Just got a circular from the Payroll for encashment of my Priviledged Leave (PL). And true to my taste declined the offer, as I want to be those priviledged few to utilise my leave for rooting for my team THE DECCAN CHARGERS.
Being the die hard sports fanatic, that I am, I always dreamt of Cricket acquiring the monstrous state of that of EPL or Spanish O Liga or Bundes Lega et al. Have spend endless hours hallucinating about the possibility of Shane Warne and Sachin T’lkar, playing for one team and what a spectatcle would that be. Thanks to ICC and its zillion ways of surprising cricket followers we did see an absolutely appalling and farsical Rest of World v/s Australia encounter which promised the moon but couldnt even deliver the Streetlights next to my home. However, when IPL and Gen-Modi announced came to town I did sit up in anticipation, now maybe this is different.
The world knew post India’s conquest at Wanderers in the finals of the T20 world cup that things won’t be the same again. And it isn’t. While Inzamam won’t like being auctioned, while many others might find it abhorring, it certainly has caught the imaginations of many. For once it was corporate India which wrote the Price Tags for the modern cricketing world, and maybe (who knows) have changed the commerce associated with the game forever. ICC would think twice before awarding $1500 as Man of the Match award in ODIs from here on. Game On !!!
You may wonder (in fact this has been done to death in the zillions of chat shows mushrooming everyday on the Telly)… Will so much money / commerce ruin the game?
Well, I dunno what the world thinks. I feel paupers cannot nurture a professional sport. I think India should at least know it better than the world. Because our national sport is today confined to the drawing room of an eccentric IPS veteran who feels he is the Renaissance man who can change the state of the game drastically… post those Tea-Biscuit meetings in his courtyard. Yeah … Paupers think that way. Worldwide, thanks to Yanks, any sport that has caught the imagination of an entire generation has done so with Hype and Money. You need the loud music, screaming bill boards, scantily clad pom pom girls, living mascots, the over the top commentators, the never ending build up shows …the works. Am glad Cricket has finally got it. And knowing Modi (and whatever I can see in those Hung Over eyes of his), I am sure he has a whole lot of surprises up his alley to be unfolded on us …cometh 18th april 2008.
Now, looking at the teams, am prejudiced with DECCAN CHARGERS, my city, my team … !!! But seriously, its a well balanced team with the international quotient (read power) in Gilchrist, Symonds, Afridi, Gibbs and some solid firepower in the bowling department too. I feel VVS has a Very Very Serious chance at the title.
But logically thinking, I find MUMBAI INDIANS (like the Tacky Website) the weakest and tired of all the teams. But that man, the Bonzer, Little Master Tendulkar.. has lived most of his life sheperding teams which had similar look. So god knows what does he have in store for IPL.
As for weak teams I do find BANGALORE ROYALCHALLENGERS a bit jaded too. Most of the players being on the other side of 30 (with many on the other side of 35 too), the brunt of being agile will wrest on the likes of Virat Kohli and other lesser known and seen youngsters. Sunil Joshi is a waste of Space for me.
Shane Warne, may have done a wondertrick with his employers by helping them chose an underdog team which may go onto surprise many big teams. RAJASTHAN ROYALS for me is the real Chupa Rustam team. Hold onto your guns, as I have been a big fan of Shane Warne’s Captaincy and with the likes of Mohd. Kaif, Younis Khan, Graeme Smith, Sohail Tanveer, Morne Morkel, Dmitri Mascarenhas ….. this team can be a tough nut to crack on its day.
That brings us Up North… while Ms. Zinta is desperately trying not to call Mahela …Mahila, this Mahila has seriously conjured up a good outfit, which has a lot of poster pin up material as well as cricketing firepower. Though the Team Name KINGS XI PUNJAB might be a bit warped, but then what the hell !!! Yuvi’s team too is a strong one. Must give it to Ness Wadia for putting his Business Acumen coupled with Moody’s cricketing acumen, that team has a sure shot berth in the final four.
That brings us to the man of the moment. Viru Sehwag and his DELHI DAREDEVILS . I have always beleived Viru to be a street smart smooth operator who believes in street fighting. And this recent 319 might have spurred a new side of Viru which will be quite a lot to handle. His side looks a terrific outfit … once again to me a sure shot final four contender. Best part is Viru knows and understands the operating basics of T20. Watch out …he alone can be handful.
What can I say about CHENNAI SUPERKINGS. The den of Dhoni. This man had marshalled a bunch of nobodies to oblivion in SA. Out here though the composition might be different with the likes of Murali, Hayden, etc. being there. Nevertheless, this man commands respect and can orchestrate a superior front that might be quite a handful for the rest. Though the team boasts of several big names, watch out for Aniruddha Srikanth (Son of the cavalier Chika), Badrinath, Balaji and Joginder, Dhoni might just manage to create a few heroes there.
Last but never the least, Dada !!!! And the King. Coming together to unveil the KOLKATA KIGHTRIDERS. Of all the teams I find KK to be the most well balanced. Am sure Joh Buchanan would have had a role to play there. But this team has Sourav Ganguly written all over it. The familiar Dada favorites Ajit Agarkar, Murali Karthik are back. The high price for Ishant has that trademark back the youth flavour of Dada. Batting line up of Ponting, Gayle, Hussey, Pujara, Hafeez, McCullum, …and bowling attack of Shoaib, ranadeb bose, ajit agarkar, murali karthik, Iqbal Abdullah…this team is a Cracking one !!! Am sure the world awaits to see Dada back on the saddle of captaincy !!! And with the King Khan creating the backdrop this is one helluva band of warriors to watch out for.
So, the Curtain is ready to be raised, with the last fortnight remaining. As it rises, the world will probably be the same, Cricket would have turned one more significant page in its Bible…. it will never be same again !!!!
I have my DC jersey on … How about you ? After all didnt I tell you….Its such a priviledge to take this leave !!!