April 28, 2010


Thank you, IPL, you complete me

Andrew Hughes

You know the IPL is over when you begin to miss Mandira Bedi © AFP
The post-IPL landscape is strewn with bleary-eyed and confused souls, people such as you and me, fellow cricket tragics, who must somehow soldier on in a world where intervals of time are not sponsored and big beige balloons go unworshipped. Ahead of us, a bleak, barren prospect, with no bat on ball action to look forward to for three long, tedious days until the World Twenty20 gets underway.

And behind us, an implausible seven-week long party that seemed as though it would never end, yet suddenly did, at eight o’clock on Sunday night. The IPL final has already passed into my subconscious and I can only recollect it dimly, like a man with a hangover trying to reconstruct the night before. Were there really hovercrafts? Did Harbhajan bat at four? Was there a 50-metre high cricketer? Or was it the gin?

So as I sipped my coffee on Monday morning, my skull still reverberating to the echo of a tumult of horns and drums, I pondered how best to sum up the IPL. But how do you begin to describe the ineffable? Perhaps with carefully weighed judgements, sober analysis and objective conclusions, delivered with the gravitas of the seasoned cricket journalist? That would be one way, certainly, but it wouldn’t be the Long Handle way.

Instead, I decided to thank the people who make the IPL what it is. And where better to start than with that multitude of corporate bodies without whom, as we all know, cricket would not exist. The odd name check here and there is a small price for the viewer to pay, so I’d like to give my own tribute to the companies that brought us the IMF Maximum, the Caramel Cream Catch and the Silly Moment of Success. It wouldn’t have been the same without you.

Then there are the commentators, whose steadfast, dogged loyalty is a shining example to employees everywhere. For example, during the final, Robin Jackman was standing up for the Spidercam, an expensive contraption that requires three men and a NASA control room to operate. Viewers were invited to vote on whether it was a good innovation and 15% of respondents displayed a distressing independence of thought by clicking on ‘no’. “I’d like to know who those 15% were,” chuntered Jackers. Don’t worry Robin, I’m sure Lalit knows where they live.

Still, if I might digress for a moment, at the risk of incurring the wrath of Robin, I have to admit that I sided with the 15% on this one. There is no denying that Spidercam offers a unique perspective. Specifically, it offers the perspective of a drunken vertigo sufferer bungee jumping from a moving crane. Startling, no doubt, but what it adds to our understanding of the game is not immediately clear, unless it is part of a campaign to boost IPL viewing figures in that all important arachnid demographic.

And finally, thank you to ITV4. I’m going to forgive you for helping to perpetuate the punditry career of Mr Ronald Irani for three reasons. Firstly, for your opening title sequence. It was lovely. Secondly, for Mandira Bedi, whose sparkly presence alleviated the suffocating banality of the all-male studio ensemble. And thirdly, for Simon Hughes, who possesses those precious qualities rarely displayed by the ex-cricketer on television: an enquiring mind and an interest in cricket.


Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Chennai King on (May 25, 2010, 21:57 GMT)

at first it seemed the bcci got it right by suspending MODI and issuing him a show cause notice. Now its emerging how Srinivasan (owner of chennai super kings) made rules to suit his team. Handpicking umpires and issues related to player auction is really shameful on you. Proud Chennai Super Kings fan but ashamed about the club's owner.SHAME U SRINIVASAN

Posted by OSIA on (May 12, 2010, 5:22 GMT)

And most of all Thank you, IPL, you not to let pakistani players play, so they still fresh and going to win t20 wc again are not tired and injured like Indians. Modi is grat and true indian good luck to him in his next interview with ICC.

Posted by cricketja on (May 5, 2010, 21:03 GMT)

These guys just don't get it do they Andrew. It's apparent that they don't know what sarcasm is. Read the caption gentlemen: "You know the IPL is over when you begin to miss Mandira Bedi"

Posted by Carlton (Fresh Prince of Bel Air) on (May 5, 2010, 15:26 GMT)

Modi should get a public flogging if he was in any way responsible for hiring Bedi and her colourful outfits

Posted by rayyan on (May 1, 2010, 6:56 GMT)

i hate ipl...its ***********

Posted by RAHUL THAPLIYAL on (May 1, 2010, 5:16 GMT)

yeah andrew it was a great experience at ipl and your article clearly depicts it. but to make it clear it was - DLF MAXIMUM(NOT IMF), it was KARBONN KAMAAL CATCH (NOT CARAMEL CREAM) and it was CITI MOMEMT OF SUCCESS (NOT SILLY). all these are sponsors names.

Posted by Anonymous on (April 30, 2010, 16:07 GMT)

I must say that Andrew Hughes is getting really good at this. I cracked up in the beginning "in a world where intervals of time are not sponsored and big beige balloons go unworshipped" :)

It started getting very irritating, every 5 minutes, the cam would zoom on that balloon and every commentator would go "There is the MRF blimp....blah blah.. pace academy..blah"

Posted by Harsh on (April 30, 2010, 11:24 GMT)

Guys who commented so far - did you not see the sarcasm? Do you read between lines atall?

Say what you may Drew, IPL had its moments. Its doesnt matter who writes what, not even this comment, IPL is here to stay. So have a few beers (or is it gin you prefer?), and wait for the next one

Posted by Wajad on (April 30, 2010, 6:49 GMT)

I agree with you about Mandira Bedi and her colourful outfits and enthusiastic support for CSK. I will miss that. Thank you ITV4. Though not so sure about Simon Hughes! Mostly I will miss reading your comments on IPL. Perhaps you may continue in the same vein with the World 20/20 games about to get under way. But, will it have the razz matazz, spidercam and intrigues of the IPL? Who will you poke fun at? I await with abated breath! Regards

Posted by Shrihari on (April 29, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

"a drunken vertigo sufferer bungee jumping from a moving crane" still laughing & looking forward to using it in some conversation! Master piece!!

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Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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