Monday, May 25, 2009


Well, this one is the Indian Premier League!! If you thought the political league threw a big surprise, this one was huge!! No one would have given Deccan even a slim chance at the beginning of this edition, but to see the underdog triumph is something we all enjoy.
Most of the matches were closely fought and pretty interesting this time around. But, empty stands and lack of the electrifying atmosphere like back home took some sheen off the entire event. Commercially, we still don't know if this was a successful event, but the commentators did all they could to help the sponsors. In this context, I don't really know what to make of Chris Gayle's comments, but it seems as though once you wear the hat of the West Indian team captain, indiscipline and lack of tact sets in automatically (we saw Brian Charles Lara, didn't we!).
In a few years from now, (if and) once T-20 repeatedly proves its money spinning power, it is not unreasonable to expect big players announcing early retirements to play just the lucrative form of the game. Gone are the days when we saw players retire from the shorter version of the game so that they could play test cricket for longer. An over dose of T-20 will most certainly be suffocate the flow of money, but in the right dose, clear signs are that it will be a big money spinner in the future.
Starting from Shilpa Shetty's googly to Sidharth Trivedy to Katrina Kaif performing at the closing ceremony, glamor was something that was not deficient this time around-even the cheer leaders seemed to have shed "more" thanks to the fact it wasn't happening on our shores. Kolkata had one 'hell' of a tournament this time! With the fake ipl player becoming a rage on the world wide web, he generated more interest than most of the games they played. In some ways, I was happy to see them lose after the shoddy treatment meted out to Dada, it did seem like natural justice at play. Buchanan will be out of favor with even the D level clubs in his home town after the showing here. The shocking multi-captaincy theory drew flak all sensible cricket lovers, but Sharukh Khan thought otherwise! Good that he didnt waste money returning to SA once again.
Some of the old guns like Gilly, Kumble, Hayden performed exceptionally well and I felt especially happy for Kumble (being a huge Jumbo fan myself)! Though I support the Chennai Superkings, Deccan is my second favourite team (no, not after this win) and it was good to see them take the cake.
Mumbai clearly under-performed inspite of boasting of the best opening pair in the IPL. They tinkered with their batting line up too much in a desperate attempt to produce results and unfortunately for them, it didn't work. After Sreesanth's newly christened name, Punjab is perhaps more famous for having 'Appam' in the team than their performance!! Rajasthan looked a mere shadow of last year's team, Yusuf Pathan being the only saving grace.
IPL-2 had its elements no doubt, but will the T-20 fever continue to have this frenzy it has generated in its formative years? Only time will tell, but I do hope test cricket weathers this storm because after all its the ultimate TEST!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Indian Political League

Its election time once again, the biggest festival in a democracy. Elections 2009 have been quite a long exercise, what with 5 phases spread over almost a month. The blistering heat of the Indian summer only worsened matters for both the politicians and the 'other' minority-the voter alike. A lot of high profile media campaigns aimed at coaxing the lethargic and apathetic (urban) Indian to come out and vote bit the dust, quite literally. From Varun Gandhi's (still "alleged") hate speech to the much publicized split in the EC, this election has had it elements.
All indicators seem to point to a badly fractured verdict on the 16th of May. But, nothing is certain till the last vote has been counted! With the hegemony of the regional parties growing (whether for good or otherwise), the seat share of the big two seems to have nose dived. If the opinion polls are to be believed, both the Congress and the BJP seem to be well short of 200 and their pre-poll alliances well short of the magic 272 mark. This search for an alternative to both the Congress and the BJP is perhaps a manifestation of a very restless electorate.
During a casual chat with one my friends today, he made the point that this election is probably not a bad one to lose!! He had his reasons and it did seem to make some sense indeed. A hung parliament is an fertile breeding ground for horse trading. Ideologies are thrown out of the window, foes turn friends at the blink of an eyelid and partners are ditched for short term gains. The sole motivating factor is the over powering drive to be in power at all costs. An alliance cobbled up solely on political opportunism will not be a stable formation in the long run. With each constituent trying to further its own personal ambitions, national interests often take a back seat. The dark years of the UF government in recent political history should bring shivers to every sensible Indian at the sheer thought of such a formation emerging in the post May 16th scenario. Like what happened to the fate of the UF government, such an alliance could well mean another election in 2-3 years.
If there is an election again within the next 2-3 years, the disenchantment with an unstable formation at the Centre, the people of India may well give a decisive mandate for some pre-poll political formation. Two years from now, the national parties may have new leaders at the helm. It would be interesting to see who they are and their "acceptability" quotients, but all pointers are towards Rahul for Congress and Modi for the BJP. We are indeed getting ahead of ourselves, and its best to take it as it comes. For now, May 16th holds the key and post Saturday, the bartering abilities of the political parties will decide who becomes the next Prime Minister of the biggest democracy in the world.