The count down for 2013 IPL has begun with all its customary pomp, glory and tagged in controversies. With just 56 days left for the event to commence, auction for the players happened on Sunday, 3rd Feb with big mullahs being raked and 37 players being bought from a bounty of 108 players between 8 teams.
Until IPL came into existence, my interest in cricket was limited to listening to cricket conversations between cricket enthusiasts around me or passing a fleeting glance at the live cricket match played on TV. But with the advent of IPL, things changed drastically, either because of its quick short format or because of the glam and controversies linked to it. Indian Premier League, the brain child of Lalit Modi, who was then the Vice President of BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India), emerged as an amazing phenomenon right in its inception year, 2008. Since then, this intriguing occurrence in the history of world cricket has been marred with controversies and scandals, from money laundering, betting and spot fixing.
Fourth season of IPL has been the most eventful, with introduction of two new teams from Pune and Kochi. The bid for the Kochi franchisee resulted in nothing less than Dr Shahi Tharoor being forced to resign from the Central Ministry. Something that once seemed invincible also ensued; Lalit Modi who was basking in the success and power of IPL, was removed dramatically from IPL Chairmanship. While Dr Shashi Tharoor’s involvement and Modi’s expulsion from IPL dominated media headlines, I vividly remember being apprehensive of IPL’s future. But soon BCCI rose to action and appointed Chirayu Amin as IPL chief, a businessman with a reputation completely in contrast to the controversial Modi.
The glamour quotient stringed into IPL, definitely adds to its popularity. Before IPL, the only glamour ingredient in Indian cricket was the beautiful Mandira Bedi gracing the commentary box. But now Bollywood stars right from King Khan to Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty and the business big bees like Nita Ambani, Siddharth Mallya et al dominate the scene.
In spite of all the controversies, I must admit, IPL is thriving. A perfect package of sport and entertainment; crowded stadiums, enthusiastic commentators, attractive cheerleaders and not to forget adrenal rushing last ball winning sixes and reckless fast paced centuries by cricket veterans from across the rondure. With its publicity evoking features, IPL package definitely has a huge fan following, inducing interest even in a non-cricket enthusiast like me.
Let the success story continue in the following season too, starting 3 April to 26 May 2013. Let’s fasten our seatbelt for some fun and frolic, glitz and glamour, music and dance, scandal and scam and oh yes for some enthralling cricket too!