Entertainment off the pitch has been an important part of the IPL’s success. That the duration of the game is comparable to the length of a Bollywood movie helps its cause: a cricket fanatic boyfriend can safely take his partner to an IPL game without the fear of getting dumped by the end of it.
But, the main focus should still be the game of cricket and nothing else, which sadly has not been the case in recent times. The raucous atmosphere in every match bears close resemblance to a crowded nightclub. This overdose of non-cricket takes its toll on traditional fans, who just want to enjoy a good game of cricket by cutting out the sundries.
Make Umpires Great Again!
When the concept of a third umpire came in 25 years ago, the idea was to help make correct decisions on close run-out calls. However, most umpires in IPL are so shy of giving a batsman out that they refer to their counterpart in the pavilion, even if the batsman had been a mile short of the crease. If the on-field umpires have been reduced to ball-counting bots, the third umpire often plays the role of ‘captain obvious’ – stating what everybody has already seen on the giant screen. The role of the third umpire is hence redundant in modern-day cricket, as they no longer have to press a button to turn on a red or green light, conveying their decision to the spectators holding their breath. Let’s just have the two umpires on the field to make decisions, with the aid of technology when needed.
“The Most Annoying Extras” award must go to the people in charge of the public address system at every ground of an IPL game. They make it impossible to watch a game even at home, without keeping the volume at minimum on our television sets. They constantly keep rallying up the crowd to cheer the home team. Often, they’ll even ask the crowd to clap once or twice based on the number they call, or encourage some intolerable noises in the name of cheering. They treat the crowd as if they were a bunch of kindergarten kids. People in the stadium do not need a cue to have fun. They have done it for years and will continue to do so in a way they deem fit. Let’s get rid of these nuisance behind the microphone and allow people to take back control of their enjoyment.
It is not uncommon to have a DJ in most sporting venues but the choice of music played during some games is far from ideal. The only place one may want to hear “Chittiyan Kalaaiyaan” being played is the Ladies Sangeet of a Gujarati wedding. It could be a smart idea to ask the players from the day for their list of favourite songs and use it when they get ready to bat or bowl.
The concept that provides a platform for artists with incredible athletic prowess to showcase their skills during a game has become lost in translation, while being borrowed from the west. They have been mostly reduced to the role of crowd-pleasers, dancing in scorching heat and humidity on every boundary hit or every wicket taken. Let’s have an IPL, free of this pointless routine and put an end to this “Alternative Cheerleading”.