Sonali Dhulap is one of the brightest young cricket writers emerging out of India. An online commentator for one of cricket's leading websites, her writing seriously takes the piss and therefore she fits in very well with us. You could call it a marriage made in sarcasm on this day of amour. Therefore, we are delighted to announce that she will be covering the IPL and the Indian perspective of their tour to England later this year right here on these pages. Here, she kicks off with her first article for The Middle Stump covering the IPL auction. I hope you like her sarcastic style as much as we do....
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is like that annoying ex who you want to get rid of yet continue to stalk. Ironically, I am writing this post for a blog which is run by Englishmen (loosely translated as 'boring people who have no interest in anyone apart from themselves'). So, while all the other posts will give you their take on each of the franchises separately, here we might as well give you your time's worth by looking at it from the ''Big Three, Small Seven'' point-of-view, minus the obscene monetary figures.
The Big Three
IPL Franchises scored: 1 (Delhi Daredevils)
With Surrey in one pocket and Delhi Daredevils in another, Kevin Pietersen is on top of the world right now. Smugly over-confident, he doesn't have to worry about returning back to England for any international duties and will comfortably rake in the moolah playing the entire tournament from start to finish. On the other hand, for the love of God, I could not understand how anyone at the auctions has failed to pick up Luke Wright. But then brainless people are found in clusters. If not for his T20 skills, Luke should have been bought purely on the basis of the tongue-in-the-cheek humour he displayed in form of his tweets. "Some very good players going unsold in round 1. So difficult to get picked up. Think I will be wearing a bobble hat in Hove come April" was followed by "Just asked my mum to knit me a bobble hat! Haha. Night all." when he remained unsold even after going under the hammer twice. For gems like these, he should at least be allowed to handle twitter accounts of all the IPL franchises. Also, I am particularly disappointed about Jade Dernbach remaining unsold. We need more 300 plus scores in the IPL (as if the tournament wasn't stupid enough) and there is only so much that a certain Ishant Sharma could do.
For England, it will be County Cricket v IPL battle. Not that it makes any difference.... The ECB is adept in drafting statements which in their opinion are enough to pacify ranting fans but in reality are ramblings of some arrogant twit. True cricket lovers who claim they love Test cricket more than anything else in the world will be the first ones to put up IPL related tweets when the tournament begins, half of group will be made up of deluded Englishmen. And with N Srinivasan taking over the workings of ICC come July, I wouldn't be surprised if the IPL is more seamlessly integrated into the English cricket system next year.
|Dernbach unsold...disappointing batsmen all over India|
IPL Franchises scored: All
It is an unsaid fact that the Indians love Australians the most, among the foreigners (along with West Indians). CA has been a smart board right from the very beginning and has freely allowed its' players to roam the sub-continent. So, the 'turtle-loving' David Warner and a 'softie' like Shane Watson are now a house-hold name in even the remotest part of the country. Mitchell Johnson and Glenn Maxwell left stranded by a certain Mumbai Indians, have also found their way into Kings XI Punjab, together forever. Their ex-players are now coaches and mentors, clearly they are much cleverer than England has been. As usual, the Aussies were the flavor of the auction and unlike their 'partners in international crime' (read as ECB), they will capitalize on this opportunity more once the tournament begins.
The only sad part for the Aussie brigade is that Cameron White went unsold. Of course, the unfairness surrounding it will soon be forgotten within the next 3 months. So much is their dedication to the IPL, that if you have followed the Big Bash closely, you would have found the not-so-subtle references that commentators had been casually throwing around.
IPL Franchises scored: Duhh...isn't it obvious?
We are the boss, agree with it and bow to us. Chuck morality out of the window and screw the regulations. We have the most corrupt board president the history has ever seen. Not only does he run this country's cricket, he also owns an IPL team without any conflict of interest and is soon set to be the president of the entire world's cricketing body. His IPL franchise, the Chennai Super Kings were involved in one of the biggest scandals that rocked cricket in recent times, yet have no intention of dissolving. No rules apply to them. The police will run after some 'spot-fixing' people, arrest a few once in a while and then forget about it. And as fans, our memories are even more short-term.
India is a country full of 'richer than the world' politicians and 'poorer than the universe' common people. A combination that will never go old to fuel corruption, another testimony to the fact that IPL has established itself forever. If it all it ever gets replaced by something bigger, it will be an even more money-generating venture springing from the mind of yet another good-for-nothing Indian. As of now, big players have been safely sorted into teams, the same ones who don't perform for India when they travel abroad. And if at all, the IPL travels to South Africa, are sure to perform.
It is true that some unseen Indian talent has been unearthed in all the IPLs so far, leaving aside the fact that those players fizzled out within a year and were never heard of again. While you could certainly highlight a few merits about the IPL like these, always trust some abusive Indian fan to fuck logic and sing praises of the BCCI.
|Ishant Sharma...the Indian Jade Dernbach|
The Small Seven
IPL Franchises scored: 3 (Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians)
Three top Sri Lankan names in the IPL - Muralitharan, Thisara Perera and the toe-crushing devil Lasith Malinga are safely nestled in the confines of 3 strong IPL teams. Their board, however, displays less sense than the three players combined together. After openly opposing BCCI over the re-vamped structure agenda, other national players from the team could hardly find their way within any more IPL franchises.
IPL Franchises scored: All except the Rajasthan Royals
The biggest good news for South Africa might as well be that they will probably host this year's IPL thanks to the federal elections that are coming up in India. After opposing the position paper initially and then siding with the BCCI, South Africa have probably gained more than any other country. Note: The fact that their team is being destroyed by Australia even as we speak is irrelevant here.
IPL Franchises scored: 4 (Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians)
Yeah yeah, surprising everyone and 'proving' their worth mercilessly humiliating India in New Zealand, the locals have been going ga-ga over their 'talent'. A real dampener was when Ross Taylor went unsold on the first day, only to be bought by the Delhi Daredevils for a much lesser sum than one could have expected for him. A few good hits to his name this season and he will be rolling in more dough soon. Not that money has ever been a problem in the IPL. The big fish Corey Anderson was snapped up by Mumbai Indians, after the defending champions let go of Johnson and Maxwell. If Corey is even half of what he has showcased himself so far, imagine him being let loose against the Indian pacers (who, by the way, are devoid of any line or length and even pace, for that matter).
|Corey Anderson...Mumbai bound|
IPL Franchises scored: All except Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils
No IPL is complete without a West Indian player. Monsters and self-proclaimed T20 Kings, they find within themselves the power to go mental on even the most established bowlers. These are the players who are known in India as 'paisa-vasool' entertainers. (Paisa vasool roughly translates as 'value for money'). The IPL is what it is because of all those action-packed sixes and they play those with the ease of strolling in a park.
Mandatory English reference: And this where, we will miss Jade Dernbach the most. Chris Gayle must secretly ruing the missed opportunity of playing against him.
PAKISTAN, ZIMBABWE, BANGLADESH
Pakistan missed the money bus long back, they don't even count. Zimbabwe are the kind of team one cannot help but feel sympathy for. Their skipper Brendan Taylor is one talented guy and the fact that at least one franchise (Sunrisers Hyderabad) recognized him for his worth is exactly the kind of thing you cannot stop liking about the IPL. Meanwhile, how can anyone except Bangladesh to defeat other teams if they are not given enough practice? They wouldn't be Bangladesh if they could win all those close games they deserved to win but fucked up in the end. Trust them to bring the morsel of food very close to their mouth and throwing it on the ground instead of eating it. However, one proven performer (Shakib Al Hasan) deservedly got the cut.
Conclusion: So you think you are a true fan and you don't follow this shit? If you have recognized even one IPL team's name out of the lot, then don't kid yourself. Curse it, use the choicest swear words you could find, go ahead take the piss, IPL is here to stay. So is India, So is BCCI and certainly one Mr. N Srinivasan. If you are one among the top three, you don't have a choice. If you form a part of the small seven, no one cares about your choice. In the end, 'money' is the real winner and sadly, the only face with which cricket will rise in the coming years.
Extra reading: Luke Wright, Kevin Pietersen's tweets in the last 48 hours. Added bonus: Piers Morgan's KP man-love overflowing on his twitter account.
(Note: Views in the post to be taken with a pinch of salt, if you could spare some)