It is really hard to describe the IPL in just a few words. I believe any sports fan would see the stark reality involved in the same. To begin with, the IPL has become a TV Soap more or less. Do not ask me which category, anything would do I guess.
There is indeed a lot of political colour involved. Suddenly the guys who play for one's nation becomes hated for no logical reason. Shifting the IPL from India to South Africa in the first place is quite a feat though I would say with the money Lalit has, it comes as no surprise.
Recently, while watching the fag end of a match, I got to see a fan (old woman sitting among the VIPs) holding a prayer book seemingly and saying prayers. I could not help laughing. Do they really appreciate good cricket? One can actually debate as to whether T20 brings the best in Cricket or is it simply organized chaos and mayhem.
It is very early to comment about the teams' performance but cannot help it. It is the IPL after all. Very closely fought matches, rise of the spinners, South Africa is the Country for Old Men. Jokes apart, certain teams like Knight Riders and Royal Challengers have continued to look like Greek tragedies.
The ruckus and ballyhoo over Andrew Flintoff ended when he had to return owing to injury. Suddenly he reminds me of Achilles, only difference being Freddie had a problem on the knee. To any cricket lover, not using players like Collingwood is simply inexplicable. There are in fact many names.
George Bailey for the Super Kings, Mashrafe Mortaza for Knight Riders (was he just a toy for two Bollywood starlets?), using Roelof van der Merwe so late when he has been quite a revelation for the South African team against the Aussies.
If there is something that has continued well from the initial version, it has to be the way the cameramen capture the cheerleaders. It is absolutely pathetic. Those girls look athletic nonetheless unlike Mandira Bedi who is trying to fascinate audiences with her looks and dressing: I wish I could say in a typical Geoffrey Boycott tone, "Even my grandmother could do better than that"
Besides it was quite a funny thing to watch Mr Boycott share the stands with Shilpa Shetty who was very good in showing that she has a big mouth literally by smiling and laughing whenever Warnie and his boys showed traces of last year's form.
Teams like the Super Kings and Royals have had bad starts this year. But the real saving grace of the tournament are the Deccan Chargers. Gilly has definitely made the team look different this year. Dhoni (I only have respect for this guy) looks more like he is playing the IAL (Indian Advertising League) than the IPL. Quite a bankable player still in all ways.
The tournament is far from over. There are times when one get the fishy feeling that something is wrong about the matches. One match which went to the wire had Lalit Modi chanting "Come on guys, we need a Bowl-Out" in the final overs. The match resulted in a Super Over anyways. I guess Lalit Modi has some way to orchestrate things when it comes to the IPL. The charity initiative seems noble though he still is getting more than we can think of.
The few players who have stood out and shown great cricket so far include: Shane Warne, Yusuf Pathan, Matthew Hayden (will he be called back by the Aussies?), Anil Kumble, Sachin, Dirk Nannes, Dilshan, Gilchrist, RP Singh, Yusuf Abdulla, Merwe, Brad Hodge. I will definitely welcome any names that I may have missed.
Many teams have shown a problem of plenty. Knight Riders seems to be having a problem of having plenty of problems within them. It is indeed a saddening fact to see such an outfit at the bottom of the table though quite a few people tell me that they deserve it. Well their future is going to look even more dramatic and uncertain as of now.
The IPL has indeed become a relief at times for me and also a replacement for the never ending list of reality shows that my folks at home watch. Though my mom still retorts that the IPL is just pure showbiz and its looks all planned, I do not why, I end up watching it. Anyways its early days to say if the IPL would become really something in the future.
In Mr King Khan's own words I would like to end "Picture abhi bhi baakhi hai" (The show still goes on, its not over yet).