The most extraordinary aspect of the Indian Premier League this year has been the absence of any controversy so far which could add spice to an event in need of some fizz. From a glamorous extravaganza where the parade of film stars had attracted the non-cricketing crowd, the League, it seems, has become just one more event on the sporting calendar.
If you are a sports fan, you would say this is not a bad thing to happen, as no one wants the glitz quotient to overshadow the real action. But what is IPL without a Shah Rukh Khan goading the crowd like a conductor to rally behind his Kolkata Knight Riders, or a Shilpa Shetty, with all her demure looks, seeking attention for herself and her men going by the name of Rajasthan Royals. Liz Hurley could have been competition but fortunately for her, except for Shane Warne, not many Indians seem to recognise her.
Unlike her giggly, boisterous display in the past, a jaded-looking Preity Zinta too has not been able to get the adrenalin of the fans going, leaving the Kings XI Punjab at the mercy of cricket and cricketers.
It is hard to say whether these men and women have lost their appeal or the star-struck Indians are more in love with the idea of glamour than glamour itself. Or, is it that once these ageing stars overexposed themselves, their aura too vanished?
I wonder what agony the Badshah of Bollywood would have gone through on discovering that the Kolkata crowd had largely kept away from the Eden Gardens in their opening match.
For the first three years, fans had thronged the stadium and King Khan, this year, probably wanted to prove to the world that the crowds were following him and not a certain Sourav Ganguly.
In his defence, it can be said that though his TRP ratings may have fallen, his cricketing acumen has improved, if the performance of his team is to be a yardstick.
The man whom he shunned, Sourav Ganguly, is set to make his reappearance when the show is more than half over. To put it in film parlance, Ganguly is making his entry after the interval.
Will this former Indian heartthrob, and still a major star in Bengal, revive the fortunes of a show, which this year has not exactly set the box-office aflame? Unlikely, it would seem, given the fact that till he was part of his home team, they clung on to the bottom of the ladder.
In all this talk of shrinking crowds and falling TRP ratings, cricketing experts are discovering new stars and finding extra value in those who have seen better times in the past. While some are even analysing why and how they got certain predictions right and others completely wrong, here's wishing all the best to those who want IPL to get over soon before the scorching summer devours and saps the energies of our beloved World Cup winners completely.