The last-minute substitution
The IPL is a conclave of extraordinary events. But amid logic-shattering innings, gravity-defying catches and barely-believable collapses, there is the odd blooper or two. Mumbai Indians' bout against Delhi Daredevils was barely under way when they contributed another entry.
The toss was done, the XIs were announced and Wankhede Stadium was readying itself for the first ball. Only, there was a small gathering by the sightscreen. Both umpires were in deep discussion with Daredevils' Kevin Pietersen and Gary Kirsten. Anil Kumble and John Wright represented the Mumbai Indians contingent. Soon IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman and match referee Andy Pycroft were in the mix as on-air commentary informed that Mumbai Indians' Praveen Kumar had injured himself in the brief window between toss and start of play. The subject of the debate was whether Mumbai Indians should be allowed a replacement in Pragyan Ojha. He was not among the reserves named for the match.
The chances of Corey Anderson or Ben Dunk coming into the XI were remote considering that would push the overseas player count to five (a near-impossibility that Mumbai Indians made happen in the 2011 Champions League T20). Apoorv Wankhade and Sushant Marathe completed the reserves list, but they were batsmen. Mumbai Indians wanted a bowler. Pietersen gave his consent for Ojha's inclusion and the game got underway after a five-minute delay.
A similar situation aided Graham Manou, the Australia wicketkeeper to make a Test debut in an Ashes series in 2009, when Brad Haddin endured a broken finger when warming-up at Edgbaston, but that precedent didn't appease those religiously following fantasy cricket who hurled in complaints on ball-by-ball commentary.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo