In IPL4, the Pune Warriors ride the dark horse. That's thanks to the persona of Yuvraj Singh. Yuvi had the most humiliating time in IPL3 and he is the hungriest to succeed at IPL4. A big factor in his favour is his current form. His batting and bowling will be lethal and he is in the right frame of mind to lead his team to glory.
And the gods of vengeance seemed to be favouring him when the very first match happened to be Kings XI Punjab, a team from which he was stripped of captaincy and ultimately booted. It must have been sweet revenge to beat KXIP so comprehensively with co-owner Preity Zinta watching.
India have world champions in announcing awards
In the first three IPLs, Preity gave Yuvi a lot of on-field hugs, but that didn't make much of a difference. A kick out of KXIP led Yuvi down the path of redemption, culminating in the man of the series award at the victorious World Cup.
If only the IPL auction had happened after the World Cup! The whole dynamics of the teams would have been totally different.
The divine script continues
So the excitement began in the very first match of IPL4. A father who wins the World Cup as player in 1983 and chief selector in 2011 sees his son hit a match-winning half-century in the inaugural match of IPL4. Captain courageous sees the opposition comfortable at 112-2 chasing 154 for victory. Despite that, the match becomes close and four runs are needed off the last ball and only a solitary run leads to a narrow victory.
Anirudha Srikkanth showed glimpses of his father's fearless batting. MS Dhoni shows how he can remain the best coming from a long and tiring victorious World Cup campaign. The defending champions Chennai Super Kings began their campaign in style. Losers Kolkata Knight Riders must be wondering what more they have to do win an IPL as owner Shahrukh Khan and captain Gautam Gambhir could watch only another KKR choke.
Sourav Ganguly must be smiling somewhere.
The strange economics of IPL
Nothing beats the funny economics of IPL. Irfan Pathan got paid $1.9 million for playing for Delhi Daredevils this season. If he plays well and makes it to all the league matches and takes his team to the final, bowling his full quota of 4 overs per match, he will get paid about $5000 per delivery.
If the team doesn't make it to the top 4, then he'll get $5600 per delivery. If he is dropped for some matches and doesn't bowl his full quota, then he could end up getting $10,000 per ball!
Elsewhere, the more you work, the more you get paid. Here, the less you play, the more your effective earnings!
F for fatigue?
The great West Indies team of yore got tired of their constant foreign tours and their performance dipped. That was the first example of fatigue getting disastrous.
The BCCI is in the process of milking Indian players for all they are worth. First there was the tough South Africa series and then the sapping World Cup. After a few days we have the 50-day IPL. How tired will our players be at the end of it?
While most people talked of IPL as a slam bam type of mindless event, Dhoni has gone on record saying that T20 is the most intense form of cricket.
Immediately after the IPL, their gruelling foreign tours take place. First they'll go to the West Indies, after which they'll go to England and finally the toughest of them all: Australia.
The Indian team has conquered almost all of its demons, but 2012 will see whether they will get the better of the F word.
And to think that former head honcho Lalit Modi wanted two IPLs a year!
You just can't keep Modi quiet
And talking of Modi, you just can't keep him out of the news. Now there are reports of Modi trying to set up a parallel league to the IPL in England. Dubbed "Project Victoria", the England Twenty20 plan is worth more than a billion pounds. Modi simply can't talk small.
A leaked email about the plans has Modi suing the ECB.
But Modi is not yet 50. He has the money. He has the burning ambition.
He just might pull off a videshi version of the IPL!
Sunil Rajguru is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/