IPL has hooked the nation
It was strange but on Friday evening I found myself glued to Sony Max, watching the Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Bangalore Royal Challengers. Strange because usually I don’t enjoy watching cricket. This time I enjoyed the match because there was no tension about whether India will win or lose! I know this means that I am not a true cricket fan and yeah, that’s true. I don’t see cricket in the right spirit, I get too emotional about India. And if India actually loses, I lose all interest in watching the game.
On the other hand, if there is one game I can bear to watch, its cricket. No other game interests me as much as cricket, for whatever reasons! And I have a feeling I am going to watch the IPL matches…why I have been watching them all weekend! And I think that even if I do get attached to any of these 8 IPL teams, I don’t think I will get so attached that I won’t be able to see them lose. I don’t doubt however that most other people are already emotionally attached to some team or the other and some are getting there. I see it around me already. People are swearing by their favourite teams and the tournament is barely under way!
And the crowds at the stadiums in Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai are mindboggling for cricket that’s not international. The chanting and cheering of the crowds for their home teams is quite thrilling and I regret not buying a ticket. Next time…
I wonder who said that we Indians will find it difficult to get attached to city teams. I remember reading it somewhere. Its clear that Indians in fact get easily attached. And where regional feelings are concerned I doubt that there is another country with such strong regional sentiment as in India. And don’t forget a craze for cricket. Perfect breeding ground for city-based cricket clubs to flourish.
Four very very obvious reasons for this initial great start to IPL:
- Love and passion for cricket
- Love, admiration and loyalty to a star cricketer/cricketers
- Love and loyalty to one’s city or region
- Love, admiration and loyalty towards the owners, be it Shah Rukh or Priety Zinta. Maybe even Vijay Mallya or the Ambanis!! Someone I know actually said that the Kolkata Knight Riders are winning because of SRK!
A potent combination eh!
There is the entertainment aspect…laser shows and firecracker displays and the cheerleaders thats being talked about, but to my mind, those are just the frills. Its cricket that everyone’s favourite entertainment.
Some favourite moments in these matches:
- Seeing Indian cricketers hugging Andrew Symonds when he took a wicket for the Deccan Chargers.
- Three Sri Lankan players, two from the Bangalore Challengers and one from the Mumbai Indians engrossed in a deep conversation before the match started on the field. An unusual sight to see players of rival teams chatting up in such a friendly manner.
- Mumbai crowds chanting Indians Indians Indians when Jayasuriya was playing for his team, the Mumbai Indians.
The 8 IPL teams – who owns them and who plays in them is given below. Reads like the Who’s Who list! And lets not forget the audience. We had a lot of Bollywood stars watching and Priyanka Gandhi as well.
The Kolkata Knight Riders is led by Sourav Ganguly (also Icon Player) and owned by Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla & Jai Mehta. Important Indian Players are Ishant Sharma and Murali Kartik. The international players are David Hussey and Ricky Ponting from Australia, Salman Butt from Pakistan, Tatenda Taibu from Zimbabwe, Brendon McCullum from New Zealand, Chris Gayle from Jamaica, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Gul and Shoaib Akhtar (doubtful) from Pakistan
Mumbai Indians is led by Sachin Tendulkar (also the Icon Player) and owned by the Ambanis. Important Indian players are Robin Uthappa and Harbhajan Singh.
The international players are Sanath Jayasuriya, Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando from Sri Lanka, Loots Bosman and Ashwell Prince and Shaun Pollock from South Africa and Luke Ronchi from Australia.
Rajasthan Royals is led by Shane Warne (from Australia) and he is the only foreigner who is a Captain of an IPL team. RR is owned by Emerging Media (Manoj Badale, Lachlan Murdoch, Suresh Chellaram). Important Indian players are Mohammad Kaif, Yusuf Pathan and Munaf Patel. The international players are Graeme Smith from South Africa, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Sohail Tanvir from Pakistan, Shane Watson and Justin Langer from Australia (update: Langer’s quit is what I read today!) and Morne Morkel from South Africa.
Royal challengers Bangalore is led by Rahul Dravid (also Icon Player) and owned by the liquor magnate Vijay Mallya. Important Indian players are Anil Kumble and Zaheer Khan. The international players are Shivnarine Chanderpaul from Guyana, Misbah-ul-Haq from Pakistan, Ross Taylor from New Zealand, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis from South Africa, Cameron White, Nathan Bracken and Ashley Noffke from Australia and Abdur Razzak from Bangla Desh.
Chennai Super Kings is led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni (not an Icon player) and is owned by India Cements Ltd. Important Indian players are Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel and Joginder Sharma. The international players are Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey from Australia, Stephen Fleming and Jacob Oram from New Zealand, Albie Morkel from South Africa, Muttiah Muralitharan from Sri Lanka, and Makhaya Ntini from South Africa.
Delhi DareDevils is led by Virender Sehwag (the Icon Player) and is owned by GMR Holdings. Important Indian players are Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary, and Gautam Gambhir. The international players are Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan and Farveez Maharoof, South Africa’s AB de Villiers, New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori, Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Asif and Australia’s Glenn McGrath and Brett Geeves.
Deccan Chargers is led by V.V.S. Laxman (not an Icon Player) and owned by Deccan Chronicle. Important Indian players are Rohit Sharma and Rudra Pratap Singh. The international players are Herschelle Gibbs from South Africa, Chamara Silva, Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa from Sri Lanka, Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds from Australia, Shahid Afridi from Pakistan, and Scott Styris from New Zealand.
Kings XI Punjab is led by Yuvraj Singh (also Icon Player) and owned by Preity Zinta, Ness Wadia, Karan Paul & Mohit Burman. Important Indian players are Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Piyush Chawla. The international players are Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara from Sri Lanka, Ramnaresh Sarwan from Guyana, Simon Katich, Shaun Marsh, James Hopes, Brett Lee and Luke Pomersbach from Australia and Kyle Mills from New Zealand.
Interestingly though IPL does not have that many corporate sponsors as yet, not as many as the World Cup and the T20 matches. This might change if IPL picks up.
I don’t know which team I will support though. I think the Deccan Chargers have potential and it may become my favourite team.
This chart shows the odds on the different teams placed by bookies. Got the screen shot from CNN IBN:
(Photographs are blurred as they are taken from live tv )