The Great Indian Festival: IPL 2020
Cricket is not just a sport but a religion in India. IPL (Indian Premier League) is not only a league of games but a festival that brings together people from different spheres of life together to support their favourite teams. The month of April- May is significant in every cricket's Fans. This two-month duration marks a special festival or commonly called India ka Tyohar named Indian Premier League, or widely called as IPL. Be it young or old; everyone celebrates it. Everyone is glued to their television sets, starting from pre-match analysis to the presentation session.
With the first remarkable victory in the first inaugural T20 world cup under the captaincy of M. S Dhoni, BCCI gave a boost to T20 matches with the launching of its very own league Indian Premier League, which revolutionized the popularity of cricket in India. With players from all across the globe and teams formed with mixed diversity, the new idea gave IPL a future face. The marketing geniuses of IPL devised it so well with grand ceremonies, out of the box creative advertisement, Bollywood stars owning team franchise, big faces in the game, and collaboration with major companies gave it a massive boost of both in terms of popularity and economy, making it the most-attended cricket league in the world and gaining it a brand value of ₹475 billion (US$6.7 billion), in the year 2019.
The league's advertisements hit the masses on a different level, making it a viral trend every IPL season. May it be the theme anthem of the league or the main sponsoring company's advertisement, it sets the trend all over the social media. Some famous ones that have set the platform high are Vodafone ZooZoos, Kanna Keep Calm, and Jumping Jhapak. This year the sponsor company's Dream 11 ad made to the trend so fast that even pandemic stricken students struggling with online classes and assignments wish that some famous cricketer says to them, "yeh assignment me kar leta hun Tabtak aap dream 11 pe team bana lo."
The coronavirus pandemic has affected every facet of our lives. Cricket is no different. After four months, international cricket first resumed in England. Later, the ICC T20 World Cup slating paved the way for the conduction of the much-coveted and much-awaited Indian Premier League in Dubai. Adding more joy was the tournament fixture timings were scheduled so that viewers back in India could experience the true feel of IPL. This IPL saw new sponsors and new laws that changed how IPL is perceived among the masses. Be it the Dream 11 tagline or the creative ads between the overs; this IPL stands tall apart from the rest editions. Adding to the excitement to the IPL was the greatest captain's return ever to grace the game, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who recently took retirement from all forms of cricket. The first match between the two titans, i.e., Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, provided an impetus to the tournament- the right tapping of fan nerves!.
All said and done, the number of status updates in WhatsApp during matches is something too worth noticing. With every person being regularly active on social media, some people don’t even require Hotstar subscription as they can literally watch the match via the Whatsapp status. Everyone becomes a cricket pundit and starts analyzing, which adds glamour and makes it even more special (Welcoming sensationalism the IPL way!).
WhatsApp groups getting spammed during the match is nothing new as everyone supports their favourite team leading to debate and discussion. Such things come as a respite, considering the stress and pain of cumbersome days (and online classes). Facebook and Instagram get filled with relatable memes related to criticism and appreciation towards players. In short, social media is the complete replication of the match on the field with rhetorics and sarcasm all around.
Well! No hit movie is a big hit without the dark side lurking in the background. That makes the protagonists of the story special as he continues to battle everything unethical. Despite all the entertainment and stress relief IPL gave us in past years, the coin's flip side can’t be ignored, which has lurked up to visibility of the audience in the past years. From Scandals, betting, match-fixing, after party fiascos, this tournament has made cricket a great money-making source for the BCCI, but sometimes in the wrong way. Changes have been made to curb these unethical means but how far its development has progressed is still a rhetorical answer.
The first blow was after a cheerleader’s confession in 2011, named Gabriella Pasqualotto, on how they were molested, used as slaves in some big parties by some big hotshots, and also faced racial slurs. These issues were resolved after player- cheerleader interaction was banned.
Teams have been alleged for not using young talents and going for the old players making the young shots warm benches. It has become pivotal for teams to not end up on the losing side, and experimenting with young talents has become risky. This is not helping them and the whole purpose of the tournament, but we keep seeing an odd name coming out and taking the limelight. Young talents like Ravi Bishnoi and Devdutt Padikkal came to the spotlight after they were given a chance to prove themselves.
One of the biggest demons to hit the tournament was the Match fixing issue that came to the limelight in 2013, which kept haunting the tournament’s image and its scars are still pretty visible. S Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan, and Ajit Chandila were banned from playing international or domestic cricket after their alleged involvement in match-fixing, which saw the whole nation mourn the degradation of the sport.
Many other games that have gone down to the final overs have been challenged and frequently pointed out, as there are questions regarding the legality of the games. Despite no other fixing event coming up in the press, the rumours have never left and will continue to haunt the tournament like bad nightmares.
And the final issue which not many are not unaware of is ILLEGAL BETTING in the tournaments. This issue was shot when two titan teams (Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals) were slapped with a two-year ban for their owners’ alleged involvement in betting. Every season we see so many cases of gangs getting caught in pubs, bars, and other public places splashing the cash on this, but still, we have not found a way to curb it. We are not very aware of the changes legalized betting can bring in, but that seems like the only remedy that makes sense. And this season, we see the majority of apps like Dream11 promoting the scene or just something near to it to keep the masses away from betting.
With reforms being taken to curb the dark sides, IPL has positively affected many fans as well as acting as their stress buster. With the coronavirus pandemic still at large, IPL has helped people to stay at home rather than moving out. IPL provides full-fledged entertainment for three hours every day and doubles that on holidays for seven weeks.IPL is a blessing in disguise for all of us and has temporarily, if not permanently, eased the burden on every cricket fan due to various factors. IPL isn’t just a sports league for cricket fans but a huge emotion for a lot of fans and viewers.