States, Market and Cricket: The Political Economy of Globalization in India

Published date01 June 2014
Date01 June 2014
Subject MatterArticles
Avipsu Halder is Assistant Professor in Asutosh College, Kolkata. E-mail:
States, Market
and Cricket: The
Political Economy
of Globalization
in India
Avipsu Halder
The article unravels the globalizing process in the context of cricket
in India. It traces the process of the game’s diffusion from the colo-
nial period to the liberalized era. In the colonial context, it demon-
strates the role of the state apparatus in facilitating this end. Although
the involvement of the imperial state was indirect, it is hard to rule out
their enthusiasm in spreading the game. The article deals with these
aspects in its first section. The following section delves into the role of
the market forces in globalizing the game. In this case, greater emphasis
is placed on issues related to financing and broadcasting of the game in
the country. The article substantiates these claims by referring to the
broadcasting disputes of the Hero Cup and the India–Pakistan series
of 2004. It also narrates some of the politico-economic issues related
to the Indian Premier League (IPL). The article contends that the state
retains its significance despite the increasing interdependence between
itself and other non-state entities in the globalized scenario.
Cricket, India, colonialism, globalization, commercialization
Globalization refers to the increasing intensity of interconnectedness
among different parts of the globe in a manner that events occurring in one
part of the world have an impact on other parts (Giddens 2009). The global
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
18(1) 63–83
2014 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
Los Angeles, London,
New Delhi, Singapore,
Washington DC
DOI: 10.1177/0973598414552747
64 Avipsu Halder
Jadavpur Journal of International Relations, 18, 1 (2014): 63–83
era has witnessed the emergence of non-state and private players alongside
state actors (Keohane and Nye 2001). However, division of opinion exists
regarding its definition. In this context, it is worthwhile to explore the view-
points of the dominant schools of thought in the literature on globalization.
The schools are categorized as: hyperglobalists, skeptics and transforma-
tionalists (Held et al. 1999). The hyperglobalists (Friedman 1999; Ohmae
1990, 1995) envisage that globalization has led to the subordination of the
states to the integrating forces of the world economy. The skeptics repu-
diate the argument that globalization has resulted in the demise of the
nation-state. On the contrary, they underline the centrality of states in car-
rying out the global economic negotiations (Hirst and Thompson 1996).
Finally, the transformationalists adopt a middle position between these con-
trasting arguments. This school of thought recognizes the relative impor-
tance of both states and the private forces (Held et al. 1999). These diverse
viewpoints lay the foundation for numerous questions. Is the globalizing
phenomenon a contemporary one? Or, is it pertinent to trace its origin
during the colonial era? Who are the prime drivers of the process—states or
markets? The article aspires to answer these queries by tracing the theoreti-
cal underpinnings of globalization in the context of Indian cricket.
It undertakes two important tasks to substantiate its claim. First, it
explores the initial phase of the diffusion of the game during the colonial
period. Second, it reflects on the impact of the twin forces of the com-
munication technology and market forces in the globalizing game of
cricket in India. In this context, the article takes recourse to analyze the
broadcasting of international cricketing matches (Majumdar 2004;
Mehta 2010) and the Indian Premier League (IPL) (Gupta 2010). These
cases encapsulate the political economy of globalization. As a concept,
international political economy (IPE) revolves around two major
players—states and markets. The second section of the article proposes
to study their operational dynamics in the domain of Indian cricket.
Globalization as Colonialism? Cricket
and the British Empire
In this section, it is argued that the globalizing phenomenon in cricket
took off during the colonial era. The British colonies had the opportunity
to receive the initial experiences of the game (Allen 2009; Guttmann

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