The IPL is literally the only thing happening in world cricket right now. Everything else stops and the world watches as the game’s best players bask in the Indian floodlights.
Of course, that is not entirely true. Domestic leagues all over the world are happening. Pick up games on baseball fields in Minnesota or back alleys in Colombo are happening. Everywhere, all the time, people are playing cricket. Men, women, children. In South Africa and Zimbabwe and Nepal and Ireland and Australia. From the southern coast of Hobart all the way up to the Scottish highlands. Cricket.
Right now. Just now. As you read this. Someone, somewhere, was bowled.
The IPL commands the spotlight, of course. But the great part about cricket is that it’s a global game, beloved by so many billions. It’s an old game, an ancient game, some might say a dying game, but we are all everyone of us dying, and cricket’s age gives its globalism. Over the decades and centuries, thanks to an empire built on tea and ships and bravado, it spread to the very tips of the world. And in that spreading bound us together. I am typing this right now in a brick walk up next to a bakery in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, it’s dark and cold and wind driven. And someone else is waking up in Mumbai right now, the day dawning rippled with heat and humidity, and they are flipping open their laptop, logging onto Cricinfo, and wondering what they are going to write about that day.
What connects us? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Except cricket. We exist on different ends of this big old world, and yet we are tied together by this silly little bat and ball game.
The IPL might not be everyone’s cup of team, and some — or many — might bemoan the stranglehold it has on the cricketing calendar, but the IPL, like all cricket, is a reminder of how big the game is, and how loved it is, and how its age and the ties it binds its fans together with make it strong, and will continue to make it strong. People the world over stop and watch the IPL, a sign of cricket’s power, and that fact should make that tea easier for some to swallow, bitter thought it may be, because that is a sign that cricket, despite how old and tired it is, is very much alive, and even thriving.
In a world that is so connected it’s disconnected, cricket connects us. And I think that’s pretty special.