Posts Tagged ‘IPL’

N. Srinivasan has called a press conference at 4 pm today, few hours before the IPL final. Everyone is perplexed as to the reason for this press conference, and the timing of it.

Is he going to announce his resignation? Is he going to spill all the beans finally? Is he going to share the news that his daughter has filed for divorce? So we asked the fly on the wall in the Srinivasan household, and this is what he had to share:
“There was a lot of deliberation in the Srinivasan household. Srinivasan and his supporters have been analysing the situation that has emerged in the last few days, in great detail. All the ire from people, media, politicians, bookies, underworld etc. have all been discussed at length, to figure out what the real challenge is about, and what should be done next.

After a lot of deliberation, it was determined and concluded that the main reason people felt let down was that the field was not a level playing one!
Guru’s calls went to Vindu and from Vindu, the information went only to a few select bookies. Those bookies and their customers benefited, while the rest of the people suffered due to not having the necessary information.

This was the great injustice that needed to be fixed (pun unintended). Like a company needs to make the necessary disclosures to the stock exchange, so that all shareholders and the public are equally aware, so also, if any facts are to be shared, these should be shared equally with all, and not selectively.

Recognising that to be the problem of the past, and wanting to ensure that this does not repeat for the final also, Mr. Srinivasan is taking this press conference at 4 pm, to share the information equally.

What the final composition of the CSK team will be? Who will open the batting, the bowling? What the roles of the umpires are going to be? How the pitch is? In which over, how many runs are expected to be conceded? Who’s going to drop some catches, who’s going to do crucial misfielding? And most importantly, who is going to win?

With all that clarified 3-4 hours before the game starts, it now becomes a level playing field, and everyone can place their bets with all this relevant information.

That way there will be no complaints anymore, and this controversy will die down.”

So said the fly on the wall.
So you know now, what to expect in the press conference at 4 pm today..

Newspaper headlines, TV debates and the scores of opinions on social media would have us believe that a country of a billion people was betrayed in one shot, yesterday!

When the IPL Spot Fixing scam broke out, and 3 cricketers including one who had played for India earlier, were arrested, it has given the impression that God has fallen from His High pedestal. That it is a day of national grief, and cricket and India will never be the same again.


Calls of banning the cricketers for life, to having them arrested, to scrapping the current series of IPL, to holding BCCI and it’s officials accountable, to including the franchise owners to take blame, and many many more such demands have been doing the rounds.

Going against the tide, the way I see this episode is that, way too much is being made out of this incident. And I have many reasons to support this point of view of mine:

1. This is not an Olympic Sport. People are not playing for their country. This is a sporting event whose main aim is to ENTERTAIN. Especially when the 3-hour version of the sport has emerged, it has gone squarely into the sweet spot of entertainment, and actually competes with films and music shows and the like. To entertain people (in fact, film releases are delayed due to this competitive factor!).

So if this game is meant to entertain people and as long as it is doing so, why complain??


2. I have given this analogy before. I give it again.

When you go to see a film, and the story evolves, you sit there with bated breath, wondering “what will happen next”. The fact of course, is that the story has already been written, enacted and recorded. “Someone” already has decided what will happen next. Only YOU are discovering it for the first time. And you have enough intrigue and feel enough excitement, as it unfolds for you.

You don’t say that Aditya Chopra must be banned or Balaji Telefilms must be banned because they are showing us a story which they have pre-planned, and make us feel as if it is happening in real time!

If we are fine with films or television in terms of such entertainment, why not accept the same in T20 cricket too?


3. For many of us, there was an iconic moment in life, that evening of 1983, when Kapil Dev lifted the World Cup of cricket, at Lord’s.

We enjoyed the excitement, we enjoyed the victory.

What if a scam broke out today that revealed that bookies had paid Viv Richards to throw away his wicket and that led to India emerging victorious?!

For all of us who enjoyed the drama in real time, would it take away that pleasure which we felt in 1983??


4. So if we appreciate the brilliance of acting when Aamir Khan plays Rangeela or Amitabh plays Inspector Vijay, and we think of them as the character and find them believable, we can also admire a Sreesanth, who makes it appears that he’s actually bowling bad, and giving away runs.

I mean, if he also shows emotions of frustration when he gets hit, and appears believable, isn’t he doing as much of a good job as Aamir Khan or Amitabh, to entertain us?? What’s wrong with that??


5. Yes, it would become a sham if every catch was dropped and only lollipop balls were bowled, and the entire game became a festival match. THEN of course, the crowds will go away. But as long as some doses of drama are being injected, and appearance is maintained of a hard-fought game played with a key competitive spirit, what’s wrong with it??


6. For a moment, let’s take the conspiracy theory a step forward.

That more or less, the entire league has a concept of fixing. And the fixing is being done for purpose of maintaining a sense of excitement in the games and the league. Which then brings viewers coming back, and which also keeps the TRPs up, and the advertisers and the broadcasters happy.

Supposing this was done right through the league, and which is why, we had so many close finishes, and also that, till the very end, there is a certain openness about who will get into the last 4. And which in turns, ensures few dud games, and the TRPs are maintained.

This is easily conceivable.

So what, I say??

As long as we didn’t know about this, we were enjoying it completely. Everyone was happy – the cricketers, the spectators, the TV viewers, the advertisers, the broadcasters, the BCCI..

And now, say, we know that it was “fixed” to an extent.

So what has changed?

We are betrayed. We walk away from the game. Advertisers go away. The entire league comes under a challenge. And that helps whom??

From win-win to lose-lose??


Rest assured, I am not at all sarcastic here. I truly believe every word I have written here.

For all I know, and all I care, most professional sport may have small or high degree of fixing. But the role of those sports have always been to attract viewers and entertain them. And they are doing a good job of it.

Supposing there was no fixing, in the IPL. Everything was played fair and square. What if we got:

– Pune vs Punjab emerging as finalists, on merit. Where are the stars? How does this ensure viewership?

(just an example – nothing personal against Pune or Punjab!)

– teams scoring 120-130 in the first innings, and the team batting second folds up for 80 in 15 overs. How interesting would that be?

– within the first half of the league, the better teams have won enough to seal their place in the last four, and the others have got to a point where the knock out stage is beyond their reach? What excitement will be left in the balance games??


I believe that there have been elements of fixing in the game, for many years, and especially from the time that one of our erstwhile current experts, used to be a player! (the one who claims to have been “so shocked” by the happenings yesterday).

We did not know about most of those. It has all been a well-kept secret. Everybody is happy and spectators have been entertained.

Why break that comfort zone? Enjoy the sport, be entertained.

We’d rather watch this than watch some more saas-bahu stuff, and we’d rather ensure that IPL keeps the next Himmatwala type films from hitting the theatres!!

What do you say??



I understand that IPL is all about entertainment, for the viewer, the spectator. And which is fine!

After all, entertainment is good business.

But for the business owners, is it about entertainment, or is it about business like any other?

So how would it be, if all businesses ran like the IPL business??

I mean, as business owners if the family and friends came together and partied, not really worried about where the business itself was going?!

So at the tender opening of the infrastructure project, the owner gets along his wife, sister-in-law, and a few (20-30) friends to the opening. And even as the officials get down to the business of opening the bids and discussing them, in the reception lobby outside, champagne and cheese is served. And the ladies appreciate the new diamonds and the Gucci bags that some of them have carried on them. Light music’s in the air.

People keep coming and going, with papers and intense discussion going on inside.

Once in a while, the sis-in-law asks the wife.. “when will jiju come and join us here?” and the wife peeps inside, and looks at the hubby who’s in the middle of the tender opening. And the wife shouts out to him, and he looks up, and kisses her an air kiss. And she winks back..

And comes and tells her sister, “soon now.. “.

And when he comes out, he is offered a ready glass of champagne.

Did anyone ask about the tender itself? Oh.. who cares?!

And as for competition? Hey, it’s all fun. We are friends. And we party together.. !

So who cares about market share or profits or other such boring things, right?

Way back in 2007, when 20-20 started getting popular, I had shared my views on how I thought, cricket had finally found its perfect format.

Yes, there’s lot of things that I like about the format.

That its that perfect sweet spot of entertainment, in terms of size, viz. the perfect three hours.

That it managed to engage, besides the men, also women and children. No cricket widows now.

So what do I think is going wrong?

That its become too much of a circus. An extremely one-sided game. now.

Let’s cut to American Sports, from where the 3-hours sports format seems to be borrowed.

In an NBA basketball game, there IS competition. The two teams fight it out. All players have a shot. Some games are won on defense, some on offense. There is all round play. There is balance.

An NFL American Football game is not all about the quarterback. There is throwing, there is passing, there is kicking, there is strategy, there is good defense, there is good offense. Games have a balance again.

And the World Series baseball games have a role for the batter as much as it has a role for the pitcher. Again, a well balanced game.

Which is where 20-20 and IPL are getting it all wrong now.

Its become too much of a slam-bang-thank-you-maam kind of game, with the bat significantly dominating the ball. Its like the bowlers are there, just to throw a ball for the batter to smash to any corner of the ground. It is too lopsided.

To again give an analogy from the USA, the 20-20 IPL game resembles the slam dunk contest that happens in the All-Star Weekend of NBA. While exciting to view, the reality is that the Slam Dunk contest looks good one time in the season. Just imagine how NBA would be, if every game was only a slam dunk contest?!

Well, IPL is headed that way.

And THAT is not right. For the next 1-2 years, they may not even see a dip. In revenues. Or in spectators at stadia.

But there will be boredom setting in for sure. Especially considering the fact that there is too much cricket anyway.

IPL and 20-20 cricket need to take some corrective steps. Sooner rather than later.

Make it a more competitive game. Let the ball be counted for. Let the bowlers not become mere spectators on the ground.

Before people get completely pissed off, from the game, the authorities that be, must take some necessary corrective steps.

Do you agree? Or you think we are fine the way the format is? Do share your thoughts..

I have tweeted a lot (will need to be logged in to Facebook to see this link), and also blogged earlier, about the current IPL Drama, involving Shashi Tharoor, Lalit Modi and scores of other characters.I thought I had said what I needed to say, but with the piece by Pritish Nandy in the Times of India, on 25th April, 2010, I was tempted to say a little more.

And which I chose to ‘say’ literally, and so here are my continuing views on the subject:

There have been jokes in plenty about the KKR’s disastrous IPL season. Till date, I have also been involved to that extent only – had fun at their expense!

But an article in India Today, probing an analysis of the KKR performance got me thinking. One of the comments made by an ex-Australian cricketer (who is not named in the article) mentions that high profile coach John Buchanan was good to fine tune a team of brilliant individual cricketers (as in the Australian team that he coached then), but he would not be able to handle a team that has disparate and somewhat mediocre cricketers too.

This is an interesting thought, really. I remember during our college days, we had the Agrawal Classes in Mumbai, which had an amazing record at the IIT-JEE exams (and also the class XII HSC exams). The fact was that it restricted admissions to the absolute best-in-breed students and simply honed them to write the perfect exams. There were questions asked those days that if Agrawal Classes were really that good, can they take average performers and make them winners?? And the jury was out on that question. And we have seen others, such as the Super 30 – IIT group out of Bihar, where the not-so-perfect group has been converted into winners! Lagaan and Chak De India told similar stories. In real world sports teams, captains Mike Brearley (England), Warne (Rajasthan Royals) and Dhoni (India and Chennai Superkings) have done similar work. They have not necessarily had stars in their teams, but they have transformed average players into winning ones. Unlike John Buchanan!!

Could the same concept be true with CEOs? Would some CEOs succeed only when given star teams, whereas others manage to convert average performers into winning groups? Which is a better captain / coach / CEO to have? Buchanan or Brearley??

Another related and interesting thought with respect to sports teams is shared in the recent book, “Simplexity“. It talks about why good teams often lose against bad teams. The concept mentioned there is with respect to the ‘single line of fault’. With all the best players and strategy at a team’s disposal, how critical is a dropped catch in the 20th over?! Or a no-ball bowled or a wide given or a batsman giving away his wicket to an indiscrete shot at the very end?

That ‘single line of fault’ can undo all the great work of the great team, and which is the difference between winning and losing.

Like sports teams, companies are equally vulnerable to such ‘single line of fault’. There is a lot to learn from Mortaza’s wide in the 20th over to Rohit Sharma losing his wicket when just 4 runs were required in 4 balls. That could easily happen to your company too.. !