Just as a quick recap, with the regular season ended and only the semi-finals and final to go, now seemed an apt time to summarise our thoughts on our first experience of the IPL. We haven’t watched every game. In fact we haven’t even watched half of them, but we have seen enough to present our take on IPL3 in the form of an A-Z, we kicked off with A-I, part 1 of the IPL alphabet earlier, here’s J-Q and we’ll finish R-Z tomorrow.
So without further ado…
As in Kallis. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but other than you know who Kallis is the highest run scorer in IPL3. Whilst kamikaze batsmen like Robin Uthappa or Yusuf Pathan grab the headlines, Kallis just goes quietly about his business of piling up the runs. At the end of the regular season, Kallis had scored 542 runs at 54.20 and a strike rate of 119.64. This included an incredible start to the competition when he hit 264 runs in his first four innings without getting out. Although, he couldn’t maintain this incredible start, he is arguably the main reason why Bangalore are in the semi-finals. Kallis has provided irrefutable proof that he is just as good at T20 as he is at ODI and test cricket – truly a man for all formats.
When Kochi was announced as one of the two new IPL franchises on March 21 no-one could have predicted the hailstorm that would follow. But then a chain of events began when Lalit Modi questioned the shareholders behind the Kochi IPL franchise on his Twitter account and revealed ownership details. Since then the situation has spiralled with taxmen visiting the IPL offices in Mumbai and India’s junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor resigning over allegations of a conflict of interest in his mentoring the consortium behind the Kochi bid. Kochigate could lead to the unthinkable – the removal of Lalit Modi as IPL commissioner. Just like the blanket advertising, it is sad that this controversy is increasingly overshadowing the cricket.
Left: Lalit should really be stroking a cat in this picture.
Which leads nicely on to Lalit Modi himself. His IPL3 began with a rather drab opening ceremony where he reinforced his aims of world domination by stating that he saw “the IPL becoming bigger than the NFL, the NBA, the English Premier League.” The swagger and smugness remained as the season unfurled and whenever the cameras panned to Modi he wore a self-satisfied smile not seen since the Duke of Wellington left Waterloo for the last time. Much of the success of the IPL and the Champions League is down to Modi, but it seems his arrogance may have got the better of him with Kochigate threatening to bring him down or at the very least curtail his powers. I wonder how omnipresent he will be in IPL4?
From our perspective, the IPL is as much about money and power as it is about cricket. Indeed, the bidding war for the two new franchises, which eventually went to Kochi and Pune for a combined value in excess of $700m, was more than the original eight franchises combined. The players are paid astronomical salaries for up to six weeks work and with a new player auction due before IPL4, these sums could soon surpass their football counterparts. As an example of the vast sums on offer, Damien Martyn was paid $100,000 for his one match for Rajasthan, which amounted to only 24 balls and 19 runs.
Or so it seemed. Up until the final match of the regular season between Kolkata and Mumbai on Monday, there was at least one match per day since the tournament kicked off on 12 March. The matches seemed to blend into one at certain points and our enthusiasm certainly started to wane after a few weeks. Next year it could be even worse as there will be ten teams instead of eight and assuming the same format that means 94 matches instead of 60. That seems too many to us.
Once again Lalit Modi makes an appearance. This time for the bizarre reprimand handed out to Gautam Gambhir. Following his side’s facile 67 run victory over Rajasthan, Gambhir described his victims as ordinary, which was refreshingly honest given the usual mundane nature of post match interviews. For some reason, Modi took offence to this and and reported Gambhir, with the Delhi skipper ending up pleading guilty to a level one offence. Sinister and Orwellian.
Pakistan was the country that dare not speakth its name in IPL3. For reasons that appeared to be entirely political, the Pakistani players included in the auction prior to the season attracted no bids and as such, no Pakistan players participated in IPL3. Even if Pakistan cricket is in the doldrums at the moment, the likes of Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Umar Akmal and the Mohammads Amir and Aamer deserved to display their wares on the big stage. Here’s hoping that the situation is resolved in time for IPL4.
Ok we were struggling to find something for Q, so we have to opt for the queer antics of the madman Sreesanth. If he wasn’t being carted for runs at nearly ten an over, or benchwarming for the worst team in the competition, he was and not for the first time getting into trouble with umpires. Sarcastically clapping umpires and batsmen is not clever and Sreesanth may find himself without a franchise next season.
Tune in tomorrow for the final instalment, as we go from R-Z.
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