If proof was needed that IPL is like the United Nations that brings cricket, players and cultures together, it was provided by Morne Morkel. His favourite breakfast is a dosa stuffed not with aloo pyaaj but scrambled eggs. “Try it,” said Morne, recommending the unique dish. “It will change your life.”
That is debatable but the IPL has certainly impacted cricket in a positive manner. This season the cricket was spectacular. What will remain etched in memory are the close finishes, inventive batting and creative bowling. Clearly, cricket has moved forward with batsmen and bowlers becoming more skilled and discovering new tricks. The fielding was so sharp that it looked like players could compete with Olympic athletes.
The trophy has travelled east to Kolkata, the Badshah is King but ultimately, cricket is the winner. Once the dust settles, the noise subsides and media headlines shift, IPL V will be remembered not for the stings, scoops and controversies but for its compelling on-field action.
This IPL was particularly tough for captains, Dan Vettori and Kumar Sangakkara had to drop themselves as they did not merit a place in the XI and Sourav Ganguly narrowly escaped this fate. For other seniors too, the writing is on the wall that the IPL is for young players with fresh legs. Ageing India superstars (Tendulkar, Harbhajan, Zaheer) struggled through the tournament; emerging superstar Virat Kohli has some things to think about, so does Varun Aaron. But the IPL is over and already the teams and players have moved on.
BACK TO THE GRIND
International cricket is a crazy circus, a merry-go-round that does not stop, a show that keeps rolling. Two days after almost two months of IPL, Mahela Jayawardane is already at the nets in Sri Lanka as he leads his team against Pakistan.
David Warner, packing his bags before taking the long flight back to Sydney, said he had just 10 days at home before hitting the road again. He travels first to England, then to Sri Lanka and then back to India. The schedule for Morne is somewhat less demanding. He stays home for two weeks before heading to England for a long summer.
Senior India players have some time for rest and recovery but the so-called fringe is already repacking kit bags and collecting boarding cards. Robin Bist practiced with the India ‘A’ team before leaving for the West Indies. Unmukt Chand, the India U-19 captain, is at the NCA, Bangalore, getting ready for the Asia Cup in Malaysia in mid-June.
The writer is a Delhi Daredevils official