Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is Anyone Still Watching The IPL?

What are we up to now? IPL5? IPL6? I've lost count and I've lost interest. Part of it could be attributed to the lack of Lalit Modi. Part of it could be attributed to the absence of the FakeIPLPlayer. Mostly, in a sign of how the IPL has turned from cricket into packaged entertainment with little allegiance, my lack of interest can be attributed to the lack of TV coverage here in Australia. Lalit Modi created the IPL for TV. From the gaudy opening and closing ceremonies to the strategic timeouts. From the fat pay cheques to the televised player auctions. The IPL was an 'As Seen on TV' product. So what happens when the TV doesn't carry it any longer? The product fails. At least it has in Australia. The ratings drop suffered by last season's IPL was easily blamed on a nation still hungover from winning the World Cup. Most things in Indian cricket are attributed by those in power to 'minor blips' or 'something not so important' (anyone remember Team India's performances in England and Australia recently?). The real reason for a fall in TV ratings, anywhere in the world, is the fact that cricket administrators, the world over, don't actually care about crowds and audiences. They'll happily take in sponsorship money from betting sites, but won't actually take notice of how such sites treat their customers to ensure they keep coming back. It's high time administrators started paying attention to us, the fan that deserves a whole lot more love than we're currently getting. Continued >> >>

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Will The Real Swami Army Please Stand Up?

After 1 and half Tests of this 2011/12 Australian summer, it has become increasingly clear to many at the MCG and SCG recently that the famed Swami Army is merely a group of media hungry, bandwagon Team India fans bankrupt of all passion and verve when the chips are down. It's all well and good to tell the truth in advance, but at some point very soon there will need to be substance to support the fluff, else this lot's credibility will leak from Australian cricket stadiums at quite some rate of knots.

It is easy to join in the banter when life is good, but the modus operandi of a real supporter group should be to sustain the volume and vigour from the stands when shoulders begin to sag on the park. This requires creativity. This requires a genuine commitment to the cause. Above all, this requires unadulterated passion for the team in the face of all obstacles. After having witnessed this group in the flesh in Sydney and Melbourne, I can only surmise that they sadly may lack many of these qualities.

The one notable exception to this are the diligent lads on the dhol. They have shown time and again that they only need a small group to dance to their rapturous beats in an attempt to keep the inhabitants of the Swami Army bay from falling asleep. Long may they continue their fine work!

Welcoming High Commissioners and former Prime Ministers and cricketers is all fine and dandy. It looks great on TV and is also great fodder for the sound bite hungry online news media, and its no secret that any supporter group needs ample publicity to succeed. However, to actually fill a bay at an Australian cricket ground you need to be inclusive and prove that you are able to rally the troops when results on the park are less than stellar. Otherwise you leave yourself open to suffering the ignominy of being drowned out by opposition fans in all but the four rows you occupy.

As is the case for Team India for the remainder of this summer, there is still time aplenty for the Swami Army to prove they are the real McCoy and not merely the fair weather, flat track bullies they appear to be at the minute.

Continued >> >>
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