Sreesanth the fan mentor
He delighted his team-mates in the first half of the tournament by sitting on the sidelines in a series of absurd sunglasses: Kings XI Punjab won four of the seven matches in which Sreesanth spent game time writing letters to God, auditioning for cheerleading squads, romancing South Indian starlets and looking for industrial strength hair-straightening lotions.
Sreesanth the bowler
He delighted the opposition with no-balls and long hops, reserving the yorker-length deliveries for the post-match whingeing. "I should be allowed to do what I am comfortable with," he reportedly pitched to coach Tom Moody. Punjab lost three of the five games he featured in, and Matthew Hayden, after taking Sreesanth for 35 runs over three overs pronounced him "an overrated bowler". Aye say us.
May 15, 2009
In his defense, young Jesse Ryder was not really playing when he cracked open a bottle or 10, having sat out three straight games for Bangalore. What's a fella to do to keep his spirits up? His manager said Ryder had stayed off all alcohol for over 100 days. We know how hard it is to keep going after reaching a century.
For most ducks in a Twenty20 career - 11, by Herschelle Gibbs; most innings before a duck - Brad Hodge, 61; worst bowling average - 83, by Jacques Kallis. All very bad advertisements for Twenty20 and the IPL. Mr Modi is not amused, gentlemen.
May 12, 2009
He's loquacious, he's insane, and he'll climb up people's noses with a microphone in hand in quest of a filler sidelight if you give him half the chance. Harassing everyone from scoreboard operators to war veterans, New Zealand's finest commentary export charges bravely in where mortals fear to tread, and has worn a demented look on his face all the while.
He's big, he's strapping, hits the deck hard, and doesn't have too much to show for it. Last year's revelation has been yesterday's news in season two, having taken four wickets from five games at the unflattering economy-rate of 10.76. And did we mention he's been dropping catches as well?
May 9, 2009
Left-arm spinners from Goa
In the three games he has played for Chennai Super Kings, Shadab Jakati, this year's spin revelation, has eight wickets at the average and economy-rate of 5.75 each.
Right-hand batsmen from Goa
In his five games for the Rajasthan Royals, Swapnil Asnodkar, last year's big-hitting sensation, has 24 runs at under 5, and two ducks.
May 5, 2009
Jeremy Coney brought a local tribal-warrior friend along for the pitch report at a recent match. Dressed in full regalia, the chieftain - or so he seemed - was armed with a spear and shield, ready to attack anyone hoping to remove the mike from the voluble commentator's hands. He also dished out some advice, which Coney helpfully translated to "It will turn a bit", and brought some culture to the show with a tribal dance of sorts.
All the rage (in more ways than one) a few years ago: "Doctor" Michael Slater reported from the middle before matches in an ODI series in the subcontinent, ably assisted by "Nurse" Maria Goretti, fetchingly armed with a stethoscope, and possibly even a syringe. Spectators who thought "Professor" Dean Jones and his blackboard were bad found they had another think coming.
May 1, 2009
Australians put out to pasture
Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden haven't done half badly for a couple of washed-out old has-beens. Gilchrist has a strike-rate of 171, the highest among all batsmen who have scored 50 runs or more, and an average of 40; Hayden a mere 215 runs from four games, which puts him on top of the run-scorers' table.
Englishmen in their prime
The words "white" and "elephants" come to mind. Flintoff has left for home with 62 runs from three innings, one wicket at 52, and will soon have a surgeon's bill to show for his efforts. Kevin Pietersen has managed 80 runs in five games, three wickets, and about as many stirring post-match speeches.
Apr 29, 2009
If you're going to do fan accessories, might as well go over the top. The Rajasthan Royals supporters' oversize taches are just the ticket: they have a sense of humour, look good in pictures, and make use of a motif from the team's home state.
Black and gold
The Kolkata Knight Riders uniforms are perfect - if you're Bappi Lahiri. Shamelessly blingy, they make you want to shield your eyes with a pair of oversize sunglasses. Have as much to do with Bengal as... Shah Rukh Khan?
Apr 26, 2009
Man of no known name, who writes an eponymous, five-day old blog that's less than loved by John Buchanan. It has been questioned whether or not fakeiplplayer is a player. His work has had an influence on an eastern Indian team's thinking, levels of paranoia and attitudes towards laptop use. A must read for anyone looking for a laugh, it features such posts as "The Lord Returns" and "The Hunter Has Become the Hunted".
Man of many names, who wrote a now 2000-year-old treatise that's much loved by John Buchanan. It has been questioned whether or not Sun Tzu was an authentic historical figure. His work has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond. A must-read for coaches given to theorising, it features such chapters as "The Use of Spies" and "Tactical Dispositions".
Apr 23, 2009
The South African president
Not only did Kgalema Motlanthe ensure that the red carpet was rolled out for the IPL, he even turned up on day one, endured having Lalit Modi volubly explain every little detail of the transplant to him, and then made a gracious speech. Of course, you don't look a multi-million-rand gift horse in the mouth, but still…
The Indian home minister
P Chidambaram made it clear he didn't care much if the IPL, which he described as a "shrewd combination" of business and sport, went out of the country. After the move, he said the tournament could have been staged in two parts, and pointed out how 98% of viewers only watched on TV anyway.
Apr 21, 2009
Freakish Rajasthan Royals left-armer from Azamgarh
Eighteen-year-old pint-sized slinger Kamran Khan has precisely zero first-class matches under his belt, and a $24,000 contract with Rajasthan Royals in the bag. His captain, Shane Warne, thinks highly enough of him to hide him from general view after he bowled one over in a warm-up match.
Freakish Rajasthan Royals left-armer from Rawalpindi
Twenty-four-year-old lanky seamer Sohail Tanvir, famous for apparently bowling off the wrong foot, was the pick of the IPL crop last year, and owner of the best bowling figures in all Twenty20, but now finds himself out of the side. His captain, Shane Warne, thinks highly enough of him to say he will be sorely missed.
Apr 18, 2009
A team to lead a team? Sounds good. It's the democratic way, after all. And think of the extra minutes available to advertisers, as the leadership group has prolonged meetings on the field to decide which of them gets to argue with the umpire over a contentious call.
A single captain? How Stalinesque, old boy. Whatever next? A return to the days of single-engine aircraft? Unicycles? Oh no, you don't. One captain may work on a ship, but as a wise man once said, cricket is not a ship.
Apr 12, 2009
City of about a quarter of a million located in the Eastern Cape; home to Mark Boucher, and a hub for the South African motor industry. And it's situated on the Indian Ocean - how's that for a tenuous link?
Oh to be in England, now that spring is here - i.e. in cold that is merely bone-chilling rather than life-threatening, and rain that drips down only every other hour. The IPL's panjadrums thought not, too, and passed, realising they risked having a majority of the games washed out.
Apr 6, 2009