What else did you expect? Just because it is the IPL season, the atmosphere is not going to be filled with excitement. That is just lazy usage by us media people who cannot get by without resorting to banalities. We take to cliches like a duck takes to water. Ahem!
Anyway, these IPL matches will doubtless see plenty of action and excitement that will be remarkably memorable for about a few hours. Speaking of which, many of you may feel that you can easily remember the precise details of matches from the long distant past but have difficulty recalling even bare information from contests of very recent vintage.
Ever wondered why? There is a scientific phenomenon to explain this, and it is called: Ageing.
Ageing, of course, is the word that was often used to describe the CSK side last year, when its grizzly veterans won the title braving the enormous odds of playing their home matches --- why not? --- away from home.
The CSK team played their home matches in Pune because politicians in Tamil Nadu did not allow the matches to go ahead in Chennai because they were fed up with Karnataka for its "Ee sala cup namde" slogan.
Okay, actually, that would have been a valid reason for protests. It is the most cringeworthy line in the history of the IPL, even worse than the several lines uttered by Sivaramakrishnan during his IPL commentary stints.
"Ee sala cup namde", for the record, is the Kannada for "this year too we are looking for a facepalm emoji."
Anyway, the thing is matches did not happen in Chennai last year because of Cauvery waters. Yeah, go figure! But Chennai and the Chepauk stadium are not exactly new to bizarre stuff. For instance, one of the things that is in the official list of banned items in MA Chidambaram stadium is: wearing of a black T-shirt.
No, we are not making this up. The local government blacklisted the black T-shirt because it was a government, hence incapable of thinking. Governments collectively have the brain of a sewer tank. They just like to ban or censor stuff.
My favourite example of authorities' unthinking bureaucratic ways is the Chikni Chameli song. In that number, Katrina Kaif, in an orgasmic frenzy, is all heaving bosoms and thrusting pelvis and the thing that the censors blurred on the screen so that kids are not unduly impacted was: a lighted beedi on the mouth of a side dancer.
See this is the problem with writing about the IPL, your references tend to come, almost organically, from Bollywood. In regular cricket matches when a six is hit, they show the reaction of the bowler or the batsman or the crowd.
In the IPL, when a sixer is slammed, they pan the camera to the face of Preity Zinta or any other actress who will doubtless be present in the stadium. What does this reveal? Exactly, that KXIP’s bowling has been pathetic for the most part.
Anyway, why are actors and actresses seen a lot during IPL encounters? Well, cricket is a great sport. To be precise, cricket is a great sport to promote the films releasing that weekend. To define, IPL is a cricket tournament where the pre-match TV show is filled with Sunil Gavaskar talking cricket with, we don’t know, Ajay Devgn, looking totally oblivious to the fact that his name without that vowel sounds extremely silly.
Seeing young actors and actresses toiling at the cricket stadium, you cannot but ask the important question: Why don’t the IPL administrators actually go the whole hog and offer slots in the playing XI of teams for heroes whose films have just released or about to hit the screens? It will make things easy for all concerned.
I mean we can concentrate on the field of play while the stars need not strain themselves to catch the attention of the TV cameras. To me, it makes perfect marketing sense, not to speak of cricketing sense, as, at any rate, no young hero can possibly do any worse than RCB's death bowlers at last year’s IPL.
The only hitch on the horizon for this most sensible plan is when a Salman Khan movie releases. For, Salman being Salman, would want to throw away his team jersey and show up in a sleeveless vest while batting or bowling. Not that it is against the IPL rules or anything, but it is just that with a small banian the space for sponsor’s logo is limited. The general rule of IPL is: you don’t tamper with the sponsor’s space.
So, Salman's vest would be kosher. Unless of course it is a black-coloured one. In which case, he wouldn’t be welcome in Chennai.
First Published: March 22, 2019, 8:14 AM IST