Saturday, January 08, 2011

Awful terminologies used in IPL

IPL-4 is back with a bang. With the new rounds of "auctions" over, there is a need to ponder over the terms used to describe the transactions between the franchisees and players. In a previous post too, I have expressed concern over wrong or harsh terms being used to describe such transactions. In today's politically correct world, if I were to call an African-American a Negro I am bound to face the boos of the people. Coming closer to home, if I were to abuse a Dalit, I can be prosecuted. You cannot call people "disabled" but have to call them "differently abled". There would be a huge hue and cry in newspapers if the older terms are used.

And that is why I am surprised, about the continuing usage of inappropriate terms in the IPL. First of all, the formation of teams, is termed an "auction" and team owners have to "bid" for each player. The dictionary meaning of auction is "a public sale in which properties or items of merchandise are sold to the highest bidder". Now, are our revered players property or items of merchandise? In the olden days, when European colonialism was spreading its wings, they used to buy and sell slaves, especially native Africans in an auction, which used to be held in a public square. The winner of the auction used to then own these slaves who then had to behave as per their master's wishes. Do we want to project our players in this manner? That they are owned by the likes of Shilpa Shetty, Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, etc.!!

Now, look at the news that describes the outcomes of the "auction". Times of India reports:
Shah Rukh Khan was not present in person but his Kolkata Knight Riders, which had been reduced to an also-ran in the last two seasons, proved to be the big spender of the day by also buying hard-hitting all-rounders Yusuf Pathan (Rs 9.66 crore) and Jacques Kallis (Rs 5.06 crore) for the fourth edition of event to be held from April 8 to May 20.
Note those words in bold. Players were "bought" like pieces of artwork or antiques, to be displayed on the field and used to earn more money!! And, there were a few players "unsold" because none were interested in "buying" them.
But there were some surprise names in the unsold list with former India and KKR captain Sourav Ganguly, West Indies batting star Chris Gayle and the legendary Brian Lara failing to find a buyer. reports
Gautam Gambhir was sold for the highest price with Kolkata Knight Riders signing him for a massive $2.4 million.
And many more reports from the media might have reported the IPL "auctions" in a very similar manner. We continue to devour the IPL news without giving a second's thought to the terminology used. We, who worship Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V. V. S. Lakshman and many other cricketers, do not feel uncomfortable about them being "bought" or remaining "unsold". 

Softer terms can be used to describe the above transactions. Even the football leagues in Europe use such terminologies. E.g., a player is not bought but is signed on by a team. Similarly, a team doesn't sell a player, but he is transferred. And a player needn't be unsold but he can remain unsigned by any of the franchisees. This helps maintain the dignity of the profession and also stresses the fact that the players are anyone's slaves but have made available their talent to a particular franchisee at their own will. The auction itself needs to be redefined. Currently, I cannot find an appropriate word to replace it, but readers would be of great help, if they can help me find one.

These are finer nuances of the language, which if implemented convey a completely different meaning of the entire process. Remember Michaelangelo said, "Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle". That is how it is any language. But is there anybody listening? Are we concerned only about the sixers that will be rained in the IPL or also about whether the dignity of the cricket profession and the game is maintained?
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