Posted by : Amitha Amarasinghe Monday, June 2, 2008

When New Zealander umpire Billy Bowden called “Challoo, Challoo” (Go! Go!) at the beginning of the final game of inaugural IPL T20 tournament, it was not only a remarkable moment for the Indian cricket lovers, but also was an ironic hint about where the world economy is heading towards, in the 21st century. Billy’s call for “Challo Challo” on an Indian venue was only a monumental incident. There’s something serious buried beneath it. India is slowly gaining the driving seat of world economy in the 21st century. And they will dictate the rest of the world “Challo Challo!”

IPL is just a one facet of it. They have found the formula of making money out of almost anything! Just like the way the Americans started to do it at the turn of the 20th century.

It wasn’t a long time ago some subcontinent cricketers were penalized by the ICC, for speaking to native umpires in their local languages (Especially in the games against England). English remained to be predominantly the official language of the classic English game of cricket. And, England remained to be the richest country in the cricketing community, for last two centuries. But it wasn’t to be the case in the 21st century!

Just about a one year ago, ICC made a total financial failure out of a World Cup cricket tournament featuring 18 world nations. Today, India has shown to the ICC and the world about how to create profit out of cricket (And, only with the local version of it).

Indians have clearly found a formula of monetizing almost everything. Who would ever thought at ICC, that a local cricket tournament could outdo a World Cup, in financial terms? India is clearly on the right track. Think about the number of Indian entrepreneurs reached the top of the list of the world’s richest men, during last two decades. Think about their thriving Indian entertainment industry, which outsell even Hollywood productions, all across the Asian continent and reaching even the Middle East.

IPL will soon turn out to be the Super Bowl of India. And Lalit Modi will become a household name, at least in all cricket playing nations. For some players IPL would open the doors to the stardom in almost no time. For several other Indian entrepreneurs, IPL would turn out to be a gold mine, to dig their fortune. I was listening to Lalit Modi speaking to CNN’s Talk Asia, when he told that “an average IPL player could earn in a one season of IPL, as much as money he could earn by playing international cricket for five years”. (But the flip side is, you got to play international cricket so regularly, to build a demand for you to be in the IPL.). When money starts to move around, everything else starts to move all over. Indian economy is slowly gaining the economic leadership of the 21st century, and the Americans had been warned.

If someone is wondering why I haven’t taken China into this equation; please note that I wanted to comment on this, mainly from the angle of a capitalistic point of view. China is thriving in the world economy too, but with completely a different model than in India (And that model seems working too). Indians seems to believe in “personal success leads the way for a nation’s success” cliché, which I believe is more capitalistic.

Recommended Reading: The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

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