In Hyderabad, there is a legendary restaurant called Paradise and they serve what is arguably one of the best Biriyanis in this galactic sector. Now what does that have to do with the Indian Premier League T20 tournament? Actually, nothing. Also, in San Antonio, Texas, there is a Chinese restaurant named Golden Wok where you can choose vegetables of your choice from a bar and the chef will, in one quick burst of flame, burn your pickings into a homogeneous, gelatinous goo and with a beaming grin say “Have a nie day“, and serve it to you with a bowl of rice that does not quite smell of Madurai Malli. What does this have to do with T20 cricket? Actually, nothing either. But you see, the delicate taste of a Biriyani comes from slow cooking and a careful selection of spices, unlike Wok-fried Vegetable Goo from San Antonio, which tastes exactly like Wok-Fried Vegetable Goo from Denver, because as the saying goes, “Contempt (for patient cooking) breeds Familiarity (of taste)”. It is very hard to achieve subtlety of taste in Americanized Chinese fast food. And what does that have to do with T20?
You see, I find it hard to write authoritative, hard-hitting, thought-provoking essays on the fine game of Cricket (like this) because of the minor matter of qualifications. The only reason I made it to cricket teams in the past was to make up numbers (Dei, we are 10 and we need a fieldsman at deep fine leg), and I am a slow-medium pace batsman and a right-handed bowler who could, for most part, manage to deliver the red cherry 22 yards without it needing to bounce twice.
So instead, I will write about the BUSINESS of cricket. Many years ago, it used to be the business of CRICKET, and Kerry Packer made it the BUSINESS of CRICKET, but with the IPL, cricket has simply lost its uppercase. Not that I don’t enjoy T20. I do like Wok-fried vegetable goo once in a while.
Back to the subject at hand, there are 3 stages in sports-capitalism
1. Exponentia, where a sudden surge in popularity of a particular sport makes hay for a lot of people
2. After a while, the big boys take over and pull no stops to squeeze money out of everywhere, such as from unearthly ticket prices, pay-per-view TV channels, advertising and merchandizing. Robber Baronia.
3. Once, all the cash cows have been milked, there is no choice but to sedate the cow and milk harder. We then have IPL T20. Adbominalia
The Laws of Adbominalia
- Ads start once the 6th ball of an over (even if it is a no-ball) has been delivered.
- Ads finish only when the bowler has started his run up for the first ball of the subsequent over
- Upwards of 50% of the screen is frequently taken over by animated ads. With sound. Louder than the commentators’ voices
- There are animated, hyponosis-inducing ads on the boundary signboards.
- Cricketers will soon resemble Formula One drivers in terms of being high-density real-estate for brand names
But then hey, what gives me solace is the fact that I can still take refuge in the ad-less world of cricket commentary. I can still relax in the familiar cliches of Ravi Shastri, the soul-deadening boredom of Arun Lal or the sweet Carribean twang of Ian Bishop. Right? Right?
Robin Jackman cannot say “Success” any more. It has to be “Citi Moment of success“
Ranjit Fernando cannot say “Six” any more. It is “DLF Super Six“.
Holy Arranged Matrimony! it’s now brand names embedded into commentary. So what else is possible now?
He gave it the Parryware Kitchen sink
He is an Aachi Masala seasoned campaigner
India are AUE Motoring along now.
He has smashed that past LIC Extra Cover
Gilette Razor edged, and taken
That was a Sri Krishna sweetly timed shot.
But it does open up interesting possibilities. For one, I would like our commentators to start getting cheeky and say things like
Ganguly’s batting has been Citi sub-prime. Wink wink.
Rahul’s technique is completely bug free. Must be all the Pepsi. Wink wink.
Update: If you also are suppressing an irresistable desire to strangle a certain pug with a sock, please sign this now.