cricket, more cricket, even more cricket and fast cricket. oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. The heart and soul of almost every Indian, cricket is one game which unites India from North to South, East to West. The game is played with such high stakes (well, emotional, financial, reputational and what not) that the outcome of almost every match (yes ofcourse only when India is playing) affects the entire nation. It might not be impacting stock-exchange very much, but it does have a huge role to play on the mental pshcye of Indians.
Even the Supreme Court of India has come to hold that broadcasting of a cricket match in India, where India is playing, is of public interest and has allowed the government to make serious inroads in private and intellectual property rights of the broadcasters (remember the 'Ten Sports' decision not to share feed with DD and the decision of the Government to force to Ten Sports to share the feed and then the legal drama that followed, which ended up at the residence of the Chief Justice of India with him doing the final mediating and coming with a solution???) . Well so much for the emotions and drama and bla bla bla...
Karry Packer's colourful vision of the game is about to graduate into another advanced and faster version of the game. With the T-20 cricket already having impressed the spectators and fans the world over and make them reconsider their fanship over the 50 over and 5 day version of the game, the battle of the rival cricket leagues in India will be watched with hightened curiosity all over the world, with other national cricket boards awaiting to take a strategic decision to launch similar versions of the game in their national game curriculums.
And what do we have at stakes in this battle? Perhaps huge economic and financial stakes? Or even emotional and reputational stakes? Or both??? With the authority of the cricket's richest and supposedely the most powerful national board having been challenged but a national company, entering into cricket arena for the first time but with new ideas, it would indeed be a nice treat to watch as to where the experience of BCCI carries them to this time in making the game interesting, and ofcourse how could be forget that, making more money...
The rival leagues have given out some of their game plans but the world is full of surprises and none of them could be said to have embattled each other until we all witness the actual leagues themselves. It would really be a challenge for the not only the boards, but also the players (most of whom are finding a second opportunity to prove themselves at the game, or continuing from where they retired), who would all be under extreme pressure, which originates from the tough circumstances the game would be played in, the limited overs league (which is like do-or-face-kicked-out every moment) and also the huge skates they would be playing for an against, given the fact that teams can be bought and sold in this form of the game.
Though the success of this version would depend on the level of excitement and participation that they can generate, it is for sure that these new versions are seriouslly putting to challange the legitimacy of the 50 over and 5-day version of the game, with fans now being interested in quick games and early (with having little time to spare these days) rather than having to follow up and be kept waiting for and entire day or even a week to know their outcomes.
Hope it all ends in making cricket even closer to the soul... :)