Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Sunday, March 23, 2008


The other day I was watching the IPL teams’ bidding process. I was shocked at the amount of money people are willing to spend on the game for the sake of money. The likes of Mukesh Ambani, SRK, Vijay Mallya, Preity Zinta & Ness Wadia and even business houses like DLF and INX Media; these are the guys who can afford this sorta stuff. But, is it for entertainment’s sake or is it for the ulterior motive of making money.

One point highlighted by the media post the bidding was how our team members in Australia were chatting only about the kind of money being raised. I somehow think that, not only is it a way of countering Subhash Chandra’s ICL, but, it’s also a vulgar display of money. Cricket for the love of sport should be encouraged, but, doing it in this kind of manner is stupid. Auctioning cricketers and ensuring that they get that amount every year, puts pressure on them, not just to perform well, but also, to sign more endorsements and entertain more. S Sreesanth is one case in point. He’s an entertainer more than a cricketer, undue aggression, is an expensive wicket-taker and can dance well than he can bowl at times, which is, all-in-all not a good combination.

Some people are right in pointing out that it’s the BCCI’s way of showing its clout. Agreed, that you are the world’s most influential cricket board, not to mention, also super wealthy. But, auctioning cricketers is taking things a bit too far. When India lost the World Cup last year, crashing out of the semis, cricketers were told to limit their endorsements. Why has the rule been lifted now? Why can’t the BCCI rap them on the knuckles now? People primarily want to play for the love of the sport, then the love of the nation, and then the love of money. But, activities like this ‘Cricketers ki Bikri’ Scheme are definitely going to be misleading and blinding. Everyone knows what the colour of money is and how it works! SRK has been keen to announce that it’s for the love of sport et al (by the way, ‘Love of Sport’ is going to be the next big thing in terms of phrases after ‘The Indomitable Spirit of Mumbai’); but anyone who’s got brains can see it’s a huge cash spinner for them all. Why are people like Mallya, Ness Wadia & Mukesh Ambani bidding otherwise?

Why I say it’s a vulgar display of money, is because it’s stupid to be bidding several hundred crores for teams, declaring it to the rest of the world, having promotional campaigns featuring these stars and thus boost potential stadium ticket sales. Like I said, huge cash spinner, this. What’s more is that the IPL franchisees are now setting their sights on the U-19 players. At this age, given that they’ve just entered the global arena, fresh Ranji players, can be swayed easily. Is there a point in doing this? Yes, possibly our players and the BCCI will regain their sanity once they realise that money is not the biggest thing… I don’t think that after this we have a very good reputation with the ICC and also the rest of the world. Some Australian cricketer whose name I can’t recall is of the opinion that the ICC should reschedule international cricket matches for the benefit of those playing in the IPL. That leaves a bad taste in the mouth for the outsiders including the ICC.

Who remembers Lakshmi Mittal ki beti ki shaadi? It was all froth in the opinion of many. Had it happened in India, it would be a rocking affair, like Mr. Mallya’s new year’s bashes are, but, the country was France, most unfortunately. And the French, like simple weddings like they like their wine and cheese. So obviously, it was overrated and over-the-top for them. A wedding is supposed to be a private affair, but in India it’s everything but that. It reminds me of a joke a comedian once came up with: What does 150 crores mean to Delhi? 30‘normal’ weddings!

My point is that a huge display of wealth and clout will achieve nothing but a somewhat tarnished (for lack of a better word) image. Let’s leave sport where it is, we have better means of displaying our clout, more wonderful things, like social causes. If the BCCI donated even 1% of it’s earnings to worthy causes (which it may or may not be doing currently) it will still be a significant contribution, and possibly even earn it fame for more productive purposes than stopping Kapil Dev’s pension and other causes.

Let's hope for the best.

Posted by Sanika:

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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