Well Lalit Modi is back.India's newly-found most awaited sporting event of the year makes a comeback,this time in the fastest emerging country for cricket locations,South Africa.The fact that its not being held in India makes little difference to me as I would have seen all the matches on TV either way.But getting down to the event itself,well its turning out to be as good as any Heroes episode,isn't it?
This time the IPL has had twists RIGHT from the start.The defending champions Rajasthan Royals led by the most-talked about captain of 2008 are now trying to sweep up a 'royal' mess;the Delhi Daredevils who provided at best a slightly-above average performance last year are now battling for top position;with none other than the team that finished last in the 1st season (and the one I chose to keep my faith in despite last year's paltry performance),the Deccan Chargers.But wait,its not over yet!The 1st edition's runners-up,the Chennai Super Kings,are now playing a tug of war for 4th position (at least) with probably the most bashed team of last year,the Royal Challengers Bangalore! Vijay Mallya,take a bow (and not a nervous swig).The Kings XI Punjab team continues with the form they were in last year,and the Mumbai Indians are putting up a much tougher resistance than last time.
So that covers all the tea....OH.Wait.I seem to have missed one out.Ah! Of course,its difficult to spot right at the bottom anyhow;the most glorified team of the IPL...King Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders.I always felt the advertising of this team was way too much,and now that has finally acted against them.The only time you will now see a happy member from that team would be during an advertisement.EVERYTHING has gone wrong for this team otherwise.From the controversial 4-captain theory,to Sourav Ganguly's dismal luck with Australian coaches and now,the Fake IPL Player blogger (chances are he's reading this himself).And that is just OFF the field predicaments.Last year's bat-brandishing knight from New Zealand Brendon McCullum now plays it easy by scoring a maximum of maybe 19,Chris Gayle believes in the Sehwag theory of '3 fours and a dismissal' and well,everyone else is happily dropping catches and batting at test match paces.The only ones putting up a fight are Bengal Tiger Sourav Ganguly and Aussie Brad Hodge.This team has almost certainly bagged last spot this season.
Another interesting thing about this year's IPL is how,despite it being called the 'young man's game' and all,its the classic veterans who are tearing the bowling apart.Matthew Hayden,Adam Gilchrist,Sanath Jayasuriya,Sachin Tendulkar,Jacques Kallis are people well in their late 30s but are playing like excited 15 year-olds.One just can't help smiling at their Viking spirit.Also surprising statisticians are the spinners.Sure,guys like Yusuf Abdulla,RP Singh and Lasith Malinga and 'firing it in the blockhole',but its been people like Pragyan Ojha,Anil Kumble,Shane Warne,Harbhajan Singh and even Suresh Raina who are actually turning out to be the partnership destroyers.
This season of the IPL has also seen the introduction of the Tactical Time Out,a 7.5 minute mandatory break after 10 overs for both teams to strategize and plan for the rest of the innings.Its a very fair decision of course,but its also a party pooper at times,being the main reason for the downfall of a set batting side on numerous occasions and the jinxed 16th over or the 'over of death.
I personally am enjoying this time of year as my exams are over,next 2 years are set and all I need to do is put on the TV and watch these matches.Shocking,dismaying,exciting,heart-stopping...no this is not the new Bond film,but the DLF IPL season 2.