Thursday, February 21, 2008

IPL BCCI and the failure of cricket

The final nail in the coffin has been hit.  IPL eventually kicked off with the famed "auction" of cricket players from all over the world.  The BCCI has been trying to mastermind something similar to the soccer leagues in Europe, with the ultimate objective of centrally master minding the whole thing and making money off of a cricket crazy nation.

Millions will end up watching more cricket - that too, the really shorter version of it and now even more frequently.  Not just that, the BCCI is also betting that cricket crazy Indians are just that "Cricket crazy" and Indians next.  At some level it takes the fun out of the game - who do you cheer for?  what is the optimal grouping rule here? 

I cheer for Penn State against Ohio State; I cheer for UNC against Duke; I cheer for AC Milan against Real Madrid; for Argentina against England;for India against Pakistan and finally (now) for Pakistan against Australia!  I am not sure how the Indian cricket psyche works - will a Jaipurian cheer for Ponting against Khaif? I am not sure! In fact, I don;t think I can answer that question. Because, I always though to cricket as a game that flames nationalist passions and that is why it was so hugely popular in India.  Now, the rules of the game are different.  I don't believe that BCCI has got the pulse of the nation right!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Beware Accord and Camry!

I dislike its "cheesy" ads on TV.  I am not a big fan of its marquee either.  However, I do trust the engineering team that delivered the Corvette!  So, here's the review of the all new 2008 Chevy Malibu on NY Times.  The article makes several references to my own car -  the Aura, and understandably so.  The Aura, made under the Saturn name, has a lot in common with the Malibu. Where the Aura tries to be a sporty Euro-style sedan, and does well, the Malibu aspires to be a Accord and Camry killer -  be a comfy, quiet family sedan, and I guess does it well!

I have been driving the Aura for over a year now - and I can only say I have been more than happy.  The car is quiet, is phenomenal at interstate speeds and gives me an amazing 30-32 mpg on the highway.

I have always maintained one thing!  With size comes additional problems.  While GM has been struggling with those and is trying to reinvent itself, Toyota has silently got into a phase where it will begin to face its own demons - those that GM is trying to exorcise and come clean!  If there is anything that will make Toyota falter, it will be a combination of a rejuvenated GM and Toyota's own follies with its botched entry into the SUV/truck market and its size. 

Secondly, the future auto-markets are in Brazil, China and India, where GM enjoys a wide lead in engineering and marketing presence.  Issues such as these will determine the winner of the 21st century's auto wars.

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