The IPL extravaganza looks set to move to South Africa,with barely a reproving glance for its own country. India has been sized up and found wanting by the BCCI. What was a small scheduling problem has been blown up to dramatic dimensions,because of the swollen egos of our cricket administrators and their all-or-nothing gambits.
The question is not whether the Indian Premier League should play out in some corner of a foreign field taking it out of India could indeed be a chance to imprint the game on global consciousness. The issue is not the IPL brand,or even cricket,but the India brand. Four states had acknowledged their problems hosting the games on the exact days that the IPL demanded. By refusing to accommodate even a tiny bit and reschedule the matches around the entirely expected Indian election (whether out of ego or their own contractual obligations),the IPL establishment has fostered the impression that India is simply incapable of chewing gum and walking a straight line ensuring security for the cricket matches and conducting its general election. Meanwhile,South Africa has offered the League safe haven,despite the fact that it too is heading for polls in April.
So whats the takeaway for the international audience? That the IPL is too hot for India to handle,for all its emerging power pretensions. Providing security is,after all,the ancient raison detre of a state,above all else. In the words of a bitter Indian cricket fan,Should all Indian citizens migrate en masse to England and South Africa since the state cannot provide us security? And even reasonable voices have read the incident as the Indian states failure to keep up appearances. Maybe we should just flop down and admit our abject failure. After all,even the Indian Parliament isnt impregnable why dont we just shift our sessions to the House of Commons? The Lok Sabha channel can beam back the deliberations. Indian movie stars,we know are hot stuff everywhere lets just move the entire industry abroad so that better equipped,more responsible countries can bask in their aura. India can watch it all on television. We dont deserve better,if the BCCI is to be believed.