April 8, 2011

Indian Premier League

Bring on the T20 jamboree

Akhila Ranganna

What will the fourth season of the IPL bring, asks Andy Wilson in the Guardian. The anticipation is likely to be on an all-time high, now that every game will include a clutch of World Cup winners, but will the cricket live up to the hype?

Twenty20 is OK as far as it goes, but I wonder whether the IPL might suffer slightly this time around as those millions of Indian fans who were so absorbed by the twists and turns of 50-over cricket during their heroes' World Cup triumphs feel a bit short-changed by the comparatively relentless crash-bang-wallop of 70-odd 20-over matches.

Vijay Lokapally, writing in the Hindu, says while the IPL could be a throwback to days gone by for some - the time when a certain Australian legspinner left batsmen embarrassingly helpless, for example - it also signifies a huge transformation in the character of the game.

The game has undergone a huge transformation from the time when bowlers would applaud the batsmen on being hit for a four or six. These days they glare or mouth profanities as an aggressive advertisement for aggressive cricket. And the IPL signifies this transformation ... In IPL, there is money, and then there is cricket.

The missing piece - and a sizeable one at that - in this year's IPL is Lalit Modi, says Dileep Premachandran, writing in the National. In his absence, says Premachandran, the BCCI has to find another individual, or two, with the foresight to keep the show going.

For many people, Modi was the IPL, with his steel-grey-and-beige suits and pink ties, popping up at every other game as he travelled the country in a private jet. Much as other officials loathed him, they could not do without the dynamism or the strength of will that created a financial behemoth from a pipe dream. Rules were broken and corners cut, but Modi invariably got what he wanted. And in most cases, what he wanted was what served the IPL best.

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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