With the curtains up on the Indian domestic league, the stage is again set for a close match between its three trademark C's: cricketainment, cash and controversial clash.
If the inaugural extravaganza was any precursor, the sixth edition promises plenty more action on and off the field. And many more trophies it is game to yield.
Woman of the match
The trophy for "Woman of the Match" has seen Didi as much as the Amma vying for the prize catch. If it looked as if Season Six would belong to West Bengal's Didi Mamata Banerjee who's as good at playing political spoilsport as at playing host to the sport, Tamil Nadu's Amma chief minister J Jayalalitha beat her to the game by tossing up a "host" of controversies even before the ball got rolling.
Amma fashioned her Fifteen Minutes of Fame not by virtue of hosting the T20 star-studded spectacle, a la Didi, but by virtue of her refusal to play host.
Amma laid the pitch instead for a ban on Sri Lankan players' participation in the Chennai leg of the tournament. In firing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a missive, Amma played dismissive. Of any plans to host the Lankans in Chennai, citing the escalating political tensions, arising from the treatment of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, as the reason for her not being game for such hospitality.
So, theirs has been quite a close match. If Didi thrives on threats to pull out of central coalitions, Amma scores by propelling Lankan players to pull out of the matches to be hosted in her southern stronghold. If Didi gives many a sleepless night to the Captain of the ship steering the UPA, Amma manages to give a slight to captains from the Emerald Isles shepherding three franchisees.
Of pull & Pitbull
Season Six's start has been as much about sleepless nights as about the Knights. For, till the eleventh hour it wasn't clear which Hollywood celebrity would go to the inaugural show: Pitbull or JLo.
Ultimately, when Hollywood hottie Jennifer Lopez didn't land up to spice up the starry sight 'n' sound in Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) home ground, it was blamed on Red Chillies.
Bollywood divas Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone sent temperatures soaring, while the Hollywood heroine had tempers soaring. For, in her cancelled itinerary, JLo saw "Red".
And so, Red Chillies bore the brunt of untempered anger from JLo's manager. For, what JLo found hard to digest was how Red Chillies had dished out confidential deal details to the media.
Whether or not Red Chillies, a company of KKR owner Shah Rukh Khan, did cook up the "negative" publicity is another story. The fact is that one of the issues behind the Hollywood sizzle fizzle was indeed the opulent over-the-top hosting of JLo's staffer: the cook!
What Red Chillies found tough to swallow was the pop singer's demand for a private jet as well as five-star hospitality for her 20 dancers, stylist, butler and chef. So, it was pull out the pop singer, pull in the rapper.
All's well that ends Pitbull!
Tagore & Twitter galore
Cricketainment's current season is clearly for the Tweeple, by the Tweeple and of the Tweeple. Leveraging the exploding social media space has been none other than the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has extended the T20 experience on Twitter.
By luring viewers to tweet about the league with the bait that the best tweets of the day will be read out by commentators on air, the BCCI may be killing two birds with one stone: ensnaring eyeballs even from 'home tweet home', and signalling to parallel Tweet Titan, former league chief-in-exile Lalit Modi, that only officially "All that Twitters is Bowled".
If the BCCI was batting for a world where the mind is led forward by 'tweet', Shah Rukh was voicing about a world "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high."
Never mind if his recital didn't go down too well with some Tweeple, some even targeted tweet nothings at SRK: "Baba Ravinder (sic) Nath Tagore must have been abusing all us from heaven … Isliye Gitanjali likhi thi taki SRK se bulwayo!".
It looked as if King Khan's "without fear" rendition of Rabindranath Tagore's lines from the ramparts of Salt Lake Stadium may have served as a rejoinder to the Wizards of Wankhede.
All that Badshah Khan, banished from Wankhede, may have been trying to do is: rub 'Salt' on Season Five wounds!