Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Expect the Unexpected...an IPL preview

~ Oscar Wilde


Sonali Dhulap is one of India's growing legion of young cricket writers. We are delighted that she will be bringing to The Middle Stump her wit and wisdom, making these pages far more glamorous over the summer. Expect more from her when India tour, but in the meantime she gives us the low down on the IPL and what to expect, or not to expect, over the next few weeks. You can follow her on Twitter @pillya...

KP...IPL bound

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a kind of drug that, perhaps, has been solely created for the purpose of drawing us cricket fanatics into its' world of fake glamour and very little cricket. Sadly, it is not the kind of temptation one can resist. You might criticise it for what it is but with each passing year you get more and more addicted to it. If cricket were a TV series, then IPL is the undisputed 'Game of Thrones.'

Consider this, I have been asked to write this piece for a UK-based blog run by Englishmen, who will probably spend the summer hooked onto county cricket. Do any of their players feature in the league (except for one Mr. Kevin Pietersen,)? No! Yet, here I am abiding by their wishes so that they don't look like the only fools who haven't joined the IPL bandwagon.

By now, you might have read millions of previews, glorifying or demeaning the tournament. The so-called experts and critics might have bombarded you with player names, extensive analysis of each of the teams as well as past controversies. I bet your head is buzzing with a zillion of pictures, graphs, videos,  podcasts and other such pish-posh. People will begin with one analysis and end up with a completely different one. But in the end, whoever wins, the real champions will always be the BCCI.

So forget what you have been told so far. Let us rather analyse the facts about why IPL is here to stay and what to expect in Season Seven.

Season Seven?

FIVE things that you can MOST CERTAINLY expect this edition:-

1) Corruption

Nearly a year has passed yet the dirt of IPL-6 is yet to be washed off. Spot-fixing, betting are NOT going anywhere. We can expect a few more player/bookie/cricket enthusiasts names to pop up this edition too. The follow-up to it on Indian news channels will be even more exciting to follow. Minor players will be suspended, major ones will escape through. Links will be traced all the way to Dubai and what better way to manage things this season when the tournament is itself starting from the very belly of the Underworld.

2) Controversies

No IPL is complete without a good deal of controversies. Whether a player will slap a fellow player, a team owner will be banned from entering a certain stadium, the Indian moral police will have a crack at the scantily-clad cheerleaders, fights will break out on the field, players will be arrested at rave parties, someone will molest someone, etc..etc...there is no dearth to the amount of funny nonsense that will emerge from this edition too.


IPL cheerleaders...scandalous

3) (Mindless) Commentary

You know the feeling when two of your favourite countries are playing each other and you look forward to hearing from your favourite commentators but at the same time are dreading the ones who will compel you to swallow poison, hang yourself, lie on a train track, slit your wrists, jump from a skyscraper; all at once? Lo and behold, the IPL is amalgam of the best and worst of the worlds' commentators....more worst than the best. Chuck all the rationality out of the window if you dare to un-mute the television. On the other hand, it is your express ticket to guaranteed laughs.

4) Excessive Advertising

A 'DLF' Maximum or a 'Yes Bank' Maximum, what do you prefer? 'Karbonn' Kamal Catches, anyone? How about the 'Star Plus' Nayi Soch awards? You will be bombarded with so many brands that you will lose count of it. IPL time is a gala time for advertisers in India, you cannot walk two paces on the road without being subjected to something that is related to the league. This year we might see a few more brand names pop up sponsoring all sorts of weird awards.

5) Surprises

Yes, those too. There are very sports as unpredictable as cricket. The IPL will shock you alright but be sure to be surprised and awed by it as well. Some obscure player, a name you never might have heard, might disarm you with his technique or charm. Old players, who have retired from international cricket, will reinforce the statement about 'Age being just a number'. A ton of nail-biting finishes, super-overs and some completely sensational performances will remind you why you fell in love with this game in the first place.


Giant Haystacks gatecrashes the Mumbai Indians party

FIVE reasons why IPL is more entertaining than (damn) cricket:-

1) Money

Money might be the root cause of all evil but it can buy you loads of material happiness. The IPL is drenched in money, stinking black money perhaps, but wealth nonetheless. And where there is money, their is power. Rarely will any other form of cricket tournament or league will show you money being utiltized in such a blatant and obnoxious way.

2) Gossip

The Board can make of show of banning after-match parties and cheerleaders, but gossip will filter through all channels like water. No one is better at inflating a harmless incident as out of proportion as the Indian media. Hence, every IPL will have more than its' fair share of sleaze and scandals to entertain the masses.

3) Regional Fanatics

Patriotism for ones' country can be so beautifully seen in any international tournament. But, regional fanaticism is more rampant among us Indians. You will see a huge show of fans religiously supporting their states/cities. It will be rivalry at its very best (or shall I say worst). Fights, accusations will break out more frequently. Twitter will be a melting pot of pointless petty quarrels.


Srini shows us how to bowl the doosra

4) Longevity

Don't shun it, embrace it. With the rising advent of the T20s, youngsters nowadays are freely distancing themselves from Test cricket. In the world of instant results, it is possible that the longest format of the game may wither away, but T20 leagues are here to stay. Even if the number of overs ever reduce, the IPL will mould itself to the situation and evolve accordingly.

5) N Srinivasan


The one thing worth learning from dear old Srini is how to ignore the world and continue doing your own shit. No one can tell him what to do. A man who can challenge even the Supreme Court's (top law body in the country) order of asking him to quit, is not to be taken lightly. You may curse him, but Srinivasan will teach you more about standing your ground in this big bad world better than any other role model in your life.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks: entertaining and realistic (unusually for anything IPL related!) article. Oddly, the IPL seems to be the only live cricket available in the UK on free to air TV (I refuse to pay money to Murdoch's (alleged) criminal empire).

    Talking of alleged criminality, can anyone explain how, if Srinivasan is banned by the Supreme Court from performing any function in the BCCI, he can represent it at the ICC?

    Unfortunately, I don't see the allegations of corruption in the IPL going away any time soon. There are too many conflicts of interest (the main root cause of this is the removal of the clause banning BCCI board members from owning teams). There's a very good article by Sharda Ugra (I think) on Cricinfo about conflicts of interest. Whilst they're not a crime, they create the conditions which might lead to criminal behaviour. As a (hopefully) hypothetical example, Mr Srinivasan owns a large stake in India Cement, which in turn owns CSK (captain MS Dhoni). A couple of years ago (after the double whitewash in England and Australia) the selectors recommended removing MSD as test captain (it's well known Dhoni is not a fan of test cricket). Srinivasan overruled them. Whilst I'm sure there are cricketing reasons for this, some suspicious minds might think it was to keep the profile of CSK high, and thus increase the profit to India Cement.

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  2. Look the time has gone and we should learn to roll with it . Test cricket is the main reason cricket isn't the no.1 sport in the world and it's no.2 cause of the subcontinent guys . Who knew if risks were taken things could happen ... Regards Test Cricket. Test cricket sucks and big time. It's long , Boring and dull cricket. County cricket couldn't do in 100 years what IPL have done in 7 years. Let's just say Test cricket was a curse to Cricket which is now being uplifted Gradually..

    Thanks to IPL
    and about the controversies it happens atleast we didn't pissed on the pitch where we play. So don't talk about respect.
    Cricket so called experts doesn't have the audience to back them as there own country took a detour from cricket because taking no risks and playing it safe and leaving a best of bowler wasn't cutting it for them.

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  3. People are just threatened because there legacy is built around test cricket . And they can't play t20 cricket because it requires athletic skills which these suckers can't do. They can't hit on will and will be more than happy to leave the best of a bowler . Why does a person is coming in and bowling 150+ plus to be left a by a bowler. And we all know why USa switched to baseball. So just support IPL or don't it is here to stay. and it certaionely won't help sonali to bitch about your own league on English blogs.....

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