Category Archives: Cricket

I love cricket!

Does an overseas IPL make sense?

I really don’t think so.

Cricket and madness go hand in hand in Indian. I am a firm believer in free market capitalism and I admit (with numbers) that IPL, the Indian Premier League has done wonders to the game as well as the Indian economy. You can even watch IPL online now!

Indeed, I wouldn’t hesitate so that IPL successfully created an economy around itself that previously didn’t exist. But it could happen because it was India. Sports are a cultural phenomenon. Some games become popular in some countries because people build cultural habit around it. It is a way to socialize and connect.

There are a billion people in India who are crazy about cricket and some cricketers have a status of a deity. Here is the real point.

As the legendary batsman, Geoffrey Boycott, points out in his recent interview published on www.cricinfo.com, IPL could have been successful only in India.

Imagine the NFL Superbowl happening at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai! Do you think people will show up? May be some will. But will it culturally appeal to a billion people in India? Nope. Not really!

Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman says that the league will be exported to US, Middle East and other global places. Indian is an exporting country. We have successfully exported goods, services and people. But exporting a game? That is something new.  I will be glad if it happens, but boy, miracles need to happen for that.

I am sure there have been ample strategy analyses and market research to establish that there are strong Indian diasporas globally to go and watch IPL matches once in a year. But will that justify the investment required in terms of marketing the game and building infrastructure? I am not even talking about the stress it will create on players. By the way, it is already a concern!

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Sachin Tendulkar scores 200, breaks Saeed Anwar’s record of 194 – Kudos to best batsman ever!

I know. I am shouting about Sachin’s 200 two days later and by now most cricket websites and all relevant newspapers have covered the story.

Hence, I am not adding new information about this cricket deity called Sachin Tendulkar, who at the age of 37, achieved something that no one had achieved since the ODI format of the game was invented.

You can check out Little Master’s record and analyze it the way to like, he is the best. Better yet, you may admire some of rare pictures of the master blaster.

There is no doubt that Sachin is the best batsman cricket ever had. But there were other great batsmen too. I am merely reproducing the content here because it is worth sharing. I collected these from various news papers (such as The Times of India) and sites and find them intriguing.

  • “Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of all time. Better than Brian Lara and Rickey Ponting….better than Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border. And I would even say, better than Sir Don Bradman himself.” – Nasser Hussain, Former England Captain.
  • “I am happy Sachin broke my record because he is the greatest batsmen of the modern era. His feats speak for themselves.” – Saeed Anwar. (Previously held the record.)
  • “There is just no question about that. He is the greatest batsman the game has ever seen.” – Sunil Gavaskar.
  • “It shows his mental and physical toughness. He’s a player who does not throw away his wicket once he’s set. He always places a huge price on his wicket,” – Dileep Vengsarkar said.
  • “What an innings it was! He came close to achieving it twice. I always felt that Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya are capable of doing that,” – Kumar Sangakkara.
  • “He is my favourite player. I had told that one day he would go on to break all batting records and now you see him scoring runs and runs.” – Javed Miandad.

A passing mention; I am aware that Sachin is not the first one to score 200 in ODI, its Belinda Clarke, and along with Saeed Anwar, the record of 194 was also held by Charles Coventry.

Since I started understanding cricket, that is to say when I came to my senses as a child, Sachin has always been there to watch in almost every match. I wonder how it will feel when he retires. I strongly wish that he plays the next ODI world cup in 2011 and wins it for India. Sachin Tendulkar is an inspiration. Keep going Sachin!

Lalit Modi’s IPL, Google and YouTube – A paradigm shift in sports entertainment

Imagine sitting at your home and watching IPL online. Not such a new idea, some may say. But how about doing it officially? Yes! Now the entire world can watch IPL live on none other than YouTube. Doesn’t that sound cool?

On 21st Jan, 2010, the official channel of IPL on YouTube posted this video in which Lalit Modi, IPL Chairman, announced IPL’s partnership with Google and YouTube to show IPL live on YouTube.

Lalit Modi never fails to surprise us. This man has not only taken Indian cricket to the next level and made it global; he has also managed to rope in biggest technological corporations in the world to get closely associated with a new Indian religion, yes, Cricket. Without doubt, this will be a paradigm shift in how cricket is seen online.

This a win-win situation for everyone involved. IPL is no short of advertising revenue from world largest corporations producing everything from consumer goods to electrical appliances. Even large business to business brands have not shied away from branding activities with IPL. But all this was yet offline. This is not to say that nothing was happening online, but surely not on this scale. The world is changing fast and some leaders are helping it shape in the most enticing and fascinating way, Modi is one of them.

Actually, if we look at it, it is only a rational move from a revenue expansion perspective. IPL is surely a high interest event. Offline, it receives a significantly large amount of ad spend. Google is world online advertising engine. IPL could not have found a better platform than Google and YouTube to go online. Those who were questioning Google move to acquire YouTube, as for a long time, the idea hadn’t reached breakeven, can now comfortably forget what they said. Not to suggest that IPL will set everything right with YouTube, but imagine the range of opportunities such as business move opens up for search giant Google. 

Let us not forget, that this may never happened if the Indian consumer was not cricket hungry. Cricket mania has long left its safe shores of suit-tied Englishmen clapping at a boundary and sipping imported tea, it has become the fastest growing sports economy in the east. 10 years before, no one could have imagined that cricket would be a multibillion dollar economy and players from all over the world would be auctioned at outrageous prices by who’s who of India ranging from Bollywood superstar to heads of business empires to publishers. But Lalit Modi led this revolution. I wouldn’t forget to mention that Subhash Chandra’s ICL was an earlier bet that got killed in the competition.

After all, religion (cricket) is a profitable business!

I would waste time in reiterating the features this new idea will offer. At www.youtube.com/ipl, we will be able to watch not just the live feed, but also a fun feed. There will be archives or all the games. More creative lots will be able to build content around these videos and also from the videos. Indeed, you can generate your own videos of highlights, wickets, catches, funny moments, arguments, bad decisions and what have you! All of these can be linked with Personal Blogs, Twitter Accounts, Facebook Pages and a whole gamut of content aggregation sites.

On the flip side, this will also need bandwidth and there will be much load on servers. Nothing to worry about in India as people will always have an option to watch it on TV and then play with the content online.

There will be another set of cricket fans outside India who must be elated with the idea. I remember watching most matches of cricket online when I was attending business school in the US. At Thunderbird, we all used to find live feeds from wherever we could and watch the match online. The feeds were intermittent, of low quality and in most cases, illegal. This issue is now solved. Indians abroad will be able to watch it all on YouTube. Relieved!

Last but not least, I remember Thomas Friedman’s ideas from The World is Flat. I would like to add one more flattener to his list. YouTube! This is how one democratizes entertainment.

Microsoft and Yahoo!, do you have an answer?