The Indian Premier League (IPL) begins its ninth season on Saturday. Its journey tells us a lot about India in the past decade.
There is no doubt that IPL has been a huge hit with the public, despite sneering purists who look down upon the innovations of T20 cricket. Its financial success has been more of a mixed affair. And the IPL controversies have revealed a dark side of the show that cricket administrators would prefer us to forget—be it team ownership, betting or the lavish use of water in a drought year.
India has had a broadly similar journey. There has been rapid economic growth; the gains of this growth have been unevenly spread around while the persistence of crony capitalism has led to fears that the policy game is fixed for those who have the right political contacts. The result: credibility has taken a hit.
The new IPL season begins with hope of not just good cricket but also fewer controversies. That will be the acid test.