The Indian Premier League has long been known for controversies, betting, match-making and anger issues. It has been in the headlines for reasons apart from cricket on innumerable occasions. Teams have been banned, popular owners, like Kundra, have been removed from their position of power and players blacklisted, all for money. Money is indeed a poison that corrupts and infects people.
The other important thing is popularity. For the longest time, we tend to see the celeb owners over the less popular owners, in the news, mostly involved in the drama, behind the scenes. They are extremely concerned about their public image and the public display of their involvement in all this, is as disturbing to them as it is to some of us who read about it. At the end of the day, the most popular figures, are the ones who try the hardest to look their best.
Most of the time, in the past, players have also been chosen based on their public popularity more than their real-time performance results. It appears as though, this time, there is a shift in the way these celebs and others are handling their stature and importance. They may be doing so responsibly, but we cannot be so sure yet. To look at this year’s situation, let’s get the popular celebs straightened out – Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Juhi Chawla and Nita Ambani.
It was noticeable, that this time, these celebs were going for the less-popular cricketers like Ben Stokes and Manish Pandey. More obvious popular choices such as Martin Guptill, Hashim Amla were not even bid for. To everyone’s immense surprise, Chris Gayle was not even bid for until the very end when Kings XI Punjab took him in for the lowest bid. It was a sad sight for a lot of the fans, however, it was reasonable if we consider his performance in the recent matches.
Also, during this year’s bidding, we saw the entry of the two of the youngest participants – Jhanvi Mehta (Juhi Chawla’s daughter) and Akash Ambani (Nita’s Ambani’s son). It was a refreshing sight and gave us all the feeling that the decisions being made this time were probably done in a different way, with fresher perspectives, which have probably resulted in good results for the teams.
Talking about reputation, it is very obvious that the stars don’t want the fans to think that they don’t care enough. Some of the public stunts and the social media posts are mainly for this purpose. Shahrukh Khan recently took on Twitter to apologize for the lack of spirit of KKR and their horrible fail. Preity Zinta had a feud with Kings XI Punjab mentor, Virender Sehwag publicly after the match. I am not sure whether she consciously chose that particular moment to lose her cool or if it was simply a burst of anger. Either way, it garnered a lot of attention.
Thus, one can say that Drama is an essential part of IPL, whether it be on purpose or by chance. However, this year we have seen relatively lesser of that and more of fair IPL selections, matches and no unnecessary drama.