In time, South Africa will surely host shows greater in magnitude and importance. Before that, though if the Rainbow Nation pauses to ponder over the frenzied potpourri that IPL II was, they would certainly do it with a smile. Strategy breaks included, the sports-minded people of this country enjoyed every second of the entertainment bouquet this event provided.
This competition has seen a few things unusual in cricket before the IPL II happened. Some of them are incidents, some issues which have to be addressed to by the authorities in due course. HT attempts a quick recap of what buzzed over cups of coffee or mugs of beer over the past few weeks.
Shane Warne was the first to speak about this break of seven-and-half minutes after 10 overs in every innings. “It takes care of a few bills, doesn’t it?” he said, on the first day of the competition, with an obvious reference to the TV advertisements this break facilitated in India. Over the next few weeks, this break kept irritating players although none would go on record. King Modi has apparently said this will be reviewed before next year.
Talked about mostly by teams which didn’t do well (read: Kolkata Knight Riders), increasing the number of foreigners in the XI by one from four kept gaining momentum during the competition. Some said this was worth a thought, others felt it would deny young Indians a chance to showcase their talent. There can be arguments for and against and people concerned have said this too would be discussed at an appropriate time.
After watching bowlers being treated with disdain by even the most unassuming of batsmen last year thanks largely to the flat pitches back home, it was a welcome change to see good deliveries fetching desired results. The conditions here have given something to bowlers to ensure a fair contest. The players loved it though it seems unlikely at this moment that efforts would be made to ensure something similar next year when the action returns to India.
Brothers in alms
Driven by the need to reach the grassroots and take IPL II closer to the South African people, the organisers masterminded a brilliant programme and that was to donate 100,000 rand (Rs 5.7 lakh approx.) each to 22 schools during the tournament. Asked whether something similar would be undertaken next year, Lalit Modi said they would identify the areas and act accordingly since they were committed to the cause of charity! He didn’t forget to mention that victims of the Jaipur blasts were helped last year.
Before the start of the competition, I was invited by a TV channel to talk about IPL II. I was asked whether the Rajasthan Royals would make it again and it took me just a few seconds to say that there are no favourites, no underdogs. Little did I know than that the team that took the last two spots last year would make it to the final this time. Too good to be a fairytale recovery or confirmation of this being a game of glorious uncertainties — take your pick.