The Indian Premier League, a professional cricket league now in its third season, has been in news this week for netting over 3,235 crore rupees (roughly $700 million) from the auction of 2 new teams. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) launched the IPL in September 2007 with the first edition, held in 2008.
The IPL is the largest and most popular Twenty20 cricket league in the world. Twenty20 is a shorter form of original cricket that originated in the UK in the early 2000s to give the game a faster, more edgy spirit. And the IPL 3 has eight teams, or franchisees, all of which are owned by India’s famous celebrities, industrialists or business houses who pick players from across the cricketing world at a high-octave ‘auction’ to ‘buy’ talent. The league has delivered on its promise of popularizing cricket and imbuing it with the fun elements of the other great sports like cheer leading, etc. In fact, the two new franchisee teams that were sold this week cost more than the first 8 squads put together.
All of this leaves me a little bedazzled. I just don’t get a cricket game that finishes in four to five hours and does not play countries, but ‘franchisees’ against each other. But, from what I see around me, I inhabit the minority on this issue. In a country that is changing so rapidly, even five years is a generational span now. I guess I am of the pre-IPL generation.