Sunday, December 14, 2008



The IPL was certainly one of the most talked about things. No one knew how it would turn out to be, whether it would succeed, what impact it would have on world Cricket etc. For the first time Cricketers were auctioned and so, many expressed their opinions on this issue with Adam Gilchrist even saying that he felt like cattle. Certainly from the player’s point of view, it is not fair to be putting a price on the cricketers this way. It makes them look like just commodities in the hands of the buyers and I think this was visible in the game too..............

When the players play for their country, that itself is the greatest motivation. There are no two thoughts about it. That in itself is the greatest honour, so players give it their all while playing for their country and if some are not doing well, there are many options. They can easily be replaced because all over the country there are many eager to play. So in international cricket when players are playing for their country, they are not the only ones accountable. The aim is to put forward the best possible team out of all the players in the country but in the IPL, the owners of the team, they have put in their money and so it means way too much for them and if their team doesn’t do well, they can go for the neck of their captain or anyone else involved with the team. The example was the team of Bangalore. Vijay Mallaya’s Royal Challengers from Bangalore did not do too well but that is how it is going to turn out to be. For somebody to become number one, others have to be below it. Some one will have to come last too otherwise how can the others be on top. So this aspect is different where a win is important at all costs. If you lose, you will be asked questions from the owners.
The difference in IPL and ODIs is that in ODIs, you just put the best team and you can constantly change it whereas in IPL, whatever team you have selected at the beginning, you just have to try and get the best out of it and so it was no surprise that teams with great leaders came in the Finals.
Shane Warne, they say one of the best captains Australia never had and M.S.Dhoni who has already proved that he is turning out to be India’s best captain. These two undoubtedly have the ability to motivate their players and bring out the best in them. Although Warne’s Rajasthan weren’t the best team with best players and neither was Dhoni’s Chennai but it was these captains who were most responsible for taking their teams up to the finals and Rajasthan really deserved to win looking at the way they played throughout the tournament.

The auctioning process itself too is interesting. Obviously all the owners and coaches with captains would have made a general list of the players they want, with difference of opinion there too but in the actual auction, you have to make changes to what team you had planned. I don’t think anyone would have decided a team beforehand and got exactly that team. In the actual process, you take some players you had not thought of or decided on and some you wanted and were keen on might just go out of hand because how much money you are willing to play for what player is important. That’s why personally I am in favour of this process because it brings in things other than just playing Cricket. It brings about planning, Management skills, coordination and getting the best team with minimum cost. So not the team that only plays best wins but the team that gets all this right too along with playing well will win.

Also one good thing about planning the IPL is that they intended to get something else beside the money too. The format of compulsorily having under 19 players and limited players from other countries playing in a team. Certainly India is the one to be benefited from all this with the youngsters getting a chance to show what they can do on this big stage besides sharing their rooms with the greats of the game which is the fastest learning process. Some things are only learnt like this perhaps by watching the greats of the game from close quarters, seeing how they prepare, asking a few questions etc. I am sure the young players would have learnt so much in these 45 days which they would not have in all their years earlier.

It would again be the only time that we would get to see the great battles of Warne-Tendulkar and so many other players. Also the interesting scenario of same team mates playing against each other and former foes joining hands with each other. For the first time so many players from so many places coming together and each contributing his own unique ideas according to the way Cricket is played in their part and his own experience, this confluence of great minds is going to enrich the game tremendously.
Also the interesting thought of whether the crowd at the ground would support their team or Indian players in any team. I feel this has been answered and people have generally taken the sides of the teams rather than players.

Personally too it has been my experience. I was supporting the Mumbai Indians for some reasons not necessary to disclose but quite obvious and for the first time in my life I was getting happy when Sanath Jayasuriya was belting the bowlers all over and for the first time I was wanting him to do well. I enjoyed watching the Mumbai Indians tremendously, specially the coming together of former captains and geniuses of their games- Tendulkar, Jayasuriya and Pollock was great to see. This trio was an amazing combination specially because each of them has tremendous respect and admiration for each other so it was something special. Jayasuriya – one of the oldest in the game had the most child like enthusiasm and they were constantly putting their ideas together. And what an opportunity for anyone in the Mumbai Indians team. If I was there, I would have constantly watched the three of them and would have absorbed so much just being there, an absolute heaven for any Cricket lover. I hope the other players in the team specially the youngsters in the team did not miss out on this opportunity of seeing how their minds worked.

And soon everyone became aware of the great fact when disclosed by Aamir Khan that Sachin Tendulkar was able to predict what ball was going to be bowled before it happened!!! I am sure it is the same with Sanath and when they came in to bat, it was again fun because no one needs to tell them what to do and it is only anyone’s guess what these two would be talking between overs. But personally too I had observed many times Sachin Tendulkar getting into position to play a particular shot even before the ball being released. Just watch his paddle sweep to medium or fast bowlers and you would know.
And it was not coincidence that Sanath Jayasuriya came into his own as soon as Sachin returned to the team. Since then, Sanath was unstoppable.

The dynamic opening pair of Jayasuriya and Tendulkar for Mumbai Indians
Now the only point of concern is that other Cricket Boards are not going to keep quiet and let Indian Board run away with all the money. They too will undoubtedly start their own Twenty-20 leagues and so the only question is what will happen to this game.
But this game has seen many changes and has been big enough to accommodate all and has survived so long so I am sure things will work out and I am not worrying for it at present.
I am now only looking forward to next year’s IPL carnival to begin again and things coming to a standstill for those many days and more importantly Mumbai Indians doing well enough and being among the top teams because that’s where they belong!
Interesting fact- Kolkata Knight Riders had 2 current captains of International Teams:Ricky Ponting (Australia) & Chris Gayle(West Indies)Also, team had 2 ex-captains:Saurav Ganguly(India) and Tatenda Taibu(Zimbabwe).
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