Looking Back On the IPL

69 Comments

And now as the dust settles on the wham-bam mega cricket mujra, the cheerleaders pack up their sports bras, Priety Zinta goes back to hugging only Ness Wadia, Dada goes back to putting needles in Dhoni’s voodoo doll, Shahrukh Khan tries to forget the man with the throwing arm and Mallya gets high on his own supply of Kingfisher to forget the pain, it is time for a long look back at the revolution that was the first season of IPL.

Rajasthan Royals: From trying to save his marriage by asking his mistress to seduce his wife and coax her into a threesome to taking illegal substances, Shane Warne has never been known for his sound judgment or sharp mind. Which is why the tactical acumen and inspirational leadership that he displayed through the tournament was even the more surprising.

A captain is as good as his team.

True.

But sometimes a team becomes as good as the captain.

And this is exactly what happened as Warne lifted a bunch of no-hopers to become the rightful winners of the diamond-and-precious-stone encrusted monstrosity otherwise known as the IPL trophy (I honestly expected the trophy to open and reveal orderly lines of kaju barfi or “electric sparklers” from Shivkasi— so classy was that work of art).

Throughout the tournament, the Rajasthan Royals consistently outperformed everyone else —match after match doing the basic things correctly with everyone in the team from the Graeme Smiths to the Neeraj Patels pulling their weight. It is definitely then not a co-incidence that their ranks threw up the highest wicket taker (Sohail Tanveer) , the second highest wicket taker (Warne), the undisputed player of the tournament (Shane Watson), the break-through performer of the IPL (Yousuf Pathan) and one of IPL’s biggest success stories (Swapnil Asnodkar).

And Warne was consistently at the forefront, whether it be in throwing up challenges to the opposition—-getting Yousuf Pathan to bowl to Adam Gilchrist in the third over of a game, changing bowlers rapidly in one match while letting bowlers have continuous 3-over spells in another other (Sohail Tanveer bowled 3 overs on the trot at the end of the final), or in thrashing Symonds to win a match with his bat or in bowling brilliantly (his flummoxing Dhoni in an amazing sequence of deliveries in one of the league games being one of the tournament highlights).

If only to prove how much of an influence Warne was to the team, the Royals lost to the Punjab Kings XI in one of the dead matches that Shane Warne sat out.

Co-incidence? Perhaps not.

So awesomely groovy was the Rajasthan Royals that Bainsla may very well be tempted to ask for a Gujjar quota in the XI next season.

Chennai Super Kings: Dhoni made two big mistakes that cost him the IPL. One was sending the very average Kapugedera before the vastly more talented Badrinath as Kapu Di Tuti Kapu wasted precious deliveries that in the final analysis proved to be the difference between the two sides. And the other, even biggest mistake was preferring Balaji the Laxmipati, who has taken the song “Balaji zyada dheere karo” to heart and emerged as Venkatesh Prasad Version 2.0 with his repertoire of slow and slower deliveries over Joginder Sharma, Dhoni’s four-level clover, as the bowler of the “last over” . Now I am not suggesting that Joginder is a better bowler than Balaji, it’s just that he seems to have a “Chirag-e-Aladdin” stuffed somewhere in his trousers which he rubs just before bowling the final over of any tight match, an act that enables him to pull off one unbelievable performance after another.

Figure 1: The Fans Have Spoken [Video Link]

Chennai Super Kings did an amazing job of team selection by creating a core of strong T20 Indian batsmen (Patel, Raina, Dhoni and Badrinath) and then supplementing that power with foreign imports. (Fleming, Hayden and Hussey). If there was any problem they had it was that their bowling initially over-relied on Murali, who was at most a moderate success at the IPL. However Murali’s lack of string was more than adequately covered up by the sensational Albie Morkel, the sometimes monochromatic Ntini and yet another discovery of the IPL, Punjab da puttar Manpreet Goni , whom I am sure Priety Zinta would have much preferred to cuddle up to than the cry-baby Sreesanth.

Delhi Daredevils: Delhi followed a squad selection policy very much like Chennai. That is they had a strong base of T20 Indian specialist batsmen (Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhawan, Kartik and Manoj Tiwari) which was to be supplemented by the likes of Dilshan, Shoaib Malik and A B De Villiers. However unlike Chennai whose foreign and Indian hires earned their signing fees, Delhi’s middle order stars never showed up leaving an exploitable lacuna in the middle. Manoj Tiwari bombed, Kartik played one innings of note, A B De Villiers (average 19.00) was out of form and Shoaib Malik (average 13.00) seemed to be weighed down by the bad karma of denying marriage to an overweight Indian fiance. McGrath was stellar. Maharoof chipped in. But with Mohammed Asif leaking runs at 9.25 an over and Brett Greeves at 11.37, Sehwag was probably better of calling Laloo Yadav’s son to bowl (The Delhi Daredevils, in one of its most inspired moves, hired this boy genius even though his statistics chart is as bare as Bihar’s fodder stores after Laloo has gone through them) if only for the entertainment that would have provided.

Like the following PJ:

Mother: Here is our son. I have decided to call him Mahesh.

Father (who likes the hiphop life-style): Yo Mahesh !

Mother: Okay that is his name then.

Brother (who also likes the hiphop life-style) Yo Yo Mahesh.

I know that’s bad. Shoaib Malik was even worse.

Figure 2: Oye is main coconut proteins hain.

King’s Punjab XI: There is a reason why Yuvraj Singh, despite oodles of talent, will always remain an also-ran, on the verge of greatness but never quite there, condemned to advise Sreesanth about his dandruff. And that reason is that he lacks the ability to seize the moment, a quality that most great sportsmen have. In Australia, he botched his chance to be a permanent member of the Test team with his “Deepika left me” Devdas melt-down.

And here at the IPL semi-finals, after his super-performing number 1 batsman had dragged the ball onto his stumps and his number 2 batsman had walked in a show of godly honesty, his team was looking to him to finally to take center-stage.

What does he do?

He once again drops the ball.

Paradoxically for the Kings, Shaun Marsh’s Bradmanesque batting, Sangakkara’s consistency and the efficacy of the Sreesanth-Irfan bowling partnership papered over many a shortcoming—James Hope’s blow hot blow cold batting, Yuvraj’s indifferent form, the fact that without any mainline Indian T20 batsman (except Yuvi), there was an over-dependence on foreign players and that while Irfan Pathan and Chawla might have their days, expecting Pathan to come in at 6 and bail the team out of trouble was expecting a bit too much.

And so as Yuvraj and the team sit and contemplate what might have been, they can all feel warm in the memory of Priety Zinta’s galvanizing hugs, those fleeting moments of bliss when the world almost lay in their hands and what they wanted was close to their hearts.

Mumbai Indians They were down and out. Losing matches on the trot. And then God smiled on them. Harbhajan unleashed his most surprising delivery since 2001 on Sreesanth’s cheek. He ended up on the bench. Pollock took over. The Indians made a miraculous turn-around. And then Sachin came back. Bravo left. Things were not really the same. A few close games went the other way. Mumbai were out of the semi-finals.

So what happened?

As the games got more frenetic, a second’s delay in responding became crucial. This is when the age of Mumbai’s team began to show. Sachin dives inside the ring as the ball speeds past him, Pollock mistimes a dive at the boundary and with the fate of the match in balance, Sanath Jayasuriya fumbles the ball as the return comes in. Add to that the follies of the young old man—beanpole Ashish Nehra and bigfoot Dilhara Fernando and one begins to understand where Mumbai lost its intensity. Which was a pity because Sanath Jayasuriya and Shaun Pollock, two champion sportsmen of the 90s, threw back the years, turned on the magic and brought a lump back to the throats of us old-timers. We wanted more. Alas it was not to be.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Face it. IPL is all about dollars and cents. And in that respect, there was only one winner. Shahrukh Khan. Kolkata Knight Riders, buoyed by an almost fanatical support from the city, record ticket sales and the presence of the King, is the only team to date to make a sizeable profit. (The Royals will break even, all the others will take in losses). Not just money, the IPL was a “total victory” for the Badshahrukh as evidenced in this picture of warmth and passion.

So what if the team got thrashed in the process?

After all, as a wise hammer once said: “Kabhi kabhi jeetne ke liye kuch haarna padta hain, aur haar kar jeetne waale ko baazigar kahte hain.”

Bangalore Royal Challengers: Nothing much remains to be said that has not been said here.

Deccan Chargers: A laughably weak bowling attack made it impossible for them to defend any total, no matter how Gilchrist batted and no matter how Rohit Sharma dazzled. One felt bad for the luminescent Rohit Sharma, he deserved to finish on the winning team more than twice out of fourteen.

Figure 3: Arun Lal in and as Mr. Purple in Kund Ke Kutte [Reservoir Dogs] giving the finger to cricketing wisdom

And now to the rest.

Over a month, the English language underwent a metamorphosis as names of corporations became legitimate adjectives. So much so that the following conversation fragment was heard:

Friends to guy: So how did your date go?

Guy: I had wanted to go DLF maximum with her but she said that unless I promise to marry her, I won’t get even a single Citi moment of success.

And with rumors of “Viagra standout performer “to be introduced into the lexicon next season, expect even more changes to the Queen’s English.

The commentary was of course of the highest standards. From Ranjeet Fernando’s pronunciation of Pathan with the “th” as in Bath and his placing of emphasis in unconventional places (He EEEES a good player) to Ravi Shastri’s pseudo-erotic “Goni is a strong strapping lad who comes in hard”, Arun Lal’s Zen wisdom (“In the last five overs, teams look to score a lot of runs” or “Ntini is bowling fast. He is a fast bowler”), there is no greater joy than listening to these Gods of the mike explain the subtleties of this great game.

Add to this the cheerleader controversies, the moments of agony, ecstasy, excellence, drama and one can safely say that we look forward to the Karmayudh (after all karma is nothing but for money only) starting all over again.

Next year.

[Pictures courtesy Times of India and here]

Advertisements

69 thoughts on “Looking Back On the IPL

  1. “So awesomely groovy was the Rajasthan Royals that Bainsla may very well be tempted to ask for a Gujjar quota in the XI next season.”
    Gud one 🙂

  2. Whoa! Modi goes for the adage ‘What you see is what you get.’ My My!

    Well its over for this year, true, but all the Arun Lalism’s will still be haunting my memory registers for a long period with his pearls of wisdom while he goes “Oh! He’s a good player with the bat and thats why he bats well.” clearing the common misconception that there’s a lot of depth in a batsman than just playing with the bat.

    As for Shane Warne, he’s da man. I remember the first match they lost I was already eliminating them from my mental knockout list while keeping B’lore on the high. How wrong can I be. Cheers to Warne for smoking in the stands.

    Splendid!

  3. what about the ididots who compered the extraaaaa innings …. i want mandira bedi back… btw saw the kicked out charu sharma with mandira ji on times now during the final… nostalgic it was

  4. To sum up, all the masala was there..perfect The Great Indian Saga. Nobody expected any less, right!

    Let the magic roll, thode saal mein ye formula bhi stale hone wala hai..

  5. Good post Greatbong.
    I agree and enjoy with most things you said.
    I find that you were surprised by Warne’s captaincy.I wasn’t.I have seen Warne captain in a few one day games for Australia and also for his county side.He is arguably the best captain I have seen and wanted to see a lot more off(on the cricket ground).He was hailed by Richie benaud and Ian chappell as someone who could be their best captain after keith miller.

  6. That Shane Warne is a good captain is not a surprise. He has done great at Hampshire and nearly took them to the county championship. They also won a one-day tournament after he took over. More and more players from Hampshire are also making it into the England team.
    Pietersen, Tremlett, Mascrenhas

  7. well, joginder sharma had two last overs where he had to defend 15 runs and on both occasions, almost gave it away.
    Balaji went for more than 40 in just 2 matches, which is par for the course. I dont think his economy rate was bad. He might not be good enough for the Indian international T20 team. But I think Chennai had hardly any other option.
    And Balaji went for 8 runs in his final over. I’m sure Joginder would have given away as much in 3 balls, exactly like he did in his previous 2 opportunities to bowl the last over. Lets have some perspective.

    But I’m disappointed that CSK failed to cap the exquisitely-named Napoleon Einstein. I mean, pretty much Chamara, Abhinav and Anirudh all had extended special appearances. Badri himself was vastly under utilized. They might have given NE a chance, just to get him a better statistics page than junior Laloo.

  8. I’m quite hurt at Rameez Raja not getting a mention in the piece praising the commentators. After all, who could have come up with such a masterpiece when asked who he thought would win – “I think Chennai may play well today.. but if they don’t play well, then Rajasthan will win”

    And btw, Joginder didn’t play the final, so he could not have been chosen to bowl the last over. In any case, I think Balaji, in spite of his inclination to emulate Prasad, would be a better choice than Joginder..

  9. “In Australia, he botched his chance to be a permanent member of the Test team with his “Deepika left me” Devdas melt-down.”

    Classic!

  10. A few pointers:
    (1) Balaji had way too many more runs to defend, than Sharmna.
    (2) Kapugedara was sent in before Badri by their coach, not Dhoni, who was batting at that time…..and it was an impulsive gamble which did not pay off.
    (3) Shane Warne will definitely go down as the greatest captain the beer guzzlers never had.
    (4) In all fairness, credit should go to Pollock for the turnaround in the fortunes of Mumbai Indians.
    (5) I’ll always be left wondering why of all people, Hrithik never made a stadium appearance, even at the Wankhede and/or D Y Patil.

    However, SRK’s proved that he is the king of entertainment…..or should I rephrase it to include cricketainment, as well.

  11. “Those fleeting moments of bliss when the world almost lay in their hands and what they wanted was close to their hearts.”

    :))))))

    And the pics ..

    :))))))

    :))))))

  12. “…..those fleeting moments of bliss when the world almost lay in their hands and what they wanted was close to their hearts.”

    ROTFL!!!!

  13. “those fleeting moments of bliss when the world almost lay in their hands and what they wanted was close to their hearts.” – Great Bong!

    Arun Lal is like my old prof

    “open the window and let some atmosphere come in!!!! ”

    Man! I am a fan,esp your choice of pics!! This was one of the most hilarious ones i have read!

    thank you Sir Greatbong!

  14. The comment on Arul Lal’s commentary was hilarious…Why dont u write a blog abt the various commentators we have?

  15. Awesome Arnab!
    I’ll be waiting for the IPL to start again next year (and to read your blog) more than I’ll be waiting for the Lost Season 5!!

  16. Sheer delight! I have been reading your blogs for a few weeks now and it has become addictive, to say the least. The wedding one being my favorite. Thank you for the wonderful writings.

  17. This is my first ever comment on your blog. You write very well. The pics in this post are excellent…too good…:)

  18. Arnab,

    What changes would you make to the T20 to

    -keep a game on edge till the last over

    -ensure the party doesn’t fold up when the tail-enders walk in

    -we get a full three hours of excitement and not a much curtailed game when one team gets skittled out for nothing – as when the KKR were polished off by MI for 67 all out.

    There is heck of a lot of sharp running going on. Now which game was that (Punjab XI vs. ?) when there were 5 runouts in one inning?

    I am thinking of Game 7, top of the 9th Inning, in the 1997 MLB World Series when the Cleveland Indians just needed to strike out 2 batters of the Marlins to win. Instead they conceded 4 runs and lost the whole series. Or like this year’s Superbowl which was decided in the last 5 minutes. We have had plenty of last ball decisions this time in the IPL and no bowl outs. But Duckworth-Lewis decisions are disgusting.

  19. well …..jhakaas post boss!!
    btw ,do the last 2 pics signify something?
    something related to the saas-bahu bonhomie b/w the two ladies,as on Indian telly??
    ignore if your answer’s no.

  20. You know due to certain time constraints I could not comment much on this blog recently, but I have been seeing comments like “Your standards are going down”, “You are no more as funny as you were etc.” I want to tell to those people out there that if any of you morons do not think that this post was the work of a genius, then you deserve to be in all day screenings of ‘Sex and the City’ for 7 consecutive days in the company of ball-busting bitches. Chances are that if you do not like this post or fail to recognize the genius of GB, you will actually like that experience.

    There is a reason why this blogger is the best Indian blogger- no trying to compensate for writing skills by hanging on like a climber to other writers in the media via hyperlinks, or trying to target particular demographics or sex by saying good things about them which would even make them say “Eww”, or trying to write an article thinking of how niche prize judges would review it – thereby compromising on authenticity, trying to sensationalize casualty reports by posting pre-written posts from a flash drive in a remote cyber cafe ensconced in the knowledge that there would be no challenge to accountability (Love stories and rivers tug heart strings), and recursively referring to one’s purportedly own views (actually culled from various sources) with monotonous regularity till a facade of originality is bestowed to that artificial body of work. And if you run out of options, there is the conspicuous absence of that road-side detour sign – “Read the full thing here.” This kind of writing is blogging at its best- hyperlinks only when necessary, not trying to guess what word to use next so that a past article can be linked, impeccable choice of pictures to complement a magical juxtaposition of satirical words. There is a veneer of levity, but the serious reader will be suitably rewarded with enough nuance and depth if he invests sufficient time. To all those who are newly discovering this master, I say, “You are lucky.”

    Classy post GB. Hats off!

  21. “If only to prove how much of an influence Warne was to the team, the Royals lost to the Punjab Kings XI in one of the dead matches that Shane Warne sat out.”

    arre yaar, surely you know better than that.
    marsh ran miles away with the game and warne couldn’t have done a thing about it.

  22. “Priety Zinta’s galvanizing hugs, those fleeting moments of bliss when the world almost lay in their hands and what they wanted was close to their hearts.”………

    ROTFL.. priceless, man GB !!!!!!!

  23. You summed it right,GB

    Personally , enjoyed IPL due to Shane Warne

    Greatest entertainer cricket has ever seen
    Greatest ever Leg spinner
    Best captain for raw start-up
    Best never-a-Captain of Australian Test team
    Cool practioner of literally a dying art-smoking

  24. Bahut sahi hai…

    IPL was Desi version of NFL/Super Bowl…only better 🙂
    It should be shortened to 4 weeks IMO.. and yes no 2 IPLs in one season plz. Although, with Pawar’s greed, you can never tell

  25. To another year…of Sanath sparkling, Sanga stunning, Murali’s magic, Mahela marshalling, Vaas waning, Malinga’s Slingas, Dilshan’s dives, Ajantha’s asphyxiations, Dilhara’s dollies…and the roof…the roof…the MAHAROOOOOF on fire…

    (Maharoof did way more than “chip in”…he bloody out-wicketed McGrath, had a better economy rate and saved Delhi twice with the bat).

    Sigh, I miss the IPL… and dissing Bengalis/Bangaloreans.

  26. As some commentators have already mentioned, the last over Balaji did bowl well(the other 3 overs were bad)

    I have so far only read your views but this one time I have actually seen the match you are writing about and I am surprised about with the glaring mistakes.

  27. as husband was TOTALLY immersed in this here IPL tamasha, i tried to look up the young handsome men in the neighbourhood.
    ALAS, they were also glued to their tv sets.

    damn the IPL!

  28. brilliant post as usual. some people have commented on the past few posts saying GB has lost his edge/wit/whatever… well, none of them can say that after this post. ROTFL over and over again! not to forget the superb analysis and recall of events that accompanies the humour. truly you are a master.
    just disagree on one point: joginder sharma may have bowled the last over in matches that were won in the last over, but he always had a lot of runs to defend – 15 in all cases if i remember rightly. with that kind of cushion you’d expect him to pull it off, so i don’t think he is better than balaji on that basis. even otherwise, balaji seems to be a much better bowler, so wouldn’t fault dhoni on his choice.

    @nikhil: you’ve come tomorrow, you’re too late! 🙂 GB has already linked this absolutely iconic video in his post dated May 9th – Bangalore Royally Challenged.

  29. “(I honestly expected the trophy to open and reveal orderly lines of kaju barfi or “electric sparklers” from Shivkasi— so classy was that work of art).”……………………….
    …………………………………………………….
    …………………………………………………….
    ” From Ranjeet Fernando’s pronunciation of Pathan with the “th” as in Bath and his placing of emphasis in unconventional places (He EEEES a good player) to Ravi Shastri’s pseudo-erotic “Goni is a strong strapping lad who comes in hard”……………………………………….
    ……………………………………………………
    Priceless :))……………………………………….
    ……………………………………………………
    ……………………………………………………
    And heres an uber desi take on the lalit modi preity zinta pic uve put up (Link NSFW)

    http://www.debonairblog.com/blog/2008/05/lalit_modi_looking_at_preity_zintas_ass_caption_co.html

  30. Brilliant Post! Absolutely enjoyed it! One of the best in recent times and i’m a long time follower. The choice of visuals are exquisite, as ever!

    And to someone who said ‘yourfan’ should be writing a blog – he sure writes well but then his very post here is very good example why he shouldnt! lol. It perhaps brings out the difference between him and GB! Period.

  31. A great summary of the IPL!! You spared no one from your unapologetic and caustic critique, while also commending those who deserved praise.

    Lolz @ Arun Lal and his “fast” gems, Shastri for his unintentional eroticism and Ranjeet Fernando for being phonetically void!!

    Lolz @ Lalit Modi checking out Preity’s backside!! May be he was getting ideas about his next multi-billion dollar successful business venture!! 😛

    And Yea, you are right – it was remarkable and surprising to see a man whose private life has been utterly sordid, rise to such extraordinary heights! It was great (and even heart warming) to see Warne in such excellent spirits as he lead a team full of so much confidence and camaraderie.

    Whatever you and anyone may say to look down upon or otherwise castigate, we all loved the IPL and am sure can’t wait before the next edition! Till then, Euro 2008 will keep us company!

  32. “A laughably weak bowling attack ” for DC??? they had two of the best bowlers in WC t20 (RP and Afridi) a few months back and a very capable chaminda vaas.You can say tht because of their dismal performance but i dnt think they erred that much in selecting bowlers…as compared to them, some of the other sides look to have weaker bowling…like KKR had only ishant sharma…no one else. RR had a injury prone watson, a kicked out from indian side mainly on attitude basis – munaf and shane warne who hasnt been very successful in india.

  33. Lets also not forget Ranjit Fernando’s usual comment when a six was hit “….and Yuvraj comes to the party….”

Have An Opinion? Type Away

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s