Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why the hostility to the new India Cricket League?

The India Cricket League (ICL) with a billion rupees corpus gives cricket-lovers around the world a reason to rejoice. Here, finally, is an alternative league that can create some interest in cricket-lovers who are tired of watching the same 10-20 players who play without any flash, hunger or creativity. It's already having the effect of providing competition to the old boys' club as well. The cricket board in India, for example, has increased the salary of their players.

One would think this would be taken as a positive sign by the people who run Cricinfo, the definitive cricket site. Somehow they don't... Cricinfo is criticising the players joining ICL (calling them, among other things, 'opportunistic', 'discards' and 'disgruntled'), the league organizers and whoever else they can lay their hands on. I am not sure what they have to lose here and why they are taking such a negative attitude towards the fledgling league? Surely they know how tough it is to get something like this off the ground! Why the sniping?

Like most of the cricketing establishment in India, cricinfo seems to have a perverse fascination with extraordinary talent coupled with a disregard for the notion of sport as entertainment. I wonder what exactly they mean by "sub-standard" leagues. Agreed, many of the players signing up for ICL may not be of international standard (whatever that term may mean), but isnt two teams of reasonably skilled sportsmen competing in the presence of a (hopefully) fair amount of viewership an end in itself?
Looks like the BCCI is floating its own Twenty20 league - cool stuff!
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