My earliest cricketing memory is when in ‘92, some of my family members went crazy and I couldn’t understand what had actually happened. I finally understood that in ’96 when, after losing to India in the World Cup quarterfinal, everybody was heartbroken. And in ‘99, I cried, myself, when we lost the final to Australia.

The sweetest of my memories are also associated with cricket.  But I wonder how the kids of today will remember cricket in the future.  Probably like this: “I went to watch a cricket match with my dad. It was fun, women were jumping all over with very less clothes, my dad took lot of photographs of those ladies, and there were fireworks too, and yes, Shahrukh and Preity Zinta... oh my God!” They will remember everything but cricket. By the time our kids would grow up, we might see cricket matches in a theatre with four item numbers.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has successfully transformed cricket into a complete circus, and their marketing team feels no shame in calling a cricketing event “entertainment, entertainment and entertainment” or “entertainment ka baap” or whatever. The recent edition is beyond bearable: even the pre-match analysis show starts with half-naked cheerleaders dancing. The match promos too have the dancing figures, and everybody loves to dance even during the match. A gentleman’s game? Not any more, I guess.

IPL has – or I must say had – its own advantages but excessive marketing is overshadowing the positives by far. There is no better stage for upcoming cricketers to learn to cope with the pressures of competition, than the IPL but endorsing like a dozen brands does not seem to be a good idea. If players will get played into the hands of marketing agencies even before they enter their true battlefield, the outcome would be disastrous. It will surely pervert the youngsters as their focus will tilt towards fame, and away from the game.

 A cheerleader participating in the IPL said in an interview: “There are just so many nasty men making kissy faces and taking my pictures that I tend to just block it all out”. To another question she said: “I hate the racism. Why is my team made up of 99% white girls? Why do Indians feel it's ok to dress white girls up in skimpy outfits but they won’t let their fellow Indian women do it? It's messed up”((Courtesy: schoop whoop, for full interview: http://www.scoopwhoop.com/inothernews/ipl-cheerleader-confessions/)

It’s shameful, and yes quite messed up, too. Those “gentlemen” who ranked this game high in sophistication must be tossing and turning in their graves on every move of these “ladies”. 

If the BCCI is so powerful, why is it not contributing to the overall wellbeing of cricket? Ethically, the ICC – or shall we say the BCCI – should have taken countries like Ireland and Zimbabwe into account, who have so much potential but nobody bothers about them before the World Cup. Moreover, there are a myriad of other areas which need the utmost attention of the apex cricketing administration but it seems, instead, to be more interested in converting cricketing stars into multipurpose hoarding boards.

At this pace cricket will eventually lose it grace and fire. We as cricket fans would dearly love to see the ICC/BCCI promoting the image of cricket internationally and spreading the game to other countries but the trend IPL has set, followed by other boards, envisages a bleak future of cricket.

Dear organizers of IPL, we have no doubts in the enormity of your “festival” but to see dances, we have dance shows. For gimmicks, we have the circus. For entertainment, we have movies. So being the “big brother” of cricketing nations, please show some grace, because flashing “naked legs” is not cricket.