Sambit Bal may be right that this is a scandal the IPL needed. It certainly brings fans face-to-face with the tangled reality of their amusement, based as it is on a self-seeking, self-perpetuating commercial oligarchy issued licenses to exploit cricket as they please. Whether the fans care is another matter: one of the reasons Indians have embraced economic liberalisation so fervently is a shoulder-shrugging resignation about the efficiency and integrity of their institutions. Given the choice between Lalit Modi, with his snappy suits and his 'Indian People's League', and the BCCI, stuffed with grandstanding politicians and crony capitalists, where would your loyalties lie?
The schedules are crammed with shows urging us to travel further, drive faster, build bigger, buy more, yet none of them are deemed to offend the rules, which really means that they don't offend the interests of business or the pampered sensibilities of the Aga class. The media, driven by fear and advertising, are hopelessly biased towards the consumer economy and against the biosphere.
[I]f Modi toast, it will in one sense be a tremendous pity. In his way, he represents a third generation in cricket's governance. For a hundred years and more, cricket was run by administrators, who essentially maintained the game without going out of their way to develop it. More recently it has been run by managers, with just an ounce or two of strategic thought. Modi was neither; he was instead a genuine entrepreneur. He has as much feeling for cricket as Madonna has for madrigals, but perhaps, because he came from outside cricket's traditional bureaucratic circles, he brought a vision and a common touch unexampled since Kerry Packer.