The Indian Premier League always generates comments from both sides of the fence. There are people who love it and can’t wait for it to come around, and there are some, mostly the connoisseurs of the game who think T20 cricket is rubbish and hate it with passion. Among those who hate it are invariably people who feel that the huge money that the IPL brings to the players is a distraction and affects their performances. They feel that the players won’t care much for playing for their countries if they get a good contract in the IPL.
Gavaskar Logo There is no doubt that the IPL has made many a player secure for life, and in some cases maybe for the next couple of his generations too. However, the player is smart enough to know that if he doesn’t perform up to expectations then his market would fall and he may get much less the next time around, and worse still could miss out on the League altogether.
The main argument between those who hate the IPL and those who like it is invariably about money. So those who are for the IPL are supposed to like it because of the money they are getting directly or through some business connected with the IPL and not for the excitement and the quality of cricket that they get to see. What the accusers do not realise or are feigning ignorance about is that the same argument about money can be turned against them — that because they are not benefiting financially from the IPL they hate it.
How money was sought to be the reason for the spat between Kevin Pietersen and David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd on social media recently is a typical example of the divided opinions that the IPL generates. Pietersen is a straightforward bloke who calls a spade a shovel; he is someone who won’t mince words. That is the reason he, like the IPL, is either liked or disliked, but not ignored.
The spat began when Pietersen observed on social media that those who accused him of preferring the IPL cash over playing for England and who had nothing nice to say about the League were now in India working for the IPL. Clearly, his shot was aimed at the English commentators who are working in India for the IPL. David Lloyd, who had been dismissive about the IPL in the past, using unkind names for some of the franchises, had come down as a commentator a couple of years earlier. He is here this year too. No wonder Pietersen was peeved and wanted to know why he had come down if he felt that the IPL was not a tournament worth watching.
Lloyd is a professional who will work if he gets a good offer and has the time to spare. He doesn’t have to like the tournament to work in it, even if he has been impolite about it. He may or may not change his mind about the tournament, but should he have been hired in the first place at all, especially since he had been so negative about it earlier? Aren’t there other commentators who would have gladly come down? Or is Lloyd’s commentary so good that he has to be fitted in somehow or the other? More importantly, now that Lloyd has been at the IPL for two editions has he changed his mind about it? That needs an answer.
What needs no answer, though, is whether we have a complex about getting recognition from foreigners or not. That answer is the most affirmative despite it being 70 years since India’s independence. The pride in our performance and our sportspersons is secondary to getting recognition from overseas. So a franchise can hire someone who has questioned the integrity of a person no less than the Indian skipper when we should have been telling him that unless he apologises for that, he won’t be considered for any assignment in India.
There are some who come to earn money in India and yet when they are sitting in the aircraft on way home after their assignment will raise a glass and abuse India. There are those who call India the rudest country in the world, and yet are happy to come and earn millions from the IPL.
Pietersen raised the question to David Lloyd that could have been due to some old skirmish between them, but shouldn’t Indians have done it? But then, how many of us have real pride in ourselves as Indians?