An Ode to Cricket: Why I Love IPL Season
By Ruku Taneja
Indian Premier League fever is in the air and I don’t know about you, but I am infected. From skipping out on dinner with non-cricket watchers to ditching my trainer in favour of squats next to the TV — my love for the game is intense and I intend to spread it.
Cricket and I go way back; fifteen years ago, when India defeated England in the Natwest final, I, too, took off my top and swung it in the air along with captain Sourav Ganguly. (My brothers are still going to therapy for that, but never mind them.) I even played street cricket with all the other kids (boys) in my building, regardless of being picked last, because there is and was no shame in my cricket-loving-game.
But it doesn’t have to be destiny for you, like it was for me. This piece is not an ode to my cricket glory days, but an ode to cricket itself. Hence, here are the top reasons why I love cricket, why I love IPL season — and why you should, too.
Why you should love watching IPL cricket
It will feed your love of drama, drama, drama.
You think Desperate Housewives is dramatic? Girl, please. Cricket players accomplish in two hours what those women can’t manage to do in 12 seasons: defeat a rival in an intense battle in which legends are born and souls are crushed. Sound dramatic? Well, it is. T20, IPL’s short format of the game, means you just can’t help but have a lot of nail-biting run chases between teams, because everyone is desperate to win and no one is a housewife. (See what I did there?) What I am trying to say is: Why watch a scripted soap opera when you can watch a drama ensue live?
It will allow us to agree on something when we don’t agree on anything.
Look, I might not agree that Raj is really the best boyfriend for you [Ed. note: If his name is Raj, you probably deserve better], but we can agree that watching Virat Kohli run around and get his boss on is more of a turn on than 50 Shades of Grey. We can also cheers to that at the buzzing bar next door where an entire nation is ordering Kingfishers, win or lose. T20 lets you focus on what you have in common, and disguise your differences behind team rivalries. And isn’t that a healthier way of dealing with conflict than freezing someone out?
It will let you hone your sexy multitasking skills without exhausting you.
Following T20 is like having casual sex: You don’t have to pay too much attention to what’s really going on. (Which is, incidentally, why I enjoy both so much.) There’s not a lot demanded of the viewer beyond just hanging in there and watching out for balls. The game understands the importance of tea breaks, drinks breaks and random commentary breaks, so that you can file your nails, write an email, do some yoga and continue pointing out how Raj’s terms of endearment are actually creepy. (Jaanu? Really?)
It will give you bragging rights over your cousin in Delhi.
I don’t know about you, but to me, rubbing Mumbai’s (my home team’s) victory in a Delhi person’s face is just what sweet dreams are made of. City rivalries are fierce in India and they are just amplified with an addition of a sport. Basically, the IPL can be just another excuse for you to go on about why your city is the best, and who doesn’t love a little bit of that?
OK, OK, for anyone less petty than me, there’s also the beauty of watching an entire team work toward a common goal, complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and share the woes and throes of defeat and victory. It’s a more exciting version of #squadgoals (sorry/not sorry, Taylor Swift).
It’s a gentleman’s sport.
Men — about 20, really fit, hunky and sweaty men –- running all over your screen, arms and glutes pumping. The least you can do for woman-and-gay-mankind is cheer that on. Also, Brett Lee in the commentary box. That man is a delight. And if that’s not enough motivation, then there are also fantastic hair statements that need your immediate attention. Case in point: slinga Malinga.
In conclusion: high drama, zero violence, friendly rivalry and friendlier bonding make IPL cricket quality entertainment for all red-blooded women. If you love screaming directions at the TV — Hit that six, Dhoni! Also, don’t cheat on your husband with the gardener again, Gabrielle! (See, you can be a fan of cricket and Desperate Housewives, too) — as much as I do and need an excuse to take your top off, choose your team and get your IPL game face on.