The bitter part of the Indian Judiciary System is that, either they take decades or minutes to wind up on a case with irrational judgment. For all its perceived ills, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a game changer in Indian Sports context. Bureaucracy, reservations, biasedness and nepotism rules every industry across the country, let alone sports. From a population of over a billion, we have stood at the podium only 12 times after the 1996 Olympics. The far cry for long has been that, apart from Cricket, the other sports and the sportsman don’t get the attention they deserve.
Well, it’s the birth of IPL, which has seen the renaissance of other sports in the country. It has spurred a series of copycat leagues from hockey, kabaddi and badminton to football. Thanks to IPL, now every sport league that happens, enjoys a fair amount of viewership across the country. So there is no exaggeration in saying that IPL has changed the complete landscape of Indian sports.
The CSK Saga
Now in IPL there has always been a team, which was envied more and loved less, apart from its fans. The Chennai Super Kings franchise has always been the darling of the league titles, who had won the title twice and finished as runner-ups four times in eight-year span. Neither the franchise had any charming celebrity to pull the crowd nor were they termed as favorites to the title. All they had was only one man named Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MSD). That’s when I realized, Chennai Super Kings epitomized three of the things I loved the most – Chennai, Cricket and MSD.
The team displayed an undauntable heroism during the last eight seasons. Sticking around with the core team all along paid rich dividend in the form of consistency. In between 2012-13, I shifted to Delhi for a while and that experience made me more of a maniac than just a fan. In the hostel where I stayed, there was a fan base for every IPL franchise that participated in the league. Whenever there was a match for CSK, I saw fans across different franchises joining together to boo CSK relentlessly. Fans were going berserk and all they wanted was two desired results, either wishing their home team to win or they wanted CSK to lose. But their second wish seldom happened.
During one of their match at Feroshah Kotla in Delhi, I saw a man with a placard, which read, “You can love them or hate them, but you just can’t ignore them”. My heart swelled with pride! No wonder the fan map shown on TV during matches involving CSK had yellow all over the country. And not simply it was quoted, “Against CSK, it is not over, until it is over. Chennai Super Kings is definitely a Manchester United of IPL, aren’t they? And the thread that ties them together is the jealousy that they have inherited because of their consistency in lifting the trophies. And whoever said, winning makes one lonely at the top, was perhaps apt.
Dark clouds rues the franchise
Apparently the most expected happened in the name of match fixing. I call it expected because IPL is easily one of the cash rich events to happen in the country. And during this course of event, you should have never thought that the bookies are going to sit silent, during and after the matches. But the owners’ getting involved is what irked me the most, although it’s a different story altogether. Infact during the earlier controversies surrounding players being involved in match fixing, the BCCI should have fastened up in getting the requisites for making betting legal in IPL. Laws concerning rules and regulations have to be progressive in nature.
Why does everyone is required to bite the bullet for the wrongdoings of one person? Why the Chennai Super Kings fans were forced to call it a day, when all they had was nothing more than love for their franchise? What is the rationality behind suspending the teams, when it is only the ungrateful owners’ who were involved in the crime and infringement? Why do the players and fans have to bear the brunt of their misdeeds? Apparently the owners’ have let the players and fans down, but I’m sure they could never decipher, what it means to being let down!
My anguish is, why does the Supreme Court take examples of other sporting leagues across the world, while pronouncing the judgment. The general manager of Juventus, Luciano Moggi was found guilty of match fixing in the Serie-A in 2006. Instead of terminating or suspending the team completely, the football club was stripped of its two titles and demoted to the second division for the first time in history. Now that is an example of sensible judgment, where the club was punished and the players and fans were spared, who continued thick and thin to support their team. And in the case of CSK, it is Gurunath Meiyappan and N Srinivasan who had to be held accountable for the match fixing mess. The former for betting inspite of being the owner of the team and the latter for attempting delicately in covering up Meiyappan’s role in the franchise.
The love affair
I have been way too lonely during this season of IPL. Although I haven’t watched much part of the tournament, sometimes I sneaked in to watch MSD in that awful jersey of Rising Super Giants Pune. Man, how much I miss CSK in IPL. It bores completely to even take a glimpse of the league in television this season. I miss Dhoni smiling behind the wickets, I miss Bravo dancing awkwardly after taking a wicket and I miss to watch the ecstasy of Raina jumping over the wicket-taker in jubilation. Ofcourse, I miss our boys in that yellow jersey badly. Right from the days, when I used to go in early mornings to chepauk stadium on match days to just wave hands at the players, to getting a 5000 rupees ticket to support our team in the stadium, life has come a full circle for me. Our beautiful family was broken and separated for once. Although I don’t watch IPL anymore, I’m still waiting for that “Whistle Podu” moment.
But not yet, not yet!