Thursday, May 01, 2008

Flipper On A Flat Track: IPL team loyalties

Talking of team loyalties in IPL, this Outlook article quotes me as follows:
Badri Seshadri, founder of, is convinced that more money won't equal more loyalty. "Loyalties are always built on firm values, and I'm not sure on what basis loyalties will be built in T20 cricket," he told Outlook. "It's funny to see Shahrukh Khan get so excited about Calcutta...he doesn't even belong to the place!"
I do not believe, team loyalties can be built in the way the IPL franchises are built up. When countries play cricket, loyalties are mostly driven by nationalism. If you are an Indian Muslim and you happen to like the Pakistani team, you are branded a traitor. I know of several people who I grew up with, who loved the West Indies team. They won almost every match they played then. They also played their matches with a swagger crystallised by Viv Richards.

Today, a lot of young boys I talk to are fans of the Australians. At this age, they do not understand what nationalism is. But they understand what winning is. They do want India to win, but they see the Australians winning.

In the case of IPL too, the winning teams will pick up some loyal followers. I can't see many Bangaloreans making any noise about their team. Chennaiites are... now. Next year, no one knows what will happen.

For most average Indian cricket fans, IPL games are quite interesting. You get to see a 4 or a 6 almost every over. Wickets fall at regular intervals too. In around 3 hours, someone wins. Someone loses. So far, there have been no rain interruptions.

But, for the serious fans, we can't see any strategy, game plan or anything that makes these games interesting. Several days, I just go to sleep without waiting for the matches to get over. The next day newspapers will anyway show the result.

Someone asked me whether I will be going to these matches. I normally watch every Test match played at Chepauk. I try to make it to the ODIs. At this stage, I am unlikely to go to the IPL games even if I get free tickets.

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