by DD for 7 cr
by KXIP for
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.
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,
Kings XI Punjab
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