Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eastern Promise

Lawrence Donegan on reaction to the IPL in today's Grauniad.

"Of course there are some who will never be able to find it within themselves to admire anything associated with the IPL lest it be interpreted as approval for a concept they despise. So they deny the obvious and plough on with their howls of anguish, castigating everyone and everything associated with the league for crimes against the true soul of cricket. Thus, we have Andrew Symonds - one of the Australians who has signed on the dotted line for the IPL - being accused of selling out the baggy green for the sake of money. 'Australia must be proud of him', goes the sarcastic cry.

"Criticising another man for trying to make a living is never a good idea but criticising Symonds, who has given such sterling service to Australian cricket, betrays an arrogance more commonly seen in a feudal baron telling the plebs not to get any ideas above their station.

"But then arrogance has always been a characteristic of those who defend the status quo for no better reason than it affords them certain status and privileges. "We know best," the traditionalists say, as if they are the only ones capable of appreciating the aesthetic beauty of a cultured cover drive, the tactical subtleties of a five-day Test match or where the game's future lies.

"At the risk of being cast into the same cesspool of amorality and avarice as Symonds this might be the appropriate moment to pose a heretic question; what if it turned out that the millions of fans who now find themselves gripped by the prospect of the IPL are actually the ones who know best where the future of cricket lies? At the very least yesterday's frenzy in Mumbai suggests these poor misguided fools could be on to something.

"The problem for those who are opposed to the IPL, of course, is one of losing control. It is always thus for conservatives, regardless of where they propagate their ideas, be it in sport, in politics or in sporting politics. The development of the IPL heralds a marked shift in the balance of power towards India and instead of recoiling from this inevitability the game should embrace it. After all, India is where enthusiasm for the sport is at its most intense."

Excellent stuff!

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