27 September 2006

Bombay Boyzone v. Hyderabad Hailstorm

Apparently, we are soon going to be able to watch more cricket than ever before.

That domestic cricket in India was not getting the market it deserved had been a constant itch in the BCCI crack. In fact, slick hockey marketing made domestic hockey more watched than domestic cricket. PHL did have its faults: like overcooking the golden goose, but then PHL is an excellent lesson for those who are going to market Indian domestic cricket.

Spotlight wont be an entirely bad thing. In fact I am certain that those at the fringes of our national consciousness will love it. Endorsements will come in, more money for the players and the Railways team will never have to travel second class again. Hopefully, the dream will be sustainable, and the BCCI - its coffers full, has the gumption to stick on with this experiment even if it fails at the first go. Right now, the safety nets are dime a dozen, which gives the domestic cricket product enough time to make mistakes and evolve. Jazzy (or so it seems the intention is) names are never going to be enough.

But aren't we watching too much cricket already? Of course for junkies like me, the more the better to fuel and sustain my addiction. Be that as it may, there is clearly a case for the 'too much cricket' argument. On the one hand players past and former harp on about the strain on bodies, and the shortening of careers. There is also the a different kind of former cricketer who will snidley let slip a 'sissy' remark: 'you better fuckin play all 365 days for the fuckin money you're gettin'. Player fitness apart, is the ODI brand killing itself? In sport, context is everything. Why were the English cricketers willing to kill themselves for a bloody urn? Why is the FIFA World Cup so important? And how is spectator interest sustained when football clubs have to make money, making their thoroughbreds play through the year? By having a championship or a league where most matches mean something! A dead match is a rare thing.

Take the DLF cup. Five months from now, I will be lucky to remember Sachin and Chanderpaul. Apart from a random trophy that Ponting pocketed like all else that comes his way, did it mean much in the larger scheme. Or is the larger scheme insignificant in the business of making money? Yes, cricket does have a championshiop. Does it make sense? Does my presswallah understand how points are earned and rungs climbed? Thats food for thought. Question: when Ganguly's men went on a rampage, flaying the Aussie attack in Australia; when they finally had a forgettable end of tour one day competition, which other team(s) were part of the mix? My point exactly!