I consider myself a typical Indian cricket fan. I stopped playing cricket almost 30 years ago. But, I am a cricket fan, because I watch cricket matches on TV. I am not even a connoisseur of cricket. By that I mean, I don’t watch cricket on TV when say Zimbabwe is playing Bangladesh or some domestic match is shown on the DD Sports channel. I only watch cricket matches when our Men in Blue, Team India plays. I cheer for India and Indian players.
To the list of Indian cricket matches, IPL got added to my TV watching list rather inadvertantly. I watched most of the matches of IPL 1,2 and 3 whenever possible. I had great difficulty in choosing a side to support. I had lived a long part of my working life in Kolkata, so I chose KKR. KKR, everyone knows is the only team that never appeared in semi-finals of any of the three editions of IPL. KKR made more news for its off-field activities than its on-field victories. My next choice was Deccan Chargers, because Hyderabad is the city I have been living for the last few years. DC did give some reason for cheer in IPL – 2 by winning it.
Having got used to the idea of watching IPL, I started watching IPL-4 though not with the same enthusiasm as earlier. The world cup victory was just beginning to sink in when IPL 4 started suddenly with little or no build-up. Just after the World Cup victory, watching the same set of players in opposite teams or even the arch rivals in same team took a little while to adjust. With the complete makeover of all the teams and new teams getting added to the list, it became too hard to remember. With some effort and passage of time, this part of the problem has been overcome.
But now the problem is one of fatigue. Mid-way or not even mid-way through the tournament , now there is little excitement left to watch matches. Even the 20 overs look too long. Watching first 6 overs until the field restrictions are in place and then later towards the slog overs, one gets a sense of what is going on. Sixes, wickets, run-outs, none of them excite. The very same advertisements from Vodafone ( initially I liked it) , Havells, Brrr ads of Coke have become too irritating to watch. The Extra innings sessions are so boring and comments so banal, that there is no desire to listen to them. The commentators look completely drained out. To avoid the ads or extra innings , if I switch to some other channel, rarely do I get back to IPL. After staying awake for the first few days to watch the matches till 11.30 PM, I do not feel the urge to let go of my sleep for the sake of the matches. I have subscribed to the SMS updates from my mobile operator and see the results of the matches first thing in the morning.
The fatigue and irritation from IPL ( it is still a lesser evil than the 24×7 news channels) is so much that I sometimes find myself wanting both the teams to lose, when neither KKR or DC is playing. Keeping track of the position of the teams in the points table has become such a big task, thanks to its topsy-turvy nature, that I have decided to see it only towards the end of the league stage.
It appears that I am not the only one who is complaining about the fatigue. News from TAM is that TV ratings have come down to record low for this year’s IPL. It is 18 % lower than last year. The overkill of cricket and little innovation or controversy in IPL-4 has made it boring. Wonder what would Lalit Modi have done, if he was still running the IPL circus !!!