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Shravan Bhat
I write about start-ups, sports, food and international affairs.

The Five Absolute Worst Things about the IPL

I love the IPL. It’s changed cricket. It’s added a new set of skills to the game and given fans a totally unique match-day experience. The influx of foreign players (and coaches – a set of people whose contribution goes largely unnoticed) has raised standards across the board. Fielding and athleticism in particular have improved massively. But I have some pet peeves – things that need to be dropped faster than Yusuf Pathan.

Cheergirls

The Cheerleaders
I understand where the armies of marketers and brand people that drive the IPL are coming from. Sex sells and girls dressed like Britney Spears circa 1997 will get men to rear our heads. It happens in American sports – so why not here, right? I urge you, however, to watch the NBA Play-Offs going on right now. Tell me how many seconds of air-time cheerleaders get. Cheerleaders are there for fans in the stadium to ogle but they also start chants and get fans singing. They provide half-time ‘entertainment’.

Cut to the Wankhede, where after every four, “Yes Bank Maximum” or wicket the camera cuts to five excruciating seconds of white girls in hot-pants or brown girls in 9-yard saarees trying desperately to dance without sweat melting their through make-up. There is that cringe-inducing moment when the camera pans over them too long (like with fans in the crowd) and they run out of ways to pout. As if things weren’t bad enough, they’re now in the studio. I don’t know who is more embarrassed, me or them.

Commentators Talking to Players
I wonder if the player chosen to talk to the commentators as he’s fielding has picked the shortest stick in the changing room before the innings. They are professional athletes, not Reuters correspondents – let them focus on the game! I cannot remember the last time I heard anything meaningful from a player’s mouth when actively playing. When they mike-up the younger Indian guys whose first language isn’t English, it gets worse.

“How has it been playing with senior guys like ________?”

“Yeah obviously it’s been great and I’ve learned a lot.”

“What’s it like playing in such an electric atmosphere?”

“Sorry, I can’t hear you?”

“What’s it like playing in such an electric atmosphere?”

“Yeah obviously it’s amazing, it’s a dream come true.”

“You must be looking forward to the next game…”

“Yeah obviously we are looking to win every game and take the positives.”

There are clichéd sports interviews and then there are clichéd sports interviews.

The Kingfisher Jingle
Oh-la-la-la-le-NO. Just, no. It has never been catchy. The faces in the ads have gotten older but the awful jingle seems to stand the test of time, leeching life-force from the tired ambassadors who have tried their best to sing it. Please just stop.

“Divided by teams, united by the king of covert alcohol marketing”

Politics Curbing Sport
The fact that Pakistani players are absent from the IPL and Sri Lankan players aren’t allowed to play in Chennai is nothing short of a disgrace. Growing up, Waqar Younis was my favourite player. Pakistan has produced so many fantastic, exciting, match-winning cricketers; members of their 2009 World T20 winning squad would have no doubt enriched the IPL. We have a tournament without Saeed Ajmal (the best spinner in the world), Shahid Afridi (perhaps the best leg spinner in the world) and Pakistan’s formidable stable of fast bowlers. It is utterly infuriating that because of the views of some, the vast majority of cricket fans are served a tournament that’s not as good as it should be. What next, no Aussies allowed in Delhi? No Muslim players in Bangalore? Don’t laugh, it may happen.

Sports have an amazing way of bringing people together. Hearing the sound of the crowd at Eden Gardens exploding when Shoaib Akhtar got Virender Sehwag out stills gives me Goosebumps.

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Useless Stats
“Wow, I can’t believe that’s the 7786th six of the tournament,” said no one, ever.

Statistics make cricket what it is. Using numbers to back-up inklings and data to show true quality is satisfying and when well-package, can give viewers a far deeper understanding of why things unfold the way they do. I understand that the IPL and T20 cricket and new and therefore broadcasters haven’t yet been able to perfect what they show viewers.

But seriously: why include how many times a batsman has reached 30? Do they salute the crowd when they make 30s? Surely then they should say how many times they’ve made 60s? The total number of sixes hit in a tournament is the most irrelevant piece of information we’re treated to. Also, why are we shown players strike rates but not their averages? Does it not matter how long they’re in for as long as they score fast?

And let me predict the winners of Twitter battles for the next 10,000 years: CSK.

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I think you have missed a worse part..! Sony TV :-/
Mohammad Chowdhury
Ajay Jadeja faking enthusiasm while dancing to the IPL tune is truly embarrassing to watch - Kapil and Navjot tackle that bit alot more subtly.
Guess what!!! there is also one more irritating aspect of the broadcast. Sometimes the screen are truncated from the sides to post an advertisement, which make the viewing screen smaller.Really frustrating.
Agreed to all what shravan!!! Spot fixing...thats not a shocker at all, they are there and will be. IPL is all about glamour. Not only the cheer leaders, even the show anchors are no less. No wonder that many young players get swayed away. Lastly the Hindi commentory is the worst ludicrous and ridiculous commentory i have ever heard.
Now "SPOT FIXING" shud move to the top of everyone's list of "Whats Terrible About IPL"
You're absolutely right, Akshay! I wrote this article a day before the scandal broke out! Is there even any point in continuing with the tournament after this?
Fine post, Shravan! Agree with you on all of them. Add one more to this: Yusuf Pathan (whom you mentioned wittily upfront). But he needs to be done away with before one can think of leaving the cheerleaders out. Also, Sidhu needs to leave the studio!
Only one is worst - Commentators Talking to Players. All other points mentioned are required to keep game alive.
This is so pathetic, so lame an article...how could forbes even publish something so LAME ! Its so self centered .. Personal views.... And not even logical ! The writer badly fails to notice this is still a new format of cricket and experimenting is obvious...and I belive justified !
Why is it a lame article? Because the writer talks of doing away with the semi-clad cheerleaders? Or because he says that mindless stats and terms like Yes Bank Maximums make no sense? These things are redundant in any format of the game no matter how much experimentation you do. And a blogpost is supposed to have personal opinion, isn't it?
Check out at quora for more worst things about IPL http://www.quora.com/Indian-Premier-League-IPL/What-are-the-most-irritating-things-about-the-Indian-Premier-League-IPL
this is a really lame article.
 
 
Shravan Bhat
I've lived in Singapore, London, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Birmingham, Frankfurt (Oder) and now Mumbai. After studying Business & International Relations at Aston University and the European University Viadrina, I joined Forbes India Magazine. I love writing about young people and I'm particularly interested in sports entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and people who use data to make the world simpler.
 
 
 
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May 18, 2014 20:06 pm by Nijas
I think you have missed a worse part..! Sony TV :-/
May 23, 2013 22:48 pm by Mohammad Chowdhury
Ajay Jadeja faking enthusiasm while dancing to the IPL tune is truly embarrassing to watch - Kapil and Navjot tackle that bit alot more subtly.
Shravan Bhat
Shravan Bhat
May 18, 2013 15:07 pm by Shravan Bhat
You're absolutely right, Akshay! I wrote this article a day before the scandal broke out! Is there even any point in continuing with the tournament after this?
May 16, 2013 23:06 pm by Rajesh
Guess what!!! there is also one more irritating aspect of the broadcast. Sometimes the screen are truncated from the sides to post an advertisement, which make the viewing screen smaller.Really frustrating.
May 16, 2013 23:02 pm by Rajesh
Agreed to all what shravan!!! Spot fixing...thats not a shocker at all, they are there and will be. IPL is all about glamour. Not only the cheer leaders, even the show anchors are no less. No wonder that many young players get swayed away. Lastly the Hindi commentory is the worst ludicrous and ridic...