Tanay Sukumar, and Ankur Nigam, January 9, 2011
(This story is set in the future.)
December 23, 2084
“Batsmen will decide which bowlers they want to play.”
“Fielding restrictions will be decided by the highest bidder during the IPL auction.”
“Cheerleaders will be tested and then selected by Boney Tiwari, grandson of late Congressman N D Tiwari.”
These are the new additions to Indian Premier League (IPL), as its 150th edition goes underway today. It has been a remarkable journey that began with the ambitious Lalit Modi in 2008, with just eight teams, eight cities, eight million missing dollars, played once a year for 50 days, which has now become the greatest sporting event ever.
In 2084, with seventy-six teams from nations like Lesotho, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Montenegro, Somalia, we realise the mammoth development in cricket. In affectionate remembrance of Vijay Mallya, the beautiful trophy is now replaced by a 1-day-and-11-nights free stay with the top 500 Kingfisher swimsuit suitless models.
The IPL’s increasing worth over the years has allowed India to remain poor and miserable even at the approaching end of the 21st century (but the idea of “poor” and “rich” has changed, thanks to the Watching Cricket As A Profession Act, 2055).
We take a look at the glowing history of IPL and how it has changed the world since it began with ancient cheerleaders in full clothes:
2008: The first season of IPL played, within merely 40-odd days and among eight teams. Cynics frowned at the unprecedented human-trafficking of cricketers for big money. They also felt the T20 style would corrupt cricket. But Modi took it upon himself to prove that it was not the cricket going corrupt.
2019: The number of teams increased to have a team from each Indian state. The debut of the practice of awarding ten free hits to the team owned by the sexier Bollywood celebrity. Ravi Shastri suspended from commentary after he says during a match, “I think the first and last twenty overs will be extremely crucial for each team.”
2028: BCCI announces that it is the new ICC and IPL is the new World Cup, which had already died a shameful death after Bermuda Triangle beat Pakistan Non-State Actors XI in the 2027 final. International cricket becomes outlaw.
2038: BCCI bribes NASA to slow down the earth’s motion by half, so that more days could be accommodated in a year, and more hours in a day. By this time, cricket had become the life in India, instead of a sport. People were leaving jobs everywhere, and legalised betting had become the new agriculture.
2040: Telecast rights of IPL given to a new channel. It marks the dawn of an era in which cricket is being shown in between commercials. In a landmark Bill passed in the Parliament, cricketers are now allowed to wear their ad costumes on the field for live shooting, and cheerleaders are allowed to drop their clothes on every boundary hit. The dancing position of cheerleaders is set to the 30-yard circle mark, to make the battle more even between the batsman and the bowler. Billy Bowden comes out of retirement to be able to dance again at square leg.
The telecast remained a problem till 2055. The advertisements meant all that was being played was never being shown to TV viewers. Meanwhile, 2046 was the first time non-Indian teams featured in IPL. The 2040s also saw the practice of every IPL closing ceremony being immediately followed by an IPL inauguration ceremony.
2055: The telecast problem is solved as the government comes out with a social welfare scheme through an Act of Parliament which allows every Indian a bonanza prize of Rs 17 lakh cash for watching an IPL match on the ground. Number of teams becomes 47, and the game is played 400 days a year.
Cricket thus changed the life of millions of deprived Indians.
The 2070s: Over the seventies, cricket changed another important thing. Hindus and Muslims were no more the common religions. Zanzibar Zombies and Ohio Omelettes were. Atheism and agnosticism were obliterated, as everyone followed one team or the other.
IPL, today: India which was already a cricketing powerhouse by 2010, has now, in 2084, become the Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984 fame. Cricket is now the best medicine, and we’re on a permanent dose of that medicine.
As two teams clash on the ground of Mahanagar Palika Shiksha Niketan, Kanpur Dehat, tonight, somewhere in a remote town named Modinagar, an old man (God hasn’t called him yet after seeing how he cheated the cheaters of BCCI) is watching all this with a wry smile on his face. When the 76 teams will battle it out over the next week in 967 matches in this edition, no one will take notice which team wins. For, what is to be celebrated is the victory of India’s first, second and third love — cricket, cheerleaders, and corruption (not necessarily in the same order), as all 20th century and early 21st century professions find themselves non-existent now.