To me, the big challenge coming into the fourth edition of the competition was to understand the intensity of the Indian Premier League, coming as it is days after the conclusion of the World Cup. By that, I mean the intensity of the players, the fans and the sponsors — essentially all the major stakeholders.
It has amazed me that there has been no perceptible drop in intensity levels. After a short break, the players are back with their new teams and new set-ups. That has only increased my respect for the players, especially the Indian boys.
They have had less than a week to enjoy the fruits of the hard work that brought them the World Cup. They have all joined their teams and shown absolute professionalism.Brilliant attitude
There have been no reports of players backing out or asking for a short leave of absence. They have understood the significance of the IPL on the cricketing calendar, and while they are basking in the glory of the World Cup triumph, they also realise that from a professional perspective, it's time to move forward. To me, that is the sign of brilliant attitude.
A majority of the teams have new faces and new combinations. In some ways, we are back to where we were when the first edition started. Those who settle down fast and pick up momentum early will be dangerous.
I feel that with the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians retaining their full quota of four players and buying a few others who played in the first three seasons, they are a little ahead of the rest when it comes to synergy in the team. With most of the players who helped them win the title last year in their ranks, CSK look very strong on paper, but knowing the twists and turns of Twenty20, one cannot make sweeping predictions.
Given the success of the IPL, it was inevitable that we would have two more teams coming into the fray. The success of the tournament can also be measured by the quantum of money offered by two new groups to attain ownership status.
The amount of money bid to buy these two new teams has tremendously increased the brand value of the original eight franchises, which shows what a vibrant product the IPL is.