BCCI's decision of moving the second edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) out of India is amusing to say the least. South Africa & England are the apparent front runners for this money-spinning cricket league. The franchisee owners appear to be in tune with the decision . The plan is to have 8 cities in the new country adopt eight local teams of IPL. Lalit Modi, the bespectacled chief of IPL, thinks that this move is nothing more than holding a domestic tournament on international soil.
What a farce !! Just imagine a team like Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will be adopted by say Manchester or Durban where 'adopted' fans will dance to the tune of the Bengali theme song "Jeetbo re" of KKR. The stadium will probably be occupied by expatriate Indians and other fans of cricket, if at all.
But then, who cares for the demography of fans in the stadium as long as television viewership does not drop? And just to ensure the viewership in India, all the 59 matches will be played as per the original schedule at 4 p.m and/or 8 p.m IST. Hence , broadcasters are also in tune with the decision.
Hey what about promotion of T20 cricket in India? What about encouraging local club players to watch the matches on the Indian grounds ? That surely does not seem to be the objective of IPL organisers who think that as long as the network of "television broadcasters" "advertisers " & " franchisee owners" are satisfied that they can make money , everything is fine. Even if that means holding a domestic tournament in Honolulu.
Surely the organisers of IPL are trying to be one-up on the Indian political establishment who had asked for change of dates of the IPL tournament . The Indian government was apprehensive of providing paramilitary forces as they would be busy covering the general elections in the country due to be held during the same time period.
In this battle between big business & politics, it will be Indian viewers who will have to pay the price of missing live action of T20 cricket on the Indian grounds.