Sunday, May 25, 2008

McGrath on one of the defining moments in IPL

In a guest column for The Week, Glenn McGrath says:

For me, the defining moment of the DLF Indian Premier League was at the Eden Gardens on May 13, when Kolkata Knight Riders bowler Shoaib Akhtar dismissed Delhi Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag. The cheer around the stadium was deafening even though an Indian batsman had just got out to a Pakistani bowler. In April, I had written that it will take city loyalties a bit of time to take root in the IPL circuit, but it has happened sooner than anybody imagined, and the sight at Eden Gardens encapsulated the intensity of these loyalties. Country affiliations have been suspended for a bit, and right now I am as much of a Dilliwala as Viru!

I'm sure this thought -- about a very partisan Indian audience (remember World Cup semis in 1996?) cheering a Pakistani bowler against one of our own -- has occurred to a lot of us. But it's still nice to see it articulated in print.

* * *

Following Badri (one of the founders of, I too have a confession to make: I'm hooked on IPL! While the Bangalore Royal Challengers haven't done much to cheer us, the other team we are rooting for -- the one from the very hot Chennai with a very cool captain -- is still in the race to reach the semis. My inner Chennaiyan will be rooting for Rajasthan Royals against the Mumbai team tomorrow. I know it's shady to wish for someone else's downfall so your favorite gets ahead, but I figured, all's fair in war and cricket ...

* * *

Update: Rahul Basu has a post about the Royals vs. Super Kings match he went to in Chennai, where the fans tend to be significantly less partisan (I still remember the time -- several years ago -- when they cheered the Pakistani team celebrating a comprehensive win over India with a victory lap!). When Rahul says (see his comment below) the fans had a good time despite the Chennai Super Kings's loss, it's consistent with the Chennai fans' past behaviour.


  1. Pratik . said...

    Yeah, that truly was a defining moment. Yet, there was another "defining"(?) moment, that, as an Indian, I am ashamed of - that of two cheerleaders being thrown out of the stadium in an IPL match. That was racism at its worst, and showed the entire world in what sort of mentality so many Indians live with.

  2. Rahul Basu said...

    Well, I saw the Chennai vs. Jaipur match at the stadium - and even though Chennai lost, we all had fun. See my post on this.

  3. Anonymous said...

    You are hooked to IPL, you do a lot of intelligent blogging, when do you do research? I bet you force your students to work like slaves.

  4. Anant said...

    Pratik: what do you mean ``... Indians live with''? We are like that only...

  5. Abi said...

    Rahul B: Thanks for that post about the Super Kings vs. Royals match. That was a great one, wasn't it? I have added a link to your post in an update.

    Anon: I see that you really are great at picking such safe bets. You win!

    And thanks for that comment about "intelligent blogging"!

    Pratik: Yes, that was one of the sadder stories of this year's IPL. I just hope the company that did this to the cheerleaders will be punished.

    I would also echo Anant's words. Also, see this post that connects Indians' obsession with skin colour with their racism. Make sure you read the last paragraph ... :-(