‘Are they slaves that they have to be bought and sold?’

February 21st, 2008 - 9:05 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Cricket fans across India are excited by the glamour and buzz created by the unprecedented players’ auction for the professional league but wonder about its impact on the traditional forms of the game, particularly Test cricket. In reactions sought by IANS reporters across the country, fans appeared confused by the way the Indian Premier League (IPL) will pan out and were left shaking their head about the huge amounts of money being poured into the once-staid ‘gentleman’s game’.

One fan from New Delhi even said the whole auction was redolent of the times “when slaves were sold and purchased in the market” and said he found the whole thing “disgusting”.

Following is a snapshot of reactions from all the eight cities that will field teams in the inaugural version of IPL:

“The whole auction looked like the times when slaves were sold and purchased in the market. The IPL seems to carry the trend of those dark times. It is disgusting to see the players sold like that to the businessmen.” - Vibhav Mishra, lawyer, New Delhi.

“I am very excited about the IPL. Now like football we will have clubs for cricket. It will be really exciting. The Kolkata team has Sourav Ganguly, Ricky Ponting, Shoiab Akhtar… What else do you need? Besides, its Shah Rukh Khan’s team and I’m going to root for this side just for him.” - Roshan Chettri, student, Kolkata.

“Sadly, the IPL auction has converted the game of cricket into a business. The auction has come as a surprise to all cricket lovers. Good players like Ricky Ponting from Australia were priced low while players like Ajit Agarkar and Parthiv Patel who have not played since long were bid at higher prices.” - Dukool Pandya, avid cricket fan and worker in diamond company, Mumbai.

“I don’t agree at all with the view that more money will spoil the cricketers or distract their attention from the game. For several years now those playing for India are accustomed to raking up money with advertisement sponsorships etc. They will not be seeing this amount for the first time to get carried away by it. I am pretty confident about this.” - M. Palanichamy, 18, Chennai.

“This is going to kill cricket skills. This would be a sort of game where you do not have to be a good player.” - Rameshwar Singh, cricket enthusiast, Jaipur.

“It was sheer madness the manner in which first the teams were sold for fancy amounts and now players have been auctioned. It will definitely affect cricket as a sport. But I will still watch it for the fun of it.” - Anuradha Tiwari, bank executive, Chandigarh (Mohali is next to Chandigarh).

“It is good that V.V.S. Laxman will be leading the team. He is a stylish player and played many match-winning knocks for India but always got a raw deal in the one-day side. I am confident he will prove himself in Twenty20 format to claim his due place in the national one-day team.” - Ravinder Reddy, cricket fan and IT company employee, Hyderabad.

“There are many who are sceptical about how cricket fans will build team loyalty with so many players from different nationalities and regions being part of each team. But I think this T20 format will be more for entertainment than anything else. Of course, the Mohali team has added glamour with the likes of Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia,” Gaurav Verma, Chandigarh.

“I was not at all happy to see that players were being brought and sold. According to me it does not make sense to invest all money in one sport. What will happen to other sports? What will happen to our national game? Money-wise it is good, but not good for the game. It is a nothing but a commercial gimmick. IPL and ICL are killing the essence of the game.” - Pallavi Arun Varma, college student, New Delhi.

“At least it would be cricketainment for us. Full of fun. I could not have imagined players getting this huge money. Thanks to this, at least players will benefit a lot. Not like former players who were paid poorly and face hardships after retirement.” - B.S. Rajpurohit, Jaipur.

“This will surely increase the pressure on youngsters aspiring to play for the national team. While their coaches will be yelling at them to first perfect the technique, the youngsters’ mind will be on the scoreboard. It will be particularly harsh on those wanting to be bowlers. Parents too will have a hard time in guiding youngsters on how to handle the pressure.” - K. Sundrammal, homemaker in her early 40s, Chennai, whose 10-year-old son wants to make it big in the game.

“It (the IPL) is bound to become a hit because of the buzz it has already created. However, people will be a little apprehensive in the beginning. Undoubtedly, it will affect the popularity of ODIs and Tests, but the shorter version will suffer more. Test cricket will remain the same as it has a separate pool of viewers.” - Samrat Paul, software professional, New Delhi.

“I hope this flops. Can you imagine an off-spinner getting a higher bid than a regular batsmen? A bowler who can only ball four overs getting more money and players like Mike Hussey not even finding a place? It is bad for the game.” - Abhishek Chandra, Jaipur.

“I am astounded, though all those bidding for the players have deep pockets and know where to put their money. As for whether it is good for the game, it is wiser to wait as given the hype that surrounds cricket in the country, there will be severe competition to market the matches and even the doubters will surely switch on their TV sets for a look.” - Kritika R., student of business administration, Bangalore.

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