Money, it's a hit

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 03, 2010 18:40 hrs

The IPL drama continues as week four gets under way.

If someone tells you that the Indian Premier League is all about cricket, you can be pardoned for looking incredulous. Just give them some numbers to chew on — for instance, that $4.13 billion is the IPL’s brand value. Of course these are just predictions, but when IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was asked whether the numbers can be sustained, he replied "Let them [the cynics] say anything. I know the numbers.

I know the game. I have delivered. We will continue to deliver." This would have made a fantastic story if it had the romance of a rags-to-riches saga. This one, however, seems to be a riches-to-super-riches story.

Seeing how the old guard in IPL is performing, we may as well start calling it a 30-30 format! Look at Jacques Kallis — often called one of the most "boring" cricketers — turning up the heat for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Seven matches, 362 runs at an average of 120.66 show that age is just a number. Similarly, Sachin Tendulkar is once again showing that there’s no such thing as a career twilight zone. At 37, he is still a joy to watch, enthralling audiences and leading the Mumbai Indians to the top of the table. The Chennai Super Kings’ Muttiah Muralitharan tops the bowling charts with 11 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 6.15. Only Anil Kumble of RCB has a better economy rate but has bowled fewer overs than Murali. Both these guys are 37.

It is quite ironic that captains and teams are paying fines for slow over rates in a format which is all about instant gratification. So far, a sum of $570,000 has been collected in the IPL on the charges of slow over rate. That is about Rs 2.85 crore. The Kings XI Punjab skipper Kumara Sangakkara was banned for one match as well. The captains have already grumbled about not enough time being given, as strategies have to be altered after every two overs or so. The tournament organisers have been strict about the over rate. Well, it’s all about instant gratification in IPL, isn’t it? The captains should toe that line as well!

The casualty list is lengthening by the day. To be fair, a lot has been said about how IPL overexerts cricketers and about how they are overworked. They are overpaid as well, aren’t they? So it is a case of win some, lose some. This season, more concern is being voiced, as the T20 World Cup is just round the corner, after the IPL concludes. We shall see next year, when the number of IPL matches goes up to 94 from 60, if a series against Bangladesh or West Indies is also around the corner, whether people make a hue and cry over injuries because of IPL. As Pink Floyd sang, "The geezer was cruising for a bruising."

Kolkata Knight Riders’ owner and film star Shah Rukh Khan tweeted this recently: "Find the hindi commentary on ipl matches very funny [sic]. sirf ek run liya...gir gaye...unki patloon bhi gandi ho gayi...lekin koi fayda nahin. Ha!" Wonder what Khan would say if we said the same about his team’s performance in the IPL so far.

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