The writer Avijit Das Patnaik, takes a tongue in cheek approach, listing the top ten reasons to watch IPL5
I have survived one third of IPL – BCCI’s 76 match torture package to rival India’s saas-bahu teleserials and England’s Football Premier League. Reports state that while viewership for IPL5 has dropped marginally, it’s still a top draw by television standards. No rocket science this – any sane person would prefer watching Sreevats Goswami to enduring Arnab Goswami, or ogle at voluptuous cheer leaders gyrating than at baldy ACP Pradyuman prancing.
There is indeed not much to choose between the hopeless “what the doctor ordered” IPL commentary team or the early morning religious discourses! But given a choice, IPL does have a few entertaining spots. Importantly, this is one event where “India cannot lose” – an act the national team successfully executed, repeatedly, over the last nightmare year! So here are my top ten reasons to watch IPL!
10. THE CHICKS: While KKR owner King Khan remains the top draw, there is no denying that IPL is the only place where some of our dream girls can be spotted. From Preity Zinta, year on year to Sania Mirza this year! I also like certain franchises going for traditional wear for cheerleaders than the standard skimpy wear. Must also add, despite Kingfisher Airlines, on verge on bankruptcy, King Mallya still fishes out the best cheergirls!
9. THE ANDY CAROLL AWARD: Ravindra Jadeja came into this IPL as the costliest player – a title held by Gautam Gambhir at IPL4! As my friend Aabhas Sharma, a sports journalist once noted, “Gambling millions on a Ferrari is justified, on a Premier Padmini, it’s foolhardly”. Last spotted, Jadeja had added some brown streaks to his hair and had one MOM performance – a fiver and 48 runs. Since that evening, in the following five matches, MSD’s favourite “Padmini” hasn’t even totaled 48 runs or 5 wickets!
8. SPARE ME: This is one cricket tournament where the umpires, DRS, Hot Spot and review systems aren’t scrutinized. No one gives a damn to the results, let alone bother about decisions. This is ample proof of the emotional attachment IPL carries to a fan’s heart! 25 matches mean 100 hours of cricket – and yet no controversy – compare this with the furor created during the Eng vs Ind series in 2011!
7. HIGH MAINTAINANCE, ZERO PERFORMANCE: IPL entertainment is incomplete without mentioning the high maintenance, zero performance boys. Boys, who have attitude in their walk, sunshades, hairdos, wrist bands, caps, shaving styles, interviews and face packs (!)..essentially, in everything, barring their cricket. We love seeing them around, unsuccessfully attempting to redeem pride. Ajit Agarkar, Romesh Powar, Murali Karthik and S Sreesanth (Utthappa and Rohit miss out only for their age) will most likely finish their careers being “single biggest factor why India lost matches they played in”!
6. LAGE RAHO MUNNA: Munaf Patel doesn’t have high maintenance, nor zero performance, but he is a delight to watch. I’m yet to sight a lazier sportsman representing his country, and that probably is a finer pointer to the quality of our pace bowling resources. His refusal to bend down to collect throws and let his ankle do the job is as comical as it gets. The world cup winner was too lazy to even jog a victory lap at Mumbai last April! My gut feeling is, even if Bollywood ladies and models attending IPL events offer themselves to him, he is likely to refuse, on grounds of feeling too lazy to perform the act!
5. THE INDIAN SOB STORY: While BCCI has successfully marketed IPL as an event to unearth talent for India’s test and ODI teams (I’m still figuring the co-relation!), hardly any local boy rises to the occasion. You have either the one season wonders – Asnodkar, Gony, Yusuf, Valthathy, Pandey, Vinay, Rahul, Abdullah (you can make a Losers XI out of them) or the one match wonders – Parmeshwaran, Awana, Dewaana, Parwaana (who cares!)
4. RAHANE, UMESH, DINDA: The three fringe players who have massively enhanced their claims to the national team with top performances. BCCI are known to gift India caps to IPL success boys and we pray and hope BCCI gives them a must deserved longer rope.
3. THE REMOTE WAR: Finally the Indian man, back from a long tiring day, has a strong reason to demand the TV remote and not endure the nonsensical soaps or the pre-orchestrated reality shows. Winning that one round over his woman, after losing several bouts during the day, is enough reason to welcome IPL. Not to forget, IPL gives a great entertainment value to the entire family making a visit to the cricket stadium, probably India’s only event where a stadium visit is worth the effort, time and cost.
2. DADAGIRI: Love him, hate him but you just can’t ignore him! When Pune played CSK, the SMS poll question was “Who was India’s best captain ever?” Even Rahane was recently bestowed the title of “Right Handed Ganguly”. Dada’s eyes maybe blinking faster after sniffing snorters, his timing initially looked worse than his 2005 days (and that takes a beating), yet the street smart leader in him continues to bully umpires, opposition and lead his rag-tag team to unexpected wins. Forgotten players like Samuels, Ryder, Uthappa, Pandey, Nehra and Dinda are all set to benefit playing under a captain who has already outsmarted Mumbai, Chennai and Adam Gilchrist’s team. It will be interesting to see whom Eden Gardens root for, when PWI play the underperforming KKR.
1. GAYLESTORM: My architect friend, Biswarup Sarangi, recently noted “It takes more effort from Rahul Dravid to block a ball than for Chris Gayle to hit it outside the stadium”. The Gayle storm has drama written all over it. He doesn’t score in all matches but when he does, his team wins. A team, whose flagship airlines are sinking and there’s enough indication that Vijay Mallya could be in for bigger trouble. Worse, none from the franchise, barring AB, are performing, including India’s biggest player, Virat Kohli. Chris Gayle has to be the number one reason to watch IPL this season and make us realize how much we miss him the other ten months of the year.