A flashback on some fun moments from previous editions of IPL
Chennai, Apr 5: The spectacular cricketing extravaganza, the 10th Edition of the IPL, which gets underway tonight, will feature a sum total of 8 teams with around 140 players playing across 10 different venues in 60 matches over 47 days, and after all the excitement and entertainment, most of us will have difficulty recalling 10 days later who the eventual winner was.
In that sense the IPL is like the now ubiquitous memes: Fun for the moment, but you don’t know what it is all about a bit later.
The IPL, when it was launched by the BCCI in 2008, was viewed with a lot of scepticism, but after nine years, it has overcome severe odds including that of having Navjot Singh Sidhu as a TV analyst, and has grown in stature. The old scepticism is now gone and in its place is, well, new scepticism. And that is because of the BCCI. Nobody knows who is running the affairs of the BCCI these days. Everything about it is being ordained by the court, and so we cannot rule out the possibility of a ban on holding cricket matches in stadiums close to the highways. Or franchise payments being linked through the Aadhaar. Or Gujarat Lions being banned for not naming itself Gujarat Cows.
But I am looking forward to the new IPL for the excitement that venues like Kanpur is bound to offer, especially for that part whether the entire stadium crowd is going to be taken to task by the anti-Romeo squad for gawking at the cheerleaders.
Another thing that should hold our interest is the Rising Pune Supergiants. Because it has a new captain? No, because it has a new spelling. Yes, after the poor performance last year, the Pune team did some analysis and figured out what was wrong with team: Its name. So this year Rising Pune Supergiants is Rising Pune Supergiant. The team management has asserted that the name change has not been carried for any superstition reasons. So we have to conclude that they have chopped an ‘S’ for austerity reasons.
And some of you still crib that IPL entertainment is formulaic.
Anyway, we will look back on a few events from the past IPL seasons that stood out for its special fun.
Singh is, well, Singh
The very first edition was witness to that one thing that the entire cricketing world was hoping happily to happen on the playing arena: Someone resolutely slapping Sreesanth. And the man who valiantly shouldered the responsibility was Harbhajan Singh, who bashed Sreesanth, despite him being, or probably because he was, his team-mate. With that one act Harbhajan Singh proved that he had a teesra up his sleeve, and redeemed himself of his own murky deeds.
Sreesanth later went on to court more infamy by getting mired in the spot-fixing scandal. The real scandal was someone actually paying Sreesanth to bowl badly. A bit like sponsoring Suhel Seth to have an abominable hairstyle.
Indian Poll League
The second edition of the IPL in 2009 ran into trouble as its dates coincided with the general elections of the country. To hold cricket matches when the country is facing elections is apparently a contravention of the Election Commission rules. Or so the government behaved. Ergo, they shifted the Indian elections to South Africa, which duly voted. This alone seems the plausible reason for the UPA getting to stay in power for all its scandals.
Ban for the Buck
If you are talking of the IPL, you cannot but talk of the iconic team Chennai Superkings, by far the team with the best record in the worst coloured clothing. CSK’s jersey is that shade of yellow that Telugu film heroes will find gaudy. It is not yellow, but it is yellowish yellow. CSK won most of its matches by distracting its opponents with that jersey colour.
The thing about CSK though was it gave good ban for the buck. First, three sections of M A Chidambaram stadium was banned from spectators’ use. Then, Sri Lankan players were banned from playing in Chennai. Eventually, the team itself was banned from the league for two years after its owner/enthusiast Gurunath Meiyappan was found involved in match-fixing, which, of course, is rightly banned. But still the thing that needs to be banned stays on: That yellow dress.
Mishra’s Magical Moment
On the field, IPL has seen some memorable scenes, but none can come close to Sunrisers’ Amit Mishra getting run out in a match a couple of years ago against Rajasthan Royals. It was cricket as pure slapstick.
Most of you would have seen that run-out sequence on YouTube or as a WhatsApp forward. And after seeing that most of you would have laughed uncontrollably all through the day, including at funerals. Because what Amit Mishra pulled off was technically impossible without having mainlined heroin into the system.
Amit Mishra, the striker, misses a shot and sets out for a run even as the wicket-keeper collects the ball. But the non-striker doesn’t respond, Mishra is stranded, the wicket-keeper has a shy at the stumps, but misses it completely. Mishra trots back and is just 5 or 6 inches from the crease. The ball is now with the bowler. He now has a go at the stump, but is off-target. Mishra, meanwhile, is now 3 inches away from the crease. The ball reaches the WK. He picks it up and throws at the stump, and in the meantime using all his energy, Mishra quickly moves close to 2 inches from the crease. The WK’s throw eventually hits the stump with Mishra, moving at the speed of a early-morning sleepy walker on beach, an inch away from the crease. It is as if Mishra was moving in super slo-mo for the benefit of replays. Run-out of three-hit, as it were.
Later, the third-umpire, who adjudicated the run-out, was found passed out in the pool of his own laughter drool. You can’t blame him.
May this IPL also have its share of unpredictable fun and excitement. But you are more than guaranteed some predictable fun and excitement in the form of Delhi Daredevils not winning the cup this year too. We mean when rest of the teams were probably bidding for Zaheer Khan as the coach, the Daredevils, in a stunning master stroke, has picked him as its on-field captain. Plus, Delhi Daredevils has in its team, ahem, Amit Mishra.