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Friday, April 25, 2008 

Lights, Camera…..PLAY!

As an honest confession, we all have been cribbing about monotonicity in life and lack of change. Well not often so happens that change comes and almost sweeps you of the ground. So much so, that the change becomes, albeit momentarily, the major focus of the day. Welcome to the IPL, accept it or not, everyone is talking about it and you are talking about it to everyone.

Leave behind the big bucks for a second, leave behind the hypocritic moral high of playing for the country, this really smells like cricket at its very best. The problem is that such a feast of cricket is being served literally on a platter, that people find it unreal and sometimes, surprisingly, unacceptable. I’ll stick my head out and say that the IPL has given Ekta Kapoor and the likes (read Shahrukh and Salman Khan) a run for their money. You know its like that famous tag line from pizza hut - ‘you just can’t the beats’.

It’s now been a week since the tournament started, and it’s already been more entertaining than the 2007 World Cup (50 over). Since we won the 20-20 world championship, this tournament may not be able to take that place. But it’s up there. And there is only one reason why this tournament has been so popular, the quality of cricket period.

Whether it was the explosive McCullum, one of my favourites, or the audacious Veeru, the stylist Mr. Cricket or Shane Warne, the game has been played with enormous enthusiasm and a will to honestly do well for the team that’s paying you. I guess you come to expect that kind of professionalism from an Australian, South African and New Zealander. But I was most impressed to see Afridi take on Shane Warne with a verbal assault, even if it was poorly timed and out of nowhere. David Hussey’s rallied effort to win the game against the Chargers was a perfect example of the high level of intent and intensity.

The only major threat that I feared to this idea was the over dramatization of the event. Its good, atleast so far, that the game has been let alone to do the talking. The Zinta’s, Khans etc have been only dancing in their own groups in the stadium and so they should be. The cheerleaders are very indulging, but the cricketers have done well to keep their focus on the cricket because some of the cheer leaders are very very hot. The irony is that, the batsman who makes the cheerleaders dance to his tune by hitting the boundaries is a fair distance away from them and the third man enjoys the fine legs.

But what if the show was dramatized. There are a lot of Australian and kiwi players who are about to make their way back to their homes and with the IPL already being touted as an APL effectively, some of the excitement may be lost. So maybe to spice it up the creators may add a few theatrics to the show. For example, Shahrukh Khan will walk into the dressing room and deliver his ‘sattar minut’ speech to Dada and his boys. Or Pathan might get Sehwag out first ball clean bowled and suddenly the umpire will say…’theharo….No Ball’ and the camera will register the detailed shock faces of all the fielders from every angle, zooming in on each face. Or maybe Ricky Ponting will return to the pavilion after not making many runs and at the end of the game Ganguly and Shahrukh Khan will tell him ‘aaj tumhare energy levels kuch ache nahi the, aap aaj chakravyuh me hain’. Or after every game the Mumbai Indians lose, there will be a vote out and one player will go, which simply means that half way through the tournament they will have to buy new players. And maybe Dravid will be called in by Aamir Khan in his new television show ‘Kya aap under-15 se tez hain’, to which Dravid will reply ‘nahi me to us zamane se hi slow hu’…you know what I mean.

My major worry is that the galvanizing may cause televisionizing of the game. I still remember the days of 2003 world cup, when I could not go and watch the pre match show because a half naked women did not help the cause of an interesting discussion and I used to feel embarrassed. If the cricket remains cricket, rest assured there is a lot of money to be earned by everyone who is putting in stakes. But too much television coverage and influence will ruin it. I remember watching an interview of an old cricket photographer from England and he said some of the best pictures he had taken of cricketers were when they were by themselves and being themselves. But the insurgence of media has made them very cautious about their body language and they don’t seem natural on TV or pictures anymore.

Anyways, as per the ‘script’ so far, my team is doing well. Yeah the Delhi Daredevils are here to rule. Initially I had my doubts over the composition of the team. But Pidgie and Asif form a lethal combination, Vettori is exemplary and the kind of form Sehwag and Gauti are in its going to be very difficult for the rest of the teams. Shoaib Mallik, Karthik and Dhawan are ideal for this format in the middle order. And especially when the Australians leave our shores, Delhi will have the strongest lineup without any doubt. Hyderabad might come into the picture then, as they lose Symonds, but gain Gibbs who is an equally good fielder and batsman and less said about Symonds’ bowling the better. So my favourite picks for the semi final spots will be Delhi, Chennai for sure and two teams out of Hyderabad, Mohali and Rajasthan Royals. I am really excited to see how the RRs go from here, because they have the fire and nobody is ready to take them seriously yet, but they will have to pretty soon. Mumbai Indians are by far the worst team and once Sachin joins the team they are going to achieve new heights.

As I started by saying, forget about the money, forget about who wins, don’t even think that this game will hamper cricket in general, just look at the little things that have made the event so big. Remember the spell from Pragyan Ojha at Kolkatta, remember Piyush Chawla’s spell on a batting paradise, remember Shane Warne’ heroics in the final over, remember Abhishek Nayyar’s valiant effort for Mumbai against the Royals, remember the spell bowled by young Gony, remember the catch taken by Yuvraj, remember, would you believe it, Kaif hitting 3 sixes in an over off Symonds. These and many more are the moments to cherish from the tournament and really without them cricket is not cricket and without cricket IPL goes nowhere.

As I have said in earlier posts, whether the IPL stays for long or not is something that will be known in 2-3 years and I feel its unlikely that it will retain the effect it has now, simply because BCCI is going to lose interest in this initiative soon. But for the current edition things are going well and look all set for a competitive tournament of cricket.

Garv Nahi To Kuch Nahi….Aur Ab Dilli Door Nahin....


Well, what do you know!!!

in one word.. Brilliant !
This one's so diff from all ur previous posts and u wud know why ..
loved every bit of it man :)

...and the third man enjoys the fine legs...impressive line!!!
First blog I'm reading about the IPL and I must say its exciting till the last word!

Btw...m going to kotla tonight!!!


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