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BW Businessworld

Caught Behind The Wicket

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If the Indian Premier League is all about big money, big players, big stars and big industrialists getting on to the field together, how can the controversies it strikes be small? Sports journalist Abhishek Dubey tracks the big events in The IPL Story, giving a ring-side view of all that happened in theatre IPL. Quoting copiously from works of other journalists and cricketers, Dubey describes the agony of the Indian sports fan at having his pet sport spoiled by a bonsai avatar.
The story may be primarily about cricket, but author takes a look at the society at large to present the links between sociological changes in India and what eventually unfolded at the IPL. For instance, the chapter ‘Satyam and IPL — How They Flattered To Deceive' draws a few obvious parallels. Of some of the other interesting analogies is the one on succession plans of leaders where the stark contrast of an Atal-Advani situation is compared with a smooth Kumble-Dhoni transition. One interesting aspect of the book is its sense of balance. Of course, ousted IPL chief Lalit Modi consumes a lot of pages, but he is portrayed for his strengths as well as for his shortcomings. There are two things that the reader may find queer: the order of the chapters and the photographs. One cannot understand why the book has just two photographs and why, among the two, there is a snap of Lalit Modi with former India cricketer and secretary of Mumbai Cricket Association Lalchand Rajput.

Despite these misgivings, the book is an interesting attempt from a passionate sports journalist who is also a sports fan. A comment from commentator Harsha Bhogle, whom Dubey quotes in the book, sums up the frustration of the fans as well as the essence of the book: "…I fear that increasingly the language of sport is being drafted by lawyers, that the sounds of sport are arguments in tribunals".

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 11-04-2011)