...T for Tuskers, R for Romance. The 2012 edition of the Indian Premier League is likely to spawn a whole new lexicon
Guess who has the most runs in the history of the IPL? Suresh Raina. So what if Sachin is only the second highest run-getter in IPL history, he’s still the alpha male of this league as much as he’s the top dog of world cricket.
This will be the first IPL without Shane Warne. You know him, right? The cigarette-smoking, dirty-texting, doll-distributing, nickname-assigning, Estee Lauder-applying beach bum with wrists that could impart more fizz on a cricket ball, than a bottle of Coke in Michael J. Fox’s hands. We will miss the charisma, the almost unholy swerve of his deliveries, but most of all we will miss the maiden he bowled over. XOXO Liz Hurley.
Can there be anything more nauseating than listening to Ravi Shastri utter those infamous words – “that one went like a tracer bullet,” for the millionth time? Yes, indeed. Ravi Shastri saying, “that’s another DLF maximum” for the millionth time. F1 drivers often emblazon a zillion logos on their overalls. But even Bernie Ecclestone never came up with a “Pirelli pitstop moment” or an “iPill accident”.
Don & Co
Which is the bigger draw, cricket or Bollywood? A question which has hounded many Indian citizens, and one Supreme Court judge. Now when you see Adam Gilchrist hitting those DLF maximums, Preity Zinta is performing a Farah Khan dance routine. This is our revenge for all those Salil Ankola movies, the film aficionados may well say.
When news of the termination of the Kochi Tuskers Kerala hit cyberspace, Twitter must’ve been the first to offer their condolences. The mother of all Twitter battles involved the erstwhile franchise, a former United Nations under-secretary general and Lalit Modi. We would say thank you for the memories, except there weren’t any.
Fatigued: The F word
If the past is any indication, players are more likely to risk injury while playing in the IPL than risk losing out on that moolah. Enjoy these 53 days, there’s a very good chance you won’t enjoy what follows.
Girls, girls, girls
It may not have the gripping appeal of Test cricket, but the IPL has its own appeal – sex appeal – and a lot of it. The cheerleaders, the actresses, the anchors, the models et al are set to heat up your summer. What you wouldn’t give to be Virat Kohli right now!
With Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle in the league, the baseball parlance most likely to be used during the IPL is third base. Home run is also not that bad an option. Everyone from players, sponsors to owners have hit one out of the ballpark with the lucrative, eyeball-grabbing deals that are all part of the IPL experience.
It’s a mad, mad world
With Kolkata Knight Riders around, there’s never a dull moment. Four captains, you say? Brilliant idea. A fake blogger? Right on the money. No space for Sourav Ganguly? Can’t be that bad a PR move. Poker-faced, iron willed, Gautam Gambhir seems an odd fit in such an environment.
Just for IPL
Dravid padding up once again, Ganguly caressing the ball through the off-side, Gilchrist, squash ball squeezed in glove, demolishing the bowlers, these are sights you thought you’d never get to see again. Well, the IPL is where retired legends come out to play.
Kicking up the volume
Where’s the party, yaar? The IPL is a time when a heady mix of actors, businessmen, cricketers, models and cheerleaders mingle. It’s also a time for Chris Henry Gayle to entertain cheerleaders. Wondering why he was best ‘player’ last season?
Like the spurned lover who’s failed to get closure, he keeps resurfacing, mostly through Twitter. Just
wonder what would have happened to our IPL experience if he still had a valid passport or any money. Bankruptcy’s a bi*ch!
The millionaires club, headed by US $2.4 million-a-year Gautam Gambhir (R12.28 cr), swelled this past auction and included some new members. Shane Warne’s former ‘Rockstar’ sidekick Ravindra Jadeja earned the biggest bucks in this year’s auction – a cool US $2 million ((R10.23 cr). Good going for someone who a year ago was barred from participating!
Nawab of Najafgarh
For all those pointing towards his torrid run in Australia, remember this – the last time he batted on Indian soil he hit 219 runs in 46.3 overs of an ODI match. With new teammate Kevin Pietersen for company, Viru has an effective foil. Now, for that six-hitting contest.
IPL franchises are owned by some of the richest and well-known men in the country (and a third category – friends and relatives of Lalit Modi). They are very likely to cringe about the Vaastu at their home stadium, or brazenly root for their franchise with their celeb friends in the owner’s box.
At any IPL stadium more eyeballs are fixed on four tiny dais’ behind the boundary rope than on the action in the middle. When a four is hit, eyes turn towards cheerleaders in mini-skirts gyrating to hip-hop music, shaking their pom-poms. There is, however, one aberration – Chennai Super Kings. The two-time defending champs have a crew of male cheerleaders.
To pump up the decibel count and the oomph quotient in last year’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix, the organisers brought in Lady Gaga. Not to be outdone, the wise men at BCCI got their own pop star – Katy Perry. As for all the other Queen Bees in attendance which include Nita Ambani (Mumbai Indians owner), Preity Zinta (co-owner Kings XI Punjab) and Shilpa Shetty, they’ll have to watch their step, Katy kissed a girl and she liked it.
Romance is in the air
The IPL has had its fair share of hookups. This is where Liz Hurley and Shane Warne came out in the open, where Siddartha (Mallya) met Deepika (Padukone), and, where Chris Gayle was introduced to the entire cheerleading outfit of RCB. Who’ll be this year’s love couple? Watch this space.
One of the drawbacks of cricket had been that you could sit through five days and still not see a winner. In the IPL every match has a winner (and a loser). If the scores are tied after 40 overs, there’s a one-over faceoff between batsman and bowler, if even that fails to produce a result, the game will be decided with a coin toss.
A century is rare in IPL. Oddly enough Brendon McCullum hit one in the first match of the league, but in the four years since only a further 17 centuries have been hit, that’s roughly 4 tons a season and none has topped the 158 the Kiwi hit. Will you be one of the lucky ones to catch a ton this season?
Necessity is the mother of all inventions, there, the IPL is a necessity! The switch hit, the upper cut, the Dilscoop, the Helicopter Shot, all these and more will be on display, and to capture these unorthodox shots they don’t use your ordinary Super 8 cameras, there’s the Spider Cam.
Valthaty part deux
Take an unheralded domestic cricketer, throw in a performance of a lifetime, and what do you get? This season’s Valthaty, named in honour of Kings XI Punjab’s Paul Valthaty, who usurped his captain, coach and family’s wildest dreams with his spectacular century in IPL-IV. Benefits include lucrative deals in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Want success in the IPL? Hire an Aussie cricket legend. Each of the first three editions of the IPL saw a retired Aussie great win the title. Shane Warne led the Rajasthan Royals to glory, Adam Gilchrist swung it the way of Deccan Chargers and Matthew Hayden won it with MS Dhoni & Co at CSK. The Aussies’ high rating is hurt slightly by the Ricky Ponting-KKR fiasco, and Hayden’s mongoose moment.
The IPL is when the moral police also come out to play. The Shiv Sena will stage a protest against allowing Pakistan players. Cheerleaders will be taught the nuances of clothing by pot-bellied cops, miniskirts will make way for sarees (since cheerleaders from Pune Warriors are already draped in sarees they’ll be asked to wear burqas).
On any IPL matchday, Chepauk, home of the two-time defending champions Chennai Super Kings, is a sea of yellow. The stands are drowned in the colour, the CSK officials are dressed in yellow, hell, even the ride in to the stadium is in a yellow autorickshaw. All in all, it adds up to great, if daunting (for visiting teams), atmosphere.
Zero sum shame
In these times of financial uncertainty, big bucks just don’t guarantee the kind of returns they used to. The IPL is not an exception to this economic reality. You can’t debate with the business acumen of Mukesh Ambani, but neither can you with returns. Two reputed big-hitters in world cricket, Kieron Pollard and Andrew Symonds cost the Mumbai Indians a combined US $1.6 million (R8.18 cr). In all they hit 9 sixes all season, at US $177,000 (R90.58 lakh) a six! Every run they scored cost $5,694 (R2.91 lakh).
From HT Brunch, April 1
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