So, are local loyalties more pronounced than national loyalties ?? I have put this question as my status update on Facebook, but felt it deserved some more elaboration, hence writing a few lines. The genesis of this is, of course, the IPL. As I watched the Mumbai Indians display another patchy batting performance and lose, I felt the same feeling as when India loses, but, surprisingly so, the magnitude of that feeling was higher. As a supporter, it probably pained me more to see MI lose than to see India lose. (In fact, i had raised the same issue two years ago in my cricket blog, Read it here).
Which then, bought me to the next question. A question, that I feel, is more relevant than the question above. And that is: Why do I support the Mumbai Indians in the first place ??. For starters, the team is just a franchise that happens to have my city's name in its team name. Beyond that, there is hardly anything to link them to Mumbai. Excepting, of course, that their captain is a true-blue Mumbaikar and their owners have made the city their 'karmabhoomi'. But apart from Sachin, none of the XI yesterday can claim to be a bonafide Mumbaikar (Zaheer was born near Aurangabad and has played for Baroda in the past). To put the question in another way, had this team been called 'Reliance XI' for instance, would it have received the same support at the Brabourne last weekend ? I wonder. To me, it is those six letters in the team name that stand for my city that give the team my support. In that sense, the IPL has pulled off a masterstroke by calling them 'city-based' franchises rather than 'club teams'. The dilemma would be even more pronounced next season, when, in all probability, Pune and Kochi will have hardly a couple, if any, local players in their team !! So will a Punekar or Kochiite support their teams ? They still will, because the city and its fans have been tied unextricably to this team solely by adding the city name in the team.
Till that time, here's offering more of my support to the MUMBAI Indians !!...