So, the new thing in the experts studio, or whatever they call it, is a stand-up comedy act before the match. Like there aren't enough jokers in the game. Thankfully, though, this act is only slightly more repulsive than the sight of seven girls making pom-poms dance to Chikni Chameli. And it’s slightly more entertaining than last week's - or was it the week before's? - discussion on Adam Gilchrist’s dismay at having to miss a match for the first time in sixteen years.
If you want to analyse the psyche of players, why not choose Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh? I mean, it’s like their IPL agenda revolves around fighting with any current or prospective national teammate they can spot in the opposition. Or better still, slap them, but it’s been years since that happened. The only physical contact Bhajji seems to make with players now is encouraging pats to the backside. I don’t get that, but then again, I don’t play a sport swimming in machismo. And Munaf Patel’s taken to arguing with umpires, which is probably the wiser thing to do.
But if you want to bring entertainment into the pre-match discussion of a Mumbai Indians vs. Chennai Super Kings game, you should probably just bring in seven men who can do the two-metre coffee thingy in sync. Would be a mighty sight better than fourteen pom-poms trembling to an item number.
The ones who really get it wrong during the IPL, though, are the admakers. What happens to them this time of year? Do they assume just about anything goes when people are watching a bunch of has-beens and wannabes play each other? Or do they assume people won’t be watching the ads anyway? Or, is it a Communist plot to turn all of us off the products the manufacturers are advertising? Because I’ve decided not to buy a lot of this stuff simply based on the ads.
Idea 3G? I mean, forget it. It was bad enough when I had to see three Abhishek Bachchans on screen. Now, I have to hear him try to sing, while cheerleaders from heaven mope around him? Or fat angels die? Right, we get that he's finally the breadwinner of the Bachchan parivaar, but I find myself wishing for the first time that someone would give him a movie to kill time with.
And then, there's Ranbir Kapoor, out to prove that the stand-up act from last season is not the worst he can do. Yes, he can play a slow waiter, a menacing waiter, and every other character that fake hair and a rubber belly can conjure.
Then, there's the Big One of the Season. Rajesh Khanna and his "fans". What was he thinking?! So, this guy walks into an auditorium that is empty, but for battery-operated objects, and assures us that no one can take his fans away? Wrong, pal. That borderline psycho ad just lost you your last, menopausal fans. And what were the admakers thinking? Crazed yesteryear actor who is obsessed with table fans for want of human fans can sell the appeal of electronic fans?
It's almost like cricket is the least illogical thing about the IPL. And I write this on a day that the French-sounding Francois du Plessis turned in arguably the best fielding performance of the game. It also happens to be the day a man called Hollande became president of France, but that’s irrelevant.
My favourite thing about the IPL, though, is that it fancies itself the equivalent of every football premier league there is, simply because it sees fit to throw larger sums of money at fewer men. Forget that football’s been around in those clubs for about a century longer than the IPL, allowing anthems to evolve, and a fan base to build up.
But, no, our IPL has the fans anyway, and the cameramen will prove it, focusing on women who look like they’ve just watched their first-borns sacrificed every time their team loses a wicket. And the team-owners, who will smile and wave anyway, because that’s what actresses do. And the WAGs, most of whom are unrecognisable, because - unlike the football WAGs - very few of them are famous in their own right.
And let's not even get started on the Champions League!