went awry because the bottom fell out of the Dubai Real Estate market as well. So that means smaller advertising budgets.
The no IPL brigade championed by Chiddu would have meant guys with ad budgets sanctioned would have been left with nowhere to advertise. Other than the news channels. Which would have meant that instead of a sponsored sixer or wicket, things like ‘This tantrum of Arnab is brought to you by XXXX or ‘This display of fake emotion by Barkha is sponsored by YYYY’. I mean we could have had something like that. Of course, both the people mentioned above don’t have a sense of humour, which is why they’ve been mentioned, but you get my point.
Now despite the IPL happening in South Africa, which will mean I will try my frikkin’ darndest to go snag an air ticket to watch some matches at least, the TV times remain the same. So we will not have to watch hysterical screaming, random editorialising or worst of all a litany of wrong facts every evening. Nope, I can watch Sehwag and Gambhir whack the ball every few days. Pity, I really did hope to watch a few games at Kotla.
But then again, as much as we love politics, we just love cricket more.