For $2.4 million, to Kolkata Knight Riders, he is (gap) sold (followed by a bang on the table).Thank you!
This was the first time that the IPL auctions were being telecast live (the IPLwallas have no dirth of ways to make some easy moolah) and even though I am not a IPL diehard fan, I coudn’t resist the temptation to waste some hours watching the tamasha.Of course, my curiosity arose not from the game of cricket, but all the headline grabbing controversy surrounding IPL in the last season. And yes, I also wanted to see what a live auction is really like.
As the auction progressed, KKR bought Gambhir for a whopping 11.04Cr, Yusuf Pathan and Uthappa attracted some aggressive bidding, the dashing Dhoni lookalike Saurabh Tiwari created a mini ruckus between RCB and Punjab, our very own dada found no takers and The Wall almost went unsold, not to mention that highly reputed pardesi players went either unnoticed or got sold for comparatively paltry amounts.This was an auction that defied well-established norms and logic regarding player selection, but most reputed cricket jounalists and commentators actually managed to find a method in all the madness, saying that IPL4 was a vote for youth over experience.
The fact that IPL bidding prices are disproportionate to player ability and reputation is something that is well known and extensively debated since the first season.The twenty-twenty format of the game does not require strategists, experience, survival capability and a flair for good shots as much as agility on the field and the rudimentary ability to hit the ball hard.With it’s loud marketing and hired bollywood glamour, the IPL brand and business model , that relies heavily on fanbase strength for it’s profits, has already started spelling the death knell for the Test and ODI formats.
Entertainment over cricket, glamour over fundamentals, youth over experience;one cannot but help asking whether or not this is sustainable in the long run?Won’t the constant brouhaha surrounding IPL ultimately lead to fan fatigue? And what kind of culture are we endorsing by paying astronomical amounts to youngsters while brushing aside experienced elders?Are we nurturing genuine cricket talent or are we too preoccupied in conferring celebrity status on match-winners?The million dollar question remains, is the game of cricket going to be the only casualty in the long run?How much would have been lost by the time the glitter and shine comes off?