Dear Pakistani cricket fans,
So now you have your own version of the IPL.
The TV ratings of the Pakistan Super League, we believe, are better than any masala Bollywood movie and the euphoria around it is probably like the time Javed Miandad hit that last ball six.
Even if Rameez Raja takes the time to remember that it is the Karachi Kings and not the Kings IX Punjab, we can see it’s going to be a different ball game altogether.
Also read: The promise of Pakistan Super League
The cricketers, of course, are singing ‘scent of a money’, and here we are wondering when haven’t they? This is your debut season and like a new gadget, you will only figure out its battery life much later.
We, on the other hand, are veterans of it, entering our 9th year.
Shahrukh Khan’s cartwheels in the stadium ground have lost their novelty just as Priety Zinta’s spirited flag waving can’t hide the fact that in so many seasons not once has she gotten her team right.
Priyanka Chopra has long left the building, or rather the stadium and this year, even Anushka Sharma isn’t going to be in the stands cheering on Virat Kohli.
Then, of course, there are the cheerleaders. Don’t expect the Super Bowl, anything else is avoidable. Even our cameramen are bored of the same old routine, as are the over-zealous eyes of the culture brigade that thrives in the subcontinent.
Some of our cheerleaders have even danced wearing saris but there was nothing worth cheering, so don’t ask for something you won’t like.
Think! Cheerleaders cheering in shalwar kameez, it’s a bit like being hit wicket. But, there is a reason they have been banned from the IPL parties. Trust us, you’re just avoiding the sleaze.
You go straight from the PSL to the T20 World Cup next month. We did the same in 2009, exhausted and with injuries to some key players.
It didn’t take us long to exit the tournament and the usually calm Gary Kirsten our coach those days, fairly put the blame on IPL.
PSL is not as long a tournament and hopefully, you can manage the pulls and the tears, if there are any. Just a note of caution, players are very good at keeping their injuries under wraps: Moneytalks.
It’s not a myth — the concept of too much cricket does exist
Our IPL calendar takes away the crucial rest period before the start of a new season. Hopefully, your board has managed it better.
But soon, you will realise when the stakes are so high it stops being a gentleman’s game. There will be players who will be content just playing this annually.
Test cricket, the hallmark of a good player is a dying breed. For us, the writing on the ‘wall’ is clear. Ravindra Jadeja or Rohit Sharma, our regulars in the T-20 format will never be mentioned in the same breath as Rahul Dravid.
It would also be wise to leave technique at home when you watch these matches, the cricketers in any case do. Neither will the player of the tournament necessarily go on to be the next Afridi. How many of you have heard of Akshar Patel or Sanju Samson?
Hopefully, the PSL can divert some of the profits into the domestic league because frankly, a complete player will never emerge from hit and miss tournaments.
Match fixing still haunts you as much as it does us
Now with the bar raised bookies will be crawling around waiting for their catch, and they will find a way.
Those with an especially humble background are all the more vulnerable. This year Nathu Singh, the son of a factory worker has been bought by one of the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians for Rs3.2 crores. There are some more like him who have never dreamt of this kind of money. Only time will tell if their serious dedication can overcome all the distractions the not-very-serious form of cricket brings.
Two of our teams, including the very successful Chennai Superkings led by MS Dhoni have been suspended for two years.
Ideally, they should have been permanently banned but there is a reason some call IPL the Indian Punters league. There is still a sealed envelope with names of more than 10 players implicated in IPL spot-fixing.
Your list over the years is equally long. For now, Mohammad Amir is back but every time he gives two no-balls in a row, will your mind not wander?
So, keep in mind this is not really sport and it doesn’t really take that long for the sheen to wear off and the dirt to kick in. Such tournaments make money, rarely careers.
We can say that because we’ve been burnt by the IPL.
An Indian cricket fan (run out by the IPL)
P.S. Don’t forget to watch a few test matches; it’s not just for the player but also a test of who the true fan is.