The Day You Wish Wasn’t: When IPL didn’t start and Dhoni wasn’t on idiot box in COVID-19 World
In an ideal world, the millennials in Mumbai would have trudged out of a busy Churchgate station, mostly in Blues with a liberal sprinkling of canary yellow between them making their presence felt. The slightly elder ones, enjoying their cosy Sundays across India and few who are facing mid-life crisis would be happy that late evenings during next seven weeks are taken care of even though the trumpet prelude of Spanish song “En Er Mundo - Pepe El Trompeta” will be irritating.
But today is not an ideal Sunday as it’s not an ideal world. It’s the COVID-19 world where life doesn’t have life anymore as people struggle for existence. So there won’t be any IPL at 8 pm, there won’t be a Mahendra Singh Dhoni ambling across the Wankhede turf with a disarming smile or Rohit Sharma won’t pull a fast bowler with nonchalance with unsaid words “Take that for a six, ICC”.
There wouldn’t be jostling for remote control during this lockdown. So some will settle for Netflix to watch rerun of ‘Friends’ and some may like to revisit their teens watching Byomkesh Bakshi on DD National. This IPL would have been Dhoni’s comeback tournament after eight and a half months. He would have again led the side, face not giving away anything but unbridled joy when Chennai Super Kings does something.
This would have perhaps been the last year with CSK’s ‘Dad’s Army’ with a lot of players like Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson unlikely to feature in yellow jersey next year. This was probably Dhoni’s chance to get back into the groove and show the world why Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul can still be asked to wait for one last global tournament.
If IPL doesn’t happen and World T20 is held this year (subject to normalcy), will we see Dhoni in India blues again? His fans won’t like that but likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Kapil Dev have felt otherwise and not without valid reasons.
The 14 times that we were assured of watching him in action and may be twice or thrice more if CSK would have made the finals, might not happen. You would miss Virat Kohli’s agony and ecstacy as Royal Challengers Bangalore with their kind of players’ roster, which majority believe, would have flattered to deceive.
The capacity crowd at the Eden Gardens, which nowadays gives dormant response to even quality Test matches would have shouted their lungs out. Some for the players and some for Shah Rukh Khan sitting on the lower tier of Club House balcony. They won’t shout as it’s the lungs that everyone needs to protect now. Airborne David Warner’s fist pumps can’t be enjoyed with Paradise’s mutton biryani and Hyderabad’s own double ka meetha.
We probably won’t get to know how good Anil Kumble’s third stint as a mentor/coach (after MI and India) would have gone with a passionate owner like Preity Zinta watching every performance of Kings XI Punjab. Pant on his part would have liked to rock the IPL stage -- something that he had made his own in past few years, with those audacious hook shots even when he is off balance.
How well would have Steve Smith captained Rajasthan Royals? Good enough to force Cricket Australia selectors to hand back the captaincy to him from Aaron Finch? We might never know. It’s 8 pm today and IPL won’t start. Deal with it folks.