In case you haven’t noticed, there is a cricket tournament named Indian Premier League going on somewhere in the land which was once forbidden forever by India. If you have noticed, you must congratulate yourself for your observation skills. If you haven’t, I wouldn’t blame you for missing an event which hasn’t done much to get anyone’s notice.
While I have said this in every season of IPL starting from second season, “that this is the dullest season of IPL”, this time I can say with lot more surety. This is surely the dullest season.
Right from the ads.
Chalo Bulava aaya hai makes one feel if IPL has been played in Jammu – near Vaishno Devi. These ads are nothing compared to what we have seen in the past like the legendary Jhamping Japaak. And I am not even talking about one of the best ever ads we saw in season 1 – Mano aur Ranjan ka Baap. The phrase used in that ad – kab tak chupegi kali patton ki aad mein, kabhi na kabhi to aayegi bhindi baajar mein was creativity at its best. Compared to such legacy of IPL ads, current lot looks like an old Maruti 800 compared to Mercedes Benz.
Another problem IPL is facing is the dearth of legends. No serenity of Tendulkar’s strokes, no calmness of Dravid’s presence in the middle or irritation of Sreesanth’s tantrums. The next generation which was supposed to become legend to carry on IPL’s torch seems to be fading away – Gautam Gambhir is carrying on his form from where he left at the point of being dropped, Sehwag is giving him company and Yuvraj Singh is just a bouncer and a full length ball away from looking like he did in WT20 final.
But such days had to come, maybe they came sooner than they should have. This was inevitable part.
What is hurting most is the part which could have been avoided. One legend IPL is surely missing bears the name of wave which is supposed to have engulfed entire nation – Modi, Lalit Modi. Make no mistake, IPL without Modi is like what Baby Doll would be without Sunny Leone. Without him, every season has increasingly lost its riches. Current season looks like a poor orphan.
Let me give an example. In his days, “money is not an issue at all” was tattooed everywhere on IPL. People made money. It was well spent too. Everyone went home happy.
But not anymore.
I was bamboozled to see LED lit stumps and bails in WT20. Now when I see stumps and bails without the lights of LED in IPL7, I feel as if it is a tournament organized by poor board – totally opposite to what IPL was supposed to be, abundance of wealth. Other than the cost, I cannot think of any other reason to do away with glamorous lights. In LKM’s days, if an ICC tournament had LED lit stumps and bails, he would have put real diamonds on stumps.
If IPL needs one legend to be back, it is LKM. Maybe one slogan IPL8 must shout months before it starts, if it does, is Abki Baar Modi Sarkar.
Coming back to cricket – it has been typical IPL style.
Batsmen have been slogging and slogging well. Every shot is told us to be an amazing shot which was never seen before. Every Six is prefixed with a sponsor name. Every four is shown to be a disappointment as why it wasn’t a six.
Bowlers are pitied. Yet people are happier with high scoring matches than low scoring matches. In every match, we keep discovering a new Ishant Sharma – be it Morne Morkel or Dhawal Kulkarni. This proves that secret of Ishant’s brilliance, as opposed to popular belief, is not in his hair.
Off spinners are bowling nothing but leg spin in the name of carom ball or doosra. Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla are two main leg spinners. Indian medium pacers keep bowling in three different speeds – slow, slower and slowest. That day is not far away when speed of Indian medium pacers will be giving tough competition to IRCTC.
In one of the matches, Rajat Bhatia bowled at 82kph. Erapalli Prasanna would have been proud to bowl at that pace. Bhatia bowls at this pace when he runs in like a medium pacer. Imagine if he had run up of a spinner. While such style of bowling seems to be effective when batsmen are supposed to hit every ball out of park, it reduces your chances to get batsmen out bowled – I wonder if bails would get dislodged at this pace. But then, bowl slow seems to be the mantra. After all, not everyone can be a Dale Steyn. Becoming Ishant is easy as we discover in every match.
To all that hype and hoopla about modern day fielding, more catches have been dropped than one would expect. More catches are told to be extraordinary when they look quite ordinary. More fielders are trying to make simple catches look ordinary. Like any corporate presentation, fielding is turning out to be more about presentation skills than content.
Teams have changes so much that you would find it difficult to remember the original teams.
CSK has remained largely constant and mostly consistent. There was a time when we hoped men in blue to play like men in yellow. After inception of CSK, people are hoping to play in yellow to be able to play in blue.
MI looks confused at the top of batting. But then, such has been the vacuum created at their top order. They seem to be a bit too dependent on Mallinga, too confused about Pollard and too messed up otherwise.
KXIP, as it has always been, is more about the owner than the team.
People will judge Virat’s captaincy skills when he plays for RCB. It will be compared with MSD’s skills. Hope they forget it all and just enjoy his batting. If there is one team you would like to watch like the way you watched MI or RR or KKR, it would be RCB. It would be because of Virat.
KKR is playing like KKR. It must be appreciated that during all these years, they’ve manages to hold on to atrocious colours when it comes to jerseys.
I don’t know if it’s just me or to others as well - every member of RR looks like Dravid when in batting gears. Or maybe such is the aura of the man. I wish Dravid was playing for RR this season too. Alas. Time will tell if Sanju Samson turns out to be a replacement for MSD or he will join the likes of Swapnil Asnodkar and Paul Valthaty in history books.
Quikr is one of the sponsors for DD. The day isn’t far when Quikr’s claims of ability to sell anything would be put to real test – they would be asked to sell DD. I am not sure if they would find any buyers.
SRH continues to own the most balanced fast bowling attack – brilliance of Steyn balanced by gaucherie of Ishant. They have the worst batting. On top of it, they have Amit Mishra. Enough said.
Till now, it has been typical IPL cricket. Cricket was never any different in any of the season. But then, IPL has always been more about the packaging than the product. IPL has always been more about razzmatazz than cricket.
Razzmatazz is what is missing this season and only one man can bring it back.
Hence let us all shout at top of our voices – Abki Baar….