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The Indian Premier League (IPL) is, by all accounts, a resounding success. Viewership is high, most of the grounds are packed and the cricket looks serious enough. The owners are not yet laughing all the way to the bank but they have started chortling at the sight of ATMs. The impact of the new league is far reaching not just on cricket and the way it is played, run and enjoyed but indeed on the way the market and the forces it unleashes can change the way we lead our lives.

And yet, this is a success that needs to be set in a larger context. Given our obsessive immersion in today and our growing inability to imagine how time shapes, builds and erodes things, we tend to confuse the conditionally transient with the inevitably permanent. (As an aside, remember how the BCCI petulantly told Shah Rukh Khan off for using cricket to promote himself? The shoe has clearly changed feet, but no one remembers.)

For a new format to be declared successful, we need a few years to pass. It is worth remembering that while Kerry Packer transformed cricket, the format he promoted (World Series Cricket, not too different from the IPL) began gloriously and died quickly.

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