9th LIFE

The Economic Times - - Sports - Bo­ria Majumdar

by DD for 7 cr

Mo­hit Sharma

by KXIP for

6.5

cr

by Delhi for (Only those who have played ev­ery year)

The con­tro­ver­sies not­with­stand­ing, it is the In­dian Premier League (IPL) time once again. A pas­sion that is se­duc­tively in­tense will once again take over the In­dian house­hold for the next month and a half cul­mi­nat­ing at the end of May at the Wankhede in Mum­bai. De­spite the many con­cerns, IPL 9 is once again poised to cap­ture eye­balls and with two new teams on the block, the com­pe­ti­tion is all set to be ex­hil­a­rat­ing.

At the cost of giv­ing favourite soaps and se­ri­als a miss, en­tire In­dian fam­i­lies will once again get con­verted to the heady mix of cricket and en­ter­tain­ment on of­fer, a pack­age un­prece­dented and one that trans­formed the face of In­dian and world cricket for all times to come. That sim­i­lar pas­sions have been wit­nessed in all eight edi­tions of the tour­na­ment help demon­strate that the IPL, as a phe­nom­e­non, is here to stay lend­ing cre­dence to the be­lief that In­dia is world cricket’s fi­nan­cial nerve cen­tre.

Com­ing to sea­son 9, it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to pick a favourite. Ev­ery team, in­clud­ing the two new teams Ris­ing Pune Su­per Gi­ants and Gu­jarat Lions, have se­ri­ous fire­power and are ca­pa­ble of go­ing the dis­tance. While some may ar­gue that un­like a Mum­bai In­di­ans or a Kolkata Knight Rid­ers, Pune and Gu­jarat will find it dif­fi­cult to play as a team at least in the ini­tial phase of the tour­na­ment, there is also the ar­gu­ment that these two teams start with a clean slate and are car­ry­ing no bag­gage go­ing into the com­pe­ti­tion. If the world T-20 is an in­dex, the favourites tag in T-20 cricket has very lit­tle mean­ing. While Mum­bai and Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore have se­ri­ous po­ten­tial on pa­per, Pune, Delhi Dare­dev­ils, Gu­jarat with their all round teams are ca­pa­ble of caus­ing an up­set on any given day. Add to the al­ready un­pre­dictable na­ture of the for­mat and the chal­lenge posed by con­di­tions. The first match tonight is at the Wankhede and if the In­dia-West In­dies semi-fi­nal is any­thing to go by, the team bat­ting first will be at a se­ri­ous dis­ad­van­tage be­cause of the dew. Such fac­tors, which are not al­ways taken into con­sid­er­a­tion while map­ping favourites, will have a big say in the com­pe­ti­tion go­ing for­ward.

Im­por­tantly, the IPL isn’t just watched in In­dia. It has huge view­er­ship in the UK and also in the US and the Caribbean mar­kets. While the large In­dian di­as­pora does ex­plain this huge au­di­ence, the abil­ity of the league in bring­ing play­ers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries to­gether adds to its sup­port base. Ian Bishop, one of the most re­spected voices of cricket in the Caribbean has al­luded to this while com­ment­ing on the IPL. “There were se­ri­ous dif­fer­ences among play­ers from the dif­fer­ent Caribbean is­lands - Trinidad, Ja­maica or Bar­ba­dos. But with Dwayne Bravo, a Trini, play­ing with Dwayne Smith or Chris Gayle, a Ja­maican, in the IPL these gaps have now been bridged. While we don’t of­ten say this it must be ac­knowl­edged that the IPL has done much in bring­ing the Caribbean to­gether.” When the leg­endary Arthur Mor­ris, key mem­ber of Don Brad­man’s in­vin­ci­ble team of the 1940s and one who passed away last year, was asked what he got out of play­ing cricket, his an­swer was star­tling. Mor­ris ne­go­ti­ated the ques­tion with a sin­gle-word re­tort, “Poverty.” With the on­set of a crick­et­ing rev­o­lu­tion cour­tesy the IPL, con­tem­po­rary crick­eters will have a rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent an­swer to a sim­i­lar ques­tion. Most, it can be con­jec­tured, will sug­gest with a wel­come smile, “We be­came mil­lion­aires.” This, more than any­thing, will al­ways be another key legacy of the IPL.

16crore

8:00 PM

In the 2016 sea­son, the fans will be given a plac­ard, and their de­ci­sion (when a de­ci­sion

is re­ferred to the third um­pire) will be caught by the cam­era and shown on the screen. But the de­ci­sion of the third

um­pire will be fi­nal

Vi­rat Kohli, AB de Vil­liers, Chris Gayle, Yu­vraj Singh,

Ashish Nehra

Delhi Dare­dev­ils

Kings XI Pun­jab

Royal Chal­lengers

Ban­ga­lore This time, Pune's MS Dhoni Ban­ga­lore's AB de Vil­liers Mum­bai's Ro­hit Sharma

Pun­jab's Glenn Maxwell Kolkata's Su­nil Narine The Mum­bai In­di­ans and the Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore look very good on pa­per Ban­ga­lore's Vi­rat Kohli

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