The decision by the BCCI to shift the IPL out of India is being greeted with dismay by many (fans) and with glee with some (politicians). Typical of its nonsensical style of functioning, the BCCI has announced its decision literally as the bowler is marking his run-up.
So what of the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Delhi Daredevils, not to mention the Mumbai Indians? Will they now be transformed into the Essex Knight Riders and the Yorkshire Daredevils? The very concept of the IPL being a domestic tournament with its selling point being city based (and backed) brand loyalty goes for a toss whether the new venue for the IPL is England, South Africa or the Netherlands.
While I understand fully the concerns of the organizers over the security standpoint, I wonder if they would be similarly worried if there were no Brendon McCullums and Kevin Pietersons coming over but merely a few Singhs and a couple of Dhawans? Forget shifting the Ranji or Duleep trophies out of India; is anyone even hiring a couple of policemen to protect the domestic players?
The fact that the IPL was a business and not cricket was clear the day the Gangulys, Tendulkars, Dravids, Yuverajs and Sehwags became undisputed captains of their city teams, and in addition became their most expensive players without even having to be part of the bidding process. The aim at that point of time was to ensure the locals bought the idea, and every businessman knew that Kolkata wanted a Ganguly whether he scored anything or not, and Mumbai wanted a Tendulkar, forget that he has played about two Twenty-20 matches in his career. Today Sehwag has re-invented himself in the ODI and Twenty-20 mould and is an amazing bargain at whatever price he gets, but the day he was appointed undisputed captain of the Delhi Daredevils, many would wonder if he could hold his place in the Indian eleven?
Today the idea has been sold and the Indian cricket watcher is a fan of the Twenty-20 format. Taking the IPL out of India will be painful, no doubt, but I am sure the financial implications have been worked out by the accountants of the Zintas, Khans and the Mallayas. I would not be surprised to see in the next few days advertisements about Boost, Yamaha or Colgate, whichever are sponsoring the IPL, that encourage the viewer to drink, drive or brush with as much of the stuff they can buy off the shelves (or the showrooms) to get the golden opportunity to fly to England / South Africa / Netherlands / wherever to see the IPL live.
What do the cricketers themselves think of it? After all, it is the Sehwags, Lees and Gillys that are going to be playing out there; the IPL is about cricket, you know! Well, if I know our beloved BCCI any, they wouldn't give a fig what the icons, non-icons and other players thought about anything. They have been paid and now they must provide the service they have been paid for. Simple!