This House believes that the Indian Premier League is just not cricket!
After three debates on politics, it is time to take up the other Great Indian Passion: cricket.
Since last year, cricket in summer has meant the Indian Premier League. Launched amid incredible hype, with astronomical sums involved, a galaxy of local and foreign talent has played each other in franchises owned by business houses and Bollywood stars. The combination of cricket and celebrity has been irresistible to television viewers and advertisers as TRP ratings shot through the roof last year. Brendon McCullum’s batting blitzkrieg in Bengaluru kicked off what was widely agreed to be a successful tournament that captured viewers’ attention and held it all the way to a thrilling final in Mumbai six weeks later. This year has seen a somewhat quieter, but no less competitive IPL, thanks, in part, to the decision to shift the games from India to South Africa. It remains to be seen how it will be received upon its return to Indian shores next year.
For all the glitz and the glamour, the IPL is not without its detractors (if the cult status of the “fakeiplplayer” is any indicator). Questions have been raised concerning player fatigue, the proposed six-week window in international cricket for the IPL, and the large-scale commercialization of cricket (A “tactical time-out”? In cricket?). What does it mean for international cricket when a cricketer is pronounced fit to play 6 weeks of T20 cricket but not fit enough to play 3 weeks of Test Cricket? Will young cricketers of the future focus on the quick money of the IPL at the expense of representing their country at the highest level? Does the format that was designed to attract and entertain fans with a short attention span threaten the future of Test Cricket? Does the IPL even have the best interests of cricket at heart?
With this in mind, the motion for the debate this week is: This House believes that the Indian Premier League is just not cricket!
The proponent of the motion is Ayyaz Mallick of Oriel College. A second year Biochemist on the Oxford Student Scholarship for Undergraduates, he is the captain of the cricket teams of Oriel College and the Oxford University Pakistan Society. He also plays regularly for University Club and Oxford University Indian Society.
Opposing the motion will be Varun Divgikar of Hertford College. A Masters student in Computer Science at the University of Oxford on the Rhodes Scholarship, he has represented India in swimming at the South Asian Games and the World Championships in 2007. He was the Sports Advisor to the Student body in his undergraduate course and is an ardent cricket fan.
The debate will be moderated by Alok Prasanna Kumar of Exeter College. Currently pursuing the Bachelor of Civil Law degree at the University of Oxford, he is an Associate Editor of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal and also a keen cricket enthusiast having played at school and college level.