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The battle for IPL supremacy is particularly confusing right now. The teams are scrapping ferociously like a bunch of angry ferrets in a bag and I have no idea which is the best. (If any readers feel this analogy is disrespectful, they should be reassured that the bag in question is a hand-stitched velvet affair and the ferrets are dressed in natty little IPL costumes, complete with adorable caps).
As it stands, every team, even perennial limp lettuces the Zinta XI and the Kolkata Katastrophes are still in it. Fans from every corner of the IPL can entertain the possibility that it might be their chaps holding aloft that blingtastic trophy come the far side of May, even though we know it will be probably be Chennai Super Kings.
Wait, did I say every team? I meant almost every team. For if you look a little closer at the damp end of the table, there you will see, yet to set a trembling foot on the first rung of the ladder of success, the men in mucky blue from Deccan. With a form line that reads like the result of falling asleep at your keyboard whilst trying to type “Llandovery”, the Hyderabad heroes are replete with defeat.
Thanks to the generosity of the rain gods, they avoided adding another L to their collection in Kolkata yesterday, but to be honest, an N for No Result is only a marginal improvement. I have been through the IPL rules several times but I can find no loophole whereby in the event that the rest of the competition is rained off, the trophy is awarded to the team with the most Cs in their name.
So how to get some of those elusive Ws? With so many fixtures on the calendar, the Deccan management could try to slip some fake scorecards past hard-pressed IPL officials, such as, for example, their forthcoming ten-wicket triumph over the Green Bay Packers, or next Sunday’s thrilling last -ball win against Barcelona. If that fails, they could try repeatedly switching the venue for their home games at the last minute, in the hope that the opposition get lost in traffic and forfeit the tie.
Or they could ask some of their expensive signings if they wouldn’t mind jolly well pulling their socks up. Dale Steyn is still as deadly as a python in your laundry basket, but the rest of them appear to be going through a mass existential crisis, moping about as though they’ve been listening to the Smiths all morning. Perhaps choosing “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” as the team anthem was a mistake.
Then again, if all else fails, they could simply embrace their destiny. Perhaps propping up the table is their raison d’etre. Everyone goes on about victories and glory and winners, but we forget that without the losers, there could be no winners. Those points have got to come from somewhere and, for the most part, they tend to come from Deccan. It’s the circle of IPL life.
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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. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73