When it took off, the Indian Premier League (IPL) was supposed to be, among other things, about building strong city-based local identities. In other words, what the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers do to residents of those cities, the Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians were supposed to do to Delhi-ites and Bombay-ites.
But has the Royal Challengers Bangalore kissed that “strong city-based local identity” goodbye? There is no Anil Kumble in the squad for IPL-4. Rahul Dravid has been “bought out” by Rajasthan Royals. Robin Utthappa, who had been procured from Bombay, has gone off to Poona.
“Market forces” may be behind the departure of the foreign attractions in the Bangalore team—Jacques Kallis, Kevin Pietersen, Dale Steyn and Ross Taylor—and their Indian counterparts like Praveen Kumar, but the flight of topnotch “local talent” puts a big question mark on the Bangalore team’s local connect.
Maybe, this is just as it should be in a purely commercial auction; there is no place for emotion and sentiment. Maybe, in the new cosmopolitan Bangalore, it takes players from all over to represent Bangalore.
Still, does a “Bangalore team” which comprises Zaheer Khan, Saurabh Tiwary, Cheteshwar Poojara et al evoke the same “connect” with fans and followers, presuming of course there was such a connect in the first three seasons?
On the other hand, how have teams like Bombay and Madras retained a strong local component while Bangalore has squandered it lock, stock and barrel? Or does it not matter as long as Royal Challengers Bangalore serves as a vehicle to peddle “Dr” Vijay Mallya‘s booze, whether it is local or Indian Made Foreign Liquor?
Also read: What Mallya‘s team says about Mallya‘s mind