The IPL revolution

The IPL revolution

The second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is due to start in South Africa today.

The popular T20 league has already demolished some of the old assumptions of how the game of cricket is watched and managed. Indian cricket fans are intensely nationalist. Their primary loyalty is to the national team—at least since the Ranji Trophy became less important after the mid-1980s.

IPL is a step back into the future, with passions divided on regional lines. This is a throwback to the old days when the struggle for Ranji supremacy between Mumbai, Delhi and Karnataka led to great cricketing battles, even as IPL added more than a dash of glitz to the show.

The second innovation was in the sale of team franchises and players to investors at mind-boggling prices. The huge rise in the valuation of Rajasthan Royals suggests that the business model, too, has chances of success.

Now, the next innovation: globalization. Indian and local fans in South Africa, for example, will cheer a Chennai team led by a Jharkhand lad. An irrevocable change.

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