Telford Vice: Wrinklies rebel as IPL comes to town

Telford Vice with the first of his weekly IPL blogs as the tournament hits South Africa.

Do not assume that all South Africans are chuffed that the Incredible Pyrotechnic Loudness (IPL) has catapulted itself into their midst.

The front page lead in this week’s edition of the august and venerable Rosebank Killarney Gazette (OK, it’s a sour little Jo’burg knock-and-drop) told us the truth: “Stadium chaos looms.” Damn straight.

An inspired piece of fish-wrap, the “story” exclusively revealed that the residents of several apartment blocks near the Wanderers – a teeming colony of the wealthily retired – have had their jowls set aquiver with wrinkly rage.

They’ve long accepted that the serenity of their summer nights will be ruined by floodlit raucousness, and they’re well used to every square inch of their pavements being annexed for parking during big matches.

But they thought the season would be over after Friday’s ODI between South Africa and Australia. Suddenly the poor affluent things face another eight day-nights of their dentures dancing to the thumping music in a glass on the bedside table. Something must be done.

In the IPL offices at the Wanderers, nothing discernible was being done as the days to blast-off melted away. “Umm …,” was the first response to an enquiry about accreditation. “Is that media accreditation or company accreditation?”

Couldn’t resist: “Media company accreditation.”

A pause.

“Umm …,” she said.

After owning up to impersonating a reporter, I was stared at vacuously. Then she blinked. Ummbelievable.

Verily, South Africans are either indifferent or enchanted at the prospect of Bollywood and its cricketing sidekicks coming to town.

Durban’s large living Asian community can hardly wait to pack Kingsmead to the pylons. Some are consulting the family griot to pinpoint their mother country roots before they pledge their allegiance to a particular team.

That means we can look forward to the traditional boiling over of tensions on the embankment beyond the north-east boundary. Samosas at five paces, like kung-fu stars, and all.

Tickets are also going fast in Cape Town, where Shilpa Shetty, the Rajasthan Royals’ designated diva, has starred in television sports bulletins to deliver a masterclass in multi-tasking. Breathlessly poised in front of a fleet of yachts bobbing suggestively at their moorings, she preened furiously while waxing fantastic about the magical marriage between movies and cricket that makes the IPL a gift from the gods.

Stand by for what Capetonians themselves think … Capetonians? Think?

Telford Vice is a freelance cricket writer in South Africa who writes regularly for The Wisden Cricketer

This entry was posted in IPL, South Africa and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Telford Vice: Wrinklies rebel as IPL comes to town

  1. Andrew Hughes says:

    Looking forward to all of the excellent betting opportunities that IPL 2009 offers.

    Read more at: http://thetwenty20punter.blogspot.com

  2. D Charlton says:

    Loving it Telford – saying it how it is. Keep it up for us stuck in UK’s April showers please.

  3. Andrew Hughes says:

    The thing about Twenty20 is that you only have a limited time to strut your stuff, to show what you can do, to justify the time and money that has been lavished on feeding, housing and entertaining you. It would be all to easy to write-off these performers as shaggy-haired or mongrels of dubious pedigree performing tricks for whichever owner rewards them most.

    So credit to the undoubted star of IPL Day One who gave such prolonged entertainment to the Cape Town crowd. In an energetic show, he covered every blade of grass, showing the kind of fitness and eagerness in the field required to excel at Twenty20. His reluctance to leave the field may yet mean he loses some of his match feed but that can be forgiven as the exhuberance of long-haired youth.

    The rest of the opening day was a bit of an anti-climax. Unfortunately Setanta’s live coverage of the cheerleaders was too often interrupted by some nonsense involving a bat and a ball. The commentators too were inhibited from reading out their lists of adverts by the necessity of describing what was occurring on the field. And Ravi Shastri’s stand-up routine was sadly cut-short by a chap with a coin.

    Still, there’s time for things to pick up. I’m particularly looking forward to Yuvraj the Poodle on Day Two. I think he is a shoe-in for Best in Show.

    http://googliesandjollies.blogspot.com/

  4. Andrew Hughes says:

    The IPL is not just a demanding event for players. It presents the ultimate challenge for commentators too. If a Test match is a gentle Sunday morning jog around your local park, the IPL is a gruelling marathon across a military assault course, complete with crocodile pits and nine foot high obstacles.

    Test match commentators are allowed to wax lyrical, to speculate, to fall asleep, even to snore occasionally. There is no such respite for your IPL microphone jockey. They are given a script and at regular intervals, prodded by the muzzles of the rifles wielded by the Lalit Modi Revenue Maximisation Squad, must correctly acknowledge certain benevolent corporate bodies.

    This coercion has taken its toll on the minds of those held captive in the commentary booth. Sunil Gavaskar is no longer able to screw in a light bulb without declaring it a Citi moment of success. Mark Nicholas involuntary greets the popping of his toaster with the words, “DLF Maximum!” And Ravi Shastri wakes up screaming in the middle of the night from a dream in which he forgot to read out the list of tournament sponsors.

    Perhaps the cruellest ordeal of all for these prisoners is that they are not allowed to tell the truth about a particularly hideous piece of merchandise that regularly appears on our screens. No, not Kevin Pietersen; I’m referring to the IPL Trophy.

    When I first saw it, I assumed it was a homage to the IPL prepared by some Cape Town schoolchildren using plastic cups, pipe cleaners and glitter pens. But no, it is the reward for winning the richest tournament in cricket. Apparently it is covered in diamonds. Rarely can so much money have been spent to such little effect (and I include Surrey’s signing of Shoaib Akhtar).

    And yet, presented with an image of this monstrosity, Robin Jackman is not allowed to point out that it is the tackiest piece of decoration you are likely to see outside of David Beckham’s third living room. Nor can Greg Blewett politely suggest that it might have been better if they’d simply piled the diamonds up on a silver plate. Instead, they must show due deference and declare it a stunning piece of trophyware.

    Truly, we should feel their pain and give thanks that they have sacrificed their commentating careers for the good of the IPL.

    http://googliesandjollies.blogspot.com