Monday, April 26, 2010

IPL 3: Looking back at a party

The third edition of the IPL went way beyond cricket- what with the cheergirls, the after-match parties, the older players shining bright and some close finishes.
It presents itself rather differently from the conventional, and with diamonds studded all over, the IPL trophy is one of the most ravishing beauties to behold. In the last two weeks though, one is given to understand that there's lot of dirt buried beneath that glitter. IPL 3 has been about cricket and big bucks, with a parallel game played outside the hallowed turf, rather inside the House. Oscar winner AR Rehman and Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu enthralled the audience at the DY Patil with a live concert, so did the next 22 performers in blue and yellow pyjamas in the Sunday night final --- the trophy went to Chennai but the game outside is just waiting for its new dawn. Lalit Modi has delayed his own final, gearing up to bat in the last bit of slog overs against a mounting asking rate of allegations. But, ultimately, he was suspended by the BCCI just hours before the IPL Governing Council meeting.
Coincidentally, the on and off-field activities have gone erringly similar - there has been big signings in millionaire Kieron Pollard who, without doubt, helped Mumbai wake up from deep slumber to take the title fight. On the other hand, it's the multi-million signings on the dotted line that has raised the doubt and summoned the taxmen. While Sachin Tendulkar has been hailed for single-handedly taking Mumbai so far, Modi is being castigated for his autocratic behaviour.
Maybe yes, maybe not, the multi-cultural and different nationality is being studied for the spate of run outs, 55-and over, during the IPL games but there has been another running debate, over proxy money, ownership and match-fixing, that has dominated the headlines.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and others have been outspoken about the humid Chennai weather, the amount of sweat that drenches their T-shirt and cramps their legs. Yet not much thought has been given while scheduling day games in those areas but there's been a serious brainstorming in various quarters about the sweat equity of a certain damsel sitting in faraway Dubai.
The off-field activities have already spilled over the allocated window for the tournament; longer strategic timeouts have been made, and more demanded, threatening that the end is far from expected. There will be no pom girls in mini skirts cheering anymore, the especially flown-in ‘mischief girls' are all packing their suitcases after a hectic schedule of day and evening matches and IPL nights - from hereon, there will be just formally clad politicians raising the pitch of their protests.
And to get the basics right, this entire hue and cry is a consequence of a three-line tweet from Modi with intentions to reveal selective information of the new franchisee joining them next season. Ever since, reputations have been stripped naked in the Parliament and outside, with reiteration of an in depth probe.
Talking of a rebel match outside the field, the IPL has brought into limelight the alumni batch of yet another rebel league. Players like Ambati Rayudu, Ali Murtaza, R Satish have been the driving force behind Mumbai's resurgence and proved to be a great discount buy from the ICL.
Controversies apart, the IPL continued providing platforms to the unknown and throw up surprise packages. Saurabh Tiwary, Murali Vijay, R Ashwin, T Suman, R Vinay Kumar, Aditya Dole, Sumit Narwal, Manvinder Bisla, Naman Ohja came to the fore for their respective franchisees to make the points table wobble frequently.
Mohali, unfortunately, lost balance early and fell down. Yuvraj Singh versus Kumar Sangakkara was yet another controversy that added spice to the competition while the Mongoose lapped up attention on the cricket field after Mathew Hayden publicised it at the cost of Delhi bowlers.
Cricketwise, there was aplenty, there was series of hop-and-jump catches taken smartly at the rope.
This edition again proved that retired and people over 35 still savour the taste of T20 with Sachin, Kallis, Kumble, Dravid, Warne, Hayden all in queue.
There was thrilling last over batting from Pollard, Uthappa, Yusuf, Symonds, Dhoni; an Indian scored a century - fastest ever - and a pacer amidst the spinners taking centrestage wrapped up a hat-trick. And then, two of the new performing lot did get their deserving place in the World T20 Indian team.
IPL 3 introduced the IPL party nights and the awards night, with franchisees and player turning out in their best, adding overtunes to the cricket and taking it a step further. Indeed, IPL 3 was about cricket and big bucks. About cricket. And about the big bucks.
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