I'm choosing to ignore Australia's dismal performance for now.
Let's talk Indian Premier League.
Insert obligatory comment about the passage of time: it really doesn't seem like a whole year ago we first saw a cricket in such a... dazzling... light.
It was amusing but it didn't take long to lose interest. Sure, Ricky Ponting wore a black and gold costume (uniform doesn't say enough) and Shane Warne proved he's still ace, but it's only Twenty20, and the whole thing went for too long.
It really was a tournament of very little substance.
The best part of it, in my opinion, was seeing the likes of Ponting and Ganguly playing side by side; something county cricket followers would be familiar with, but we haven't got an Australian equivalent.
But a lot of things have changed in the last twelve months.
India has been subjected to a horrific terrorist attack.
The recent attack in Pakistan saw made us realise that our beloved sportsmen are not immune to the instability of the world.
The 2009 IPL will coincide with federal elections in India.
If I was a cricketer I wouldn't want to go. As it is several Australians have pulled out of the competition. Though citing other reasons, security must have been a factor and a big one.
The Indian government have said they cannot provide extra security because of the elections.
"Due to the attitude of the government that it cannot provide security for the tournament, we are forced to take a decision to move the IPL out of India," the country's cricket chief Shashank Manohar told reporters.
I commend the BCCI for this. It would have been easy to turn a blind eye and reap the reward and profit, despite the risk of attack.
South Africa is the likely host for the IPL, with England a second alternative.
I wonder what implications this will have for the league's profits.
An integral part of this tournament is interpellation - Indians identify with the IPL, it's their tournament. Their celebrities own the teams, those celebrities are often filmed in the crowd celebrating or lamenting the performance of their team. The spectacle and the glamour, from the player auction to the season launch to the costumes; it is India.
In turn, atmosphere at Indian cricket matches is something to behold, and I believe assist to sustain the interest in this event. They are an immensely lively bunch and it goes hand in hand with the extravaganza of the IPL. Again, it is their tournament. Will it be mimicked in South Africa? No.
There is a 3.5 hour time difference between the two countries. Granted this is not as big as if it was being held in England, but it will still affect prime time viewing in India (and make no mistake, this tournament is held to be broadcast in India).
Take away these patriotism factors - will the Indians lose interest if tournament seems to become South Africa's? My Indian blogger friends are far more qualified to comment on this than me, but it makes me wonder.
While all these factors are interesting to consider, none of it really matters. What matters is the safety of the cricketers and subsequently the safety of the people around them who may in turn be affected (security guards, by-standers etc).
There can be no doubt the BCCI are doing the right thing here. If that means the IPL dies, which is unlikely even if this season goes badly, so be it.
I also commend South Africa for being ready to mobilise with this.
It's cricket. We're there for each other.
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- ▼ March (17)