Why I’m rooting for IPL this summer | brunch | Hindustan Times
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Why I’m rooting for IPL this summer

It's got something to do with cheerleaders, cricketing pleasure and Jammy. Suspended disbelief, isn’t that what the suckers for escapist cinema call it?

brunch Updated: Apr 07, 2012 19:48 IST
Aasheesh Sharma

The cheergirls are incidental. The gimmicky post-match shows don’t really matter. I will be watching every match of the Indian Premier League Season 5 for sheer cricketing pleasure. Where else would one watch the veteran Adam Gilchrist come out of retirement and spank the bowlers as if he never went away? Where else but in the IPL would you see a David Hussey being overshadowed by a Paul Valthaty and a certain Ashok Dinda eliciting praise from Ricky Ponting? Or, for that matter, a rookie spinner like Rahul Sharma dismiss Sachin Ramesh TenduIkar in his first match at the Wankede? I would put my purist instincts in the cold freeze for these two months and stock up on my cola and pizza to savour the adulterated flavours of the Premier League.

Suspended disbelief, isn’t that what the suckers for escapist cinema call it? For 40 overs every evening, I want to banish memories of another listless overseas performance by our Boys in Blue to watch the magnificent men who make IPL the spectacle it is.

For every critic who says the glamour overkill is denigrating the gentleman’s game, you will find many like this writer who would travel a hundred miles and brave the crowds to witness cricketing genius in action. I would root for the IPL only to watch Rahul Dravid take to the field again and take the attack to the bowlers. I would cheer for the Pune Warriors to relive those moments when Sourav Ganguly pumped spunk into a band of reticent cricketers. I would buy an outrageously priced IPL ticket, simply to pay my respects to Tendulkar, period.

Granted, the IPL’s busy schedule takes the mickey out of our already overstretched cricketers. But it also provides a fantastic springboard to latent talent. Don’t believe me? Ask Ravindra Jadeja, whose dizzy rise from the dusty bylanes of Saurashtra to being anointed the billion dollar baby of IPL 5 would have remained a first class cricketer’s fantasy had he not created a blitz on the premier league stage. For that matter, even the pedigreed Shaun Marsh wouldn’t have got a look in into the Aussie squad had he not created the impact he made in his debut IPL season. And the best bit about an IPL contract for a rookie? No it isn’t the after-parties or even a six figure salary. It is sharing a dressing room with legends they grew up worshipping and getting tips from their idols on keeping their feet on the ground even if their heads are in IPL heaven.

Beyond the mix of veterans and rookies, the format itself is a happy hunting ground for the meisters of swing and magicians of the willow. It is where the Dill-scoop comes out of Dilshan’s armoury and where a KP practices his switch hit. Alright, then, the cheergirls don’t hurt, either.

From HT Brunch, April 8

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