The Indian Premier League is upon us again and the excitement levels have gone up and the anticipation is all consuming. By now the tournament has clearly got fans aligned to their favourite franchises and there are very few neutrals, especially in India.
This is what the league had set to achieve and it has done so in a remarkably short span. The arguments between fans of different franchise teams have to be seen to believe and even in a family there are fans of different teams, which makes for interesting debates around the breakfast and dining tables.
The Kolkata Knight Riders won the title last year defeating the Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling game. The relatively unknown Manvinder Bisla took the game away from the Chennai team with a display of some audacious shots, and towards the end, even as the Knight Riders were running out to a win, Gautam Gambhir actually took off his leg guards before the winning run was scored.
Gambhir, the Knight Riders’ skipper, may have been superstitious about having his leg guards on right till the end, but his captaincy had so many innovative ideas that took the opposition by surprise. Yes, surprise is a big factor in the ultra short format of the game, for it gives the teams invaluable overs or sometimes even few deliveries which can change the complexion of the game. Gambhir led from the front, was proactive and made things happen, and that is what helped the Knight Riders win the tournament last year.
The new season begins once again with no team as the favourite and all the teams have added some new faces at the recent auction and looked to redress the balance in their teams. All-rounders, mystery spinners and big hitting batsmen are the key, but nothing works as well as a good fielding unit, which saves that one run that can make the difference between winning and losing.
Four teams have won the tournament so far, but even they will be chary of saying with certainty that they will win again. Will it be a new winner this time? Let the games begin, the fun will definitely follow.