A peek into the future of the IPL through a broken crystal ball.
By Anand Ramachandran - Author of the 'Son of Bosey' blog
Welcome to the IPL, folks. Where excess is the new moderation, extra-large is the new medium and 'that's out of the ground ' is the new 'just cleared the ropes'. It's all about bigger, brighter, louder and, most importantly, richer.
Lalit Modi said recently that the IPL will be bigger than the NBA. Bigger than the English Premier League. Bigger than the United Nations. Okay, he didn't actually say that last part, but you know he thinks it. And he means business. Modi just sold an IPL franchise for 370 million dollars. For a city that doesn't even have a cricket stadium. To put things in perspective, that's like paying ten thousand rupees for a crocin, when you don't even have a headache. Awesome. This man is an unstoppable force.
But just how big will the IPL eventually become?
I think it will be huge. So huge, we'll have to invent new words to describe how huge it is. Like humoungolastic. Or gargantarvelous.
In fact, I don't think the IPL can be contained in a 45-day period for long. In about five years, I predict that no other cricket tournament or series will even exist - the IPL will become a year-long tournament featuring hundreds of teams playing continuously. In fact, the tournament will be so expansive, that teams that are eliminated from the knock-out stage of the IPL in one year will immediately start playing league matches for the following year, just to save time.
Eventually, IPL tournaments from different years will collide, tumble over each other and collapse into a delightfully complicated and confusing carnival of continuous cricket. Nobody will even know what's going on, and nobody will care, because everyone will be having such a rollicking good time, just because Mr.Modi has asked them to.
By the time the number of teams and matches reach a point where things get completely out of control, the IPL will be so rich that they can invest in the technology to manipulate timespace and create multiple instances of the same 'year', in order to complete the matches on time.
This will result in the creation of an 'IPL Multiverse' with parallel timelines- much like those they create at DC Comics whenever they run out of ideas for milking the Batman franchise. I, for one, would certainly enjoy 'alternate universe' versions of famous cricketers, along the lines of the 'evil superman' and 'good lex luthor' characters we see in the comics. Imagine a Sreesanth who would occasionally not behave like a misanthrope. Or a Yuvraj Singh who would even consider light gym-work during the off-season. Or a CSK team that can win without M.S.Dhoni.
However, some things will thankfully remain the same.
Right now, top-class cricketers are proving that they still kick ass at T20, Bollywood stars are clueless about the game, and Siddhartha Mallya is dating hot young starlets.
Fifty years on, top-class cricketers will still be kicking ass at T20, Bollyood stars will remain clueless about the game, and Siddhartha Mallya (and Vijay Mallya, for that matter) will still be dating hot young starlets.
So here's my five-year plan suggestion - work hard, save money, and quit your jobs by 2013. There's going to be a lot of games to watch, league-tables to interpret, and fantasy leagues to do badly in. Oh - and buy a calculator. With a built-in Duckworth-Lewis function.