It Could Happen to You

The IPL bad luck

Calling the IPL jinxed because so many of its owners are in trouble is the worst thing we can do to cricket and to ourselves.

 |  It Could Happen to You  |  3-minute read |   19-07-2015
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I have no interest in the IPL. Nor its owners. But I do have a problem if the Indian Premier League has to battle the “bad luck” label. That seems to be the new trend. A popular daily called the IPL “star-crossed” and team owners “hit by bad luck,” on the front page recently.

It’s not new. I checked out. Ever since IPL started in 2008, phrases like, “luck is not favouring,” “bad luck for so-and-so team,” “what bad luck,” “Just bad luck” have been part and parcel of commentaries on the media: both mainstream as well as social media. That could be because of the Twenty20 format, as Vineet Jindal writes in a piece in ESPNcricinfo: “The more you shorten the game, the more it hinges on a few events - most of them can be pure luck.”

But does that mean, IPL owners can also be victims of the IPL “luck” factor, even in their personal life? We are given examples of Vijay Mallya, Subrata Roy, Venkattram Reddy, the Maran brothers, Lalit Modi, Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta, N Srinivasan—all of whom are either in jail or in trouble. Ergo: the IPL is jinxed.

The point is, all these people are in trouble not because they are with IPL but because they have too much money. And people with too much money are invariably risk-takers. They climb the ladder faster, make more money, and become comfortable with risky pursuits. Richard Branson, the Virgin Group founder who has often been labelled lucky in business, writes in his The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership: “Those people and businesses that are generally considered fortunate or luckier than others are usually also the ones that are prepared to take the greatest risks and, by association, are also prepared to fall flat on their faces every so often.”

All of the IPL owners, who now seem to have fallen flat on their face, have played their game their way for a long time. Why should their luck be in question now? Those who live by the sword die by it, too.

My other issue is that, in this land of superstition, we see “bad luck” in everything. If someone calls you when you are about to leave the house, it’s “bad luck.” If a black cat crosses your path, it’s “bad luck”. Giving an even sum of money as gift is “bad luck”. If a mirror cracks, it’s “bad luck”. A twitchy left eye is “bad luck”. If someone sneezes before you leave, it’s “bad luck”. Number 13 is “bad luck”. Giving a hanky as a gift is “bad luck”. Cutting nails and hair on Saturdays is “bad luck”. Any good deed on Tuesdays and Saturdays is “bad luck”.

It’s not funny, if you consider how many more “bad luck” burdens women have to bear: sleeping without tying your hair is bad luck. So is coming across a widow or going to the temple if you are menstruating. A woman without children brings “bad luck.” Between 2000 and 2012, over 2,097 women have been murdered for being a “witch,” says The National Crime Records Bureau—all because they apparently brought “bad luck” to their village.

Please, can we not add another “bad luck” to this long list and let a sport be a sport?


Damayanti Datta Damayanti Datta @dattadamayanti

The writer is Executive Editor, India Today.

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