By Dennis Freedman – Can’t Bowl, Can’t Throw
Silly season has arrived.
No, I don’t mean Xmas, the US Federal Election or even Eurovision.
Speaking of Eurovision, I’m still to work out how one has a song contest for Europeans, yet somehow includes Asian Israel and Australia, which, as a matter of fact, is actually a competing continent.
Anyhow, the silliest of all seasons is irrefutably the Indian Premier League.
This modern wonder of the internet age grabs the collective minds of about 1.2 billion locals and perhaps 3 non Indian freelance cricket writers every year and turns them into bloodthirsty, lusty souls on the warpath for the next snippet of titillation that this joust provides.
Those from the cricketing right, cricketservatives, still struggle with the concept that anything non Test cricket is worthy of anything other than a Pepsi sponsorship.
‘Who even drinks that stuff?’ they ask.
In their minds, it is clearly only the rabble who follow what they label as third rate tournaments in India, such as the Ranji Trophy and that Premier League thingy.
But surely, the only Premier League of note resides in the Queen’s England and involves a slightly larger ball, some goals with netting and a healthy sprinkle of rolling around on the ground, feigning injury in an effort to prove toughness and resilience?
This kind of close minded collective thinking by smoking jacket wearing Tory voters from Chelsea have failed to acknowledge the IPL for what it really is.
It’s the male version of Days of our Lives. It’s cricketing WWE. It’s Game of Thrones but with dancing girls in a country where you can get arrested for kissing in public. It’s 50 Shades of Grey, keeping the leather but adding willow for added kinkiness.
In this context, I challenge all non believers to rationalise their indifference to one of the last great bastions of blokedom. If the Indians invented the Karma Sutra for your sensory pleasure, then is it not possible that 2,000 years later, the IPL has improved on those earlier concepts of deep interpersonal embrace?
Where else can one see scantily clad women prancing to Taylor Swift songs in front of Chris Gayle? When else can the local Supreme Court refer to the league’s previous warlord as ‘nauseating’? Where else can Shane Watson captain Steve Smith? Where else can the Vice President of a cement company win a fair play award? Where else can Kevin Pietersen choose to turn his back on a representative side by choice? In fact, there is a team that promotes itself by whistling, and Kevin has turned his back on them as well.
Madness. Brilliant. Hyperbole.
From my distant viewing point in Australia, the IPL can only be viewed via its official streaming partner. It would be $60 well spent if the internet speed in most parts of the country wasn’t as slow as Inzamam ul Haq finding his way to the salad bar in a steak house. Fox Sports and Channel Nine apparently don’t do make believe sports anymore.
Like all great societal leagues of gentlemen, the IPL has some strict entrance requirements. One doesn’t simply stroll through the mahogany doors of the MCC Long Room without earning that right by displaying proof of impeccable bloodlines.
Pakistanis can nick off. Sri Lankans are not welcome to play in Chennai. They may disrupt the local election or something.
However, bring out your Australians and South Africans. How we covert thee.
The IPL would argue this is not racial discrimination.
‘Kolpak is not operative in these parts. Life is not fair. You are just jealous of the IPL.’
Other jurisdictions have attempted to copy and improve on the IPL carnival. The Big Bash got it right. The Natwest T20 Blunderbus did not. In any event, the format has taken a cockroach like persona. T20 is spreading. You can’t kill it. You feel dirty when one runs up your leg.
For here, the King’s are not mere average Kings. Hark, they are Super. The Knight Riders roll out a drunken David Hassellhof for half time entertainment in a replica of his 1980’s car KITT. The Royal Challengers have already accepted their fate as likely losers, else they be named the Royal Champions. The team from Mumbai need reminding what country they are found in. The team from Punjab needs reminding how many players in a cricket team.
If anyone can explain what a Sunriser is, we would be most grateful.
So for those fortunate enough to be in the right geopolitical zones of the world and with the requisite funds available to deploy on the necessary television subscription, dip your crusty bread deep into the gravy of the IPL banquet. Soak up its juices, slurp them into your waiting mouth and go back for seconds. Feast over the next 6 weeks on what is nothing but a bad reality TV show that somehow perfectly moulds together Bollywood actresses, some celebrities who need to get out of there, underworld figures, the stench of corruption, conflicts of interest and the occasional amateur chef.
Yes, an elongated stint on the toilet awaits to allow the cleansing from your poor body of the toxins you just ingested. But even Eve bit the apple from that vice ridden tree.