Welcome the new era of Cricket in India, dear Indian Cricket fan! While you embark on this journey, let us inform you that things are not going to be same anymore. Do not save your pop corn for an Ishant-Ponting encounter any more, for they are going to pat each other on their backs as part of being members of the same team. Boundaries are redefined now. Dada will call the shots of when to hand the ball to Akhtar so as to tame down Sachin!
Come April 18th and the curtains shall rise to the most extravagant cricket bonanza we cricket buffs have been waiting with bated breaths for! Bangalore shall host the first IPL match between Bangalore Royal Challengers and Kolkata Knight Riders (the Royal Challengers website surprisingly doesn’t mention this in their schedule though)
What does IPL mean for young India? Its cricketing buzz redefined. Many cricket-bored fans have been complaining that Cricket is losing its sheen to Football in the country, especially in the urban areas like Bangalore. Probably, IPL will get back all those club-crazy youth to cricket. It is BCCI’s magnum opus for you to watch over a beer with friends. It is their way of showing the world how worthy is Indian Cricket, for IPL has made a ‘crore’ look very tiny now!
With websites filled with fan clubs, team anthems, discussion boards and team portfolios for individual teams, IPL is all about segregating the Cricket Crazy Nation that we are into Clubs and creating entertainment in them. So, does the buck stop at cricket? Oh come on… You must be kidding to say an Yes! With the likes of Vijay Mallya, Shah Rukh Khan, Priety Zinta, Deccan Chronicle helming various clubs, do you expect it to be a pure cricketing contest? So, where does it stop? What all does this flavor of cricket try to encapsulate? Thats a question time shall answer, friends, for given the item numbers and fashion shows at ICL that have been in the news last couple of weeks, you never know what the maestros of entertainment at IPL shall unveil to us soon. IPL has brought Cricket to Music Channels, Daler Mehndi to Cricket, and created several ways to flaunt your loyalties - team anthems, logos, ring tones, jerseys and the show is yet to begin! While Kolkata Knight Riders seem to have been creating the buzz since the word Go, others like Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers are catching up pretty fast!
What does this mean for local club-hosts? IPL is the hub for popularisation of local content. It is an opportunity for promoting tourism in the country. Imagine local tourist agencies coming up with a Heritage Tour of Delhi for Kolkatans who come visiting to cheer their Knight Riders! Imagine all those local, not-so-famous bands of Hyderabad performing for their Chargers during one of those IPL matches. The canvas is ready, and we are waiting eagerly to see how the drawing comes about!
All in all, come what may, there is unlimited entertainment on the cards - both on-field and off-field - for all of us in the coming months. Lets see how the cookie crumbles!