Our favourite honey with the money- IPL’s back!

By Vineet Sharma | Updated: Feb 15, 2010, 19:57 PM IST

Love it, hate it, watch it or simply ignore it…The IPL is here to stay and still comes at a fresh time, gives us a full-course meal of T20 cricket needed for the entire year, makes every other T20 match later in the calendar less interesting due to its magnanimous nature. And make no mistakes, IPL-III will be bigger and better, after all the pitch is to welcome the ‘homecoming’ of our ‘domestic’ tournament that has triggered an avalanche of early retirements.<br/><br/>Hey, I’m not being cynical here, all I’m trying to say is that we should see the cold facts of India’s recession-proof sports-business without crying ‘shame’, as if it was the nation’s pride at stake every time the IPL hits headlines. It is a great pastime and we get to see our favourite stars perform, slap, dance, dope, etc, etc their way to fame and money. <br/><br/>IPL is quite an entertainment though; the sixes, cheering maidens (ahem ahem, please don’t throw bottles or other ‘unidentified’ objects at the dancing queens this time please) and the whole stadium atmosphere make for a great evening of cricketing fun.<br/><br/>What hurt me was the hue and cry when the IPL 3 auction ended without a single Pakistani player being lapped-up. Even Australians (barring 2) and Zimbabweans met a similar fate!<br/><br/>I’ve seen some say that the Australians deserved the snub owing to their attacks on Indians Down Under and for their ‘cocky’ attitude of leaving the tournament mid-way for ‘national interests’ after getting vulgar amounts of money to wield the bat and the ball. But what crimes did the poor Zimbabwe cricketers do? Nothing. <br/><br/>Rajasthan Royals, with skipper Shane Warne, were the only franchise to bid for Australian players (Damien Martyn and Adam Voges) and got a good deal lapping up the dudes for their base price, not a cent more.<br/><br/>So here we have it, money is the single most important reason as far as the calling-in or snubbing-out of cricketers is concerned. Why take the risk of buying a Pakistani player when he might not be allowed to play here, why pay for the exorbitant security that they require? Why bother with the headache when you’re going to make money anyways (the break-even point of the Indian Premier League is expected to come a year before the predicted time-span)?<br/><br/>IPL’s going global with English counties Surrey and Hampshire forging alliances with our desi teams. Our dear Mr Lalit Modi has made it clear that the awesome business enterprise will continue to roll even if there is Third World War going on or if he has to hire Sicilian mercenaries to ensure the safety of cricketers (ok, I exaggerated a bit here).<br/><br/>We love controversies and there have been many even before the beginning of the tournament. Ham actors and actresses will be all charged-up to support the teams that get them the most money and we, the spectators will pay more of it to get our dose of sports cum drama cum politics cum babes cum… the list can be as long as you want. After all, its IPL time folks! Fretting about the non-picked Pakistani, Australian or any other players won’t do, we still have the best of the best names registered and they will make it a memorable event.<br/><br/>Pure business acumen is what drives the game here and it is about time we took pride in being good managers of marketing a game if not actually playing for the love of it. My excuse for watching the IPL is simply that it is less harmful than TV and is a far better option than the pseudo-morality shows and fake-reality series that are aired these days. <br/><br/>Keeping the principle in mind, wonder if I can make some money out of Mr Modi’s project…Anyways, see you in the stadium guys (I’ll be easy to spot, shouting like a mad-man during Delhi Daredevils home matches). Ideas to help me make the dough from the benevolent league will be super appreciated.