Now it is confirmed that Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held outside India for this season. The schedule has been announced as well for the season 2009. Even I am disappointed due to change in venues from India to South Africa. Is this move an obvious one? Were there any open options available with IPL committe to conduct this six weeks event India? What does that mean to India and rest of the world? While thinking about the whole story, a number of thoughts floated over my mind regarding cricket, which is a religion in this country and here is an excerpt of those.
Very first thought – was the IPL committee unaware of General Elections while planning for season 2? That can’t be a possibility, Indian media has been producing tons of programs about this ‘Largest democratic‘ event in the world for over an year now. Even if they had thought about the timing, did they fail to estimate the security concern? Atleast post 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, did IPL folks fail to get the clearance from government agencies? Did attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore worsened the security concerns of the International players? Well, the number question marks increased exponentially within me.
No second thought that national interest should be given priority. Does that mean we don’t have enough securtiy forces in India to manage both electoral process and sports event? In my view, it would be wrong to politicize sports related issues. I don’t like the way our political leaders are playing the blame game over IPL. Moving the event to South Africa is no good for Indian economy in the recession times. The money spent by IPL team franchisees is Indian money but the returns will be reaped by South Africa now. It is indeed a huge blow to Indian economy and couldn’t have come at the worst time. Now think about the foreigner visas, staff, hotel bookings, security, air travel and many more such industries would have got a big boost to see some cash flowing through the whole ecosystem. What an opportunity lost!
Whatever the reasons behind moving it ouside India, I feel it is a blessing in disguise as far as Indians are concerned. IPL will be held as per the schedule, without any security concerns for all the players. Indian citizens get to participate in General Elections. However, none of the Indian players will get to vote this year though! Politicians will realize the economic ripples that IPL is causing and hope they take a note of the learning and act wisely going forward from next season onwards!