IPL: A bit of cricket and lots more

Last Updated: May 27, 2011, 17:40 PM IST

Vineet Ramakrishnan

Indian Premier League is definitely the golden goose for BCCI and it is going strong in the fourth season with its golden eggs. Now, some critics might differ here saying the TRPs of IPL 4 have gone down in comparison to the earlier seasons, but somehow viewership is on a high. Strange!!!

Things changed a lot this season, new auctions, induction of two news teams, Kochi Tuskers and Pune Warriors and most importantly the absence of Lalit Modi, the face of IPL. Not many thought that IPL would be able to sustain itself without their head honcho, but somehow it is crawling its way up. Another change was that of KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) winning.

But some things just remain as they are, and no, it’s not cricket, it’s something more than that. Let’s take a look.

Controversies

IPL just cannot be IPL without the controversies. It’s like the lifeline for IPL. They both go hand in hand with cricket being the add-on factor. IPL has traditionally been the breeding ground for controversies over the years.

Be it the fake IPL blogger, the tax issues or Lalit Modi himself. This year too, the IPL got spiced up with the cheerleader Gabriella Pasqualotto’s blog ‘The Secret Diary of an IPL Cheerleader’. This edition also witnessed the ugly and serious allegation of authorities favouring a certain team and the misuse of home ground advantage. Social networking seems to be the potent weapon for these controversies and when Sanjay Dixit tweeted ‘Mumbai are sore losers’, Bal Thackeray would have taken notice.

The worst was yet to come. When Shane Warne got himself into trouble with the man of the moment Sanjay Dixit again, even Liz Hurley was nowhere to be seen.

The one, the only - Dada

Again, Sourav Ganguly, on the field or off it, he will have the spotlight for sure. Right from the auctions to his comeback as the Pune Warrior, IPL followers have been busy supporting Dada rather than watching the matches. Kolkata even boycotted KKR’s first match at Eden for Ganguly. And it’s not at all new to him. Every season has had a share of Ganguly-exclusive embroilments. Be it the tiff with SRK or being at the centre of multi-captain theory, one just can’t keep this guy out of the picture for long.

Presentation

Well, commentary is one thing that makes IPL more annoying than anything else. With due respect to the elite panel of commentators including, Robin Jackman, Harsha Bhogle and many more, mediocrity has prevailed in this department.

Brad Hogg, who wore the Australian colours during the fag end of his career, is very energetic when it comes to commenting. He would put in all the fancy adjectives like ‘sssseeeeennsational fielding’; ‘brrrrillliant work’ just when he sees a player bending down to pick up the ball.

Danny Morrison on the other hand seems to like it short and crisp just like his career. Danny once called a player ‘GG’ and after 2 overs or so Harsha Bhogle had to clarify that he was referring to Gautam Gambhir.

Ravi Shastri, as he is now, is always on steroids when he has the mike in his hand and the one liners like “it went like a trace of bullet” can be heard when he is on. ‘Citi moment of success’ and ‘Carbon Kamal catch’ now have a right to a place in proper cricketing terminologies.

Zimbabweans Alistair Campbell and Pommie Mbangwa are definitely doing the saving grace act for the broadcasters.

Speaking of the broadcasters, one thing that remains static are the utterly amusing phrases of Navjot Singh Sidhu, sometimes clearly out of context and the show called, “Extraaa Innings”.

It all started with Mandira Bedi, and carrying the baton forward are Samir Kochhar and a few cine-world outcasts like him.

As if cheerleaders were not enough to grab eye balls, Archana Vijaya and Shibani Dandhkar can been seen on the sidelines prowling for a victim with minimalistic clothing to showcase their cricketing knowledge, which unfortunately comes to around zero. A guy named Yudi is also there along with the girls.

Shibani to Mike Young: I heard you have come all the way from USA, how was the long journey?

Mike Young: I have been here in this region and Australia for past 8 years or so, so I came a long way back.

Yudi to Dhawal Kulkarni: So Dhawal, how does it feel to be in the same side as Sachin Tendulkar?

Dhawal Kulkarni: I have been in the same team as Sachin for the past 3 years.

So, clearly IPL has more to it than just cricket. Enjoy.

PS: There is a strong conspiracy theory going around that Archana Vijaya was very influential in selecting the Delhi Daredevils squad at the auction.