The wonderful thing about the IPL is that you can run into Shane Warne in the hotel bar, Sachin Tendulkar in the lobby, JP Duminy in the gym and Daniel Vettori in the lift in quick succession. Depending on one's viewpoint, the IPL is a crazy circus or the best cricket academy, but there is no denying that it has brought the cricketing world closer and had a huge impact on the sport.
At one level, it separates players, creates rivalries and makes teammates clash with each other --- not just Virender Sehwag vs MS Dhoni or Andy Flintoff vs Kevin Pieterson, but also Virat Kohli vs Pradeep Sangwan.
But this separation also unites players as they work together to share knowledge and tap into each other's experience. Team meetings are interesting as information, till recently classified, is shared, players are analysed through insider knowledge and inputs. One result of this international cooperation, with the support staff also actively collaborating across national and franchise teams, is that there are no secrets anymore. The IPL is cricket's version of a global, transparent world.
Indian cricket is certainly stronger because of this development. Young players have a great opportunity to learn and be watched by a worldwide audience. For them, the IPL is the ultimate, priceless passport because a few good games and a successful season can alter life.