Leading article: Sticky wicket

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The Independent Online

In its 250-year history, cricket has never witnessed a spectacle like it: acrobats, cheerleaders, £100,000-a-week player fees, 55,000 roaring spectators, "franchises". The launch of Indian Premier League cricket in Bangalore yesterday with a match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Bangalore Royal Challengers has been described by organisers as an exciting new departure for the game. Others see it as cricket's final, abject surrender to the forces of commercialism.

There is little point fulminating against the march of history, particularly when cricket's new powerhouse, India, is determined to have its way. But one does not have to be John Major in wistful mood to lament the increasing dissociation of the game from rain delays, deck chairs and cable-knit sweaters. Yet if that world is truly destined to go gentle into the good night, let us at least raise a cup of tea and muster a polite round of applause to mark its passing.

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