So it’s been one week since the IPL began (no kidding!). Some teams have even played three times! Obviously, since you have your targets / girlfriend to meet and generally have had enough of cricket, you might not have exactly been glued to the telly.
So here we are, we’ve put together the brightest and dimmest, best and worst, crests and troughs, Harsha and Shastri here for you so that if you get into a water-cooler discussion about the IPL, you can act all expert-like, hold your own and get a promotion from your cricket-mad boss (and you thought he left at 4 PM these days for meetings? Ha!).
The damp squib: Matches played: 11. Exciting matches played: 1. The IPL, generally associated with crass commercialisation close finishes and general back-from-the-dead resurrections, was as exciting as Microsoft Office’s EULA. Barring Rohit Sharma's awesome onslaught against Deccan, of course. The IPL will need many more close finishes unless they want to go the Kingfisher Airlines way.
Indianization gone bad: Now, don't get me wrong... I'm all for national pride and all that. But there are times when you'd like to keep western concepts western and Indian concepts Indian, and make sure the twain don't meet. I'm talking of course, of the horrendous idea of trying to make cheerleaders make saris. I am not sure of the standing of Kolkata and Pune in fashion circles, but I can tell you, Marie Claire is not going to clamour to set up an office there.
The decibel-pusher: Ravi Shastri, I believe, doesn’t realize that the mic in his hand actually serves the purpose of transmitting sound signals to an amplifier. There’s no other reason, then, that he bellows like he’s giving a human impersonation of an avalanche during the apocalypse. Here’s a tip - as soon as the Extraaa Innings anchor says, “And now we’re off to the ground…”, press Mute. Unless you want to carry hearing aids for the rest of your life.
The stupidest thing to do on air: Goes to Shah Rukh Khan. No, not for that giga-disaster called Ra.One, but for actually having a puff in the stadiums, well knowing how anal the information ministry is about such things, well knowing that the cameras would be focusing on him. No matter how bad your team is doing, I’m afraid smoking on air while such moral polices are around is no excuse, sir. Just be thankful Anbumani Ramadoss is no longer around, or you would have been in a deeper pit.
The mathematically pleasing factoid: How cool was it that 5 consecutive batters in the KKR team against RCB scored 1, 2, 3, 4, 5? I’d do anything to see a full 1, 2, 3… 10, 11 now. With 12 extras!
The long-awaited controversy: Keeping the IPL clear of controversy is like listening to trance without bass. Or having 2MBps internet without access to illegal torrents. Or eating biryani without chicken. Or… Okay, you get the picture. Boss, you need masala in the tournament! What good is it if players keep patting each other on the back and smiling after being hit for six as if the batsman had helped the bowler copy in an exam and saved his behind? It was then, with much sense of relief, that we saw the controversy-magnet himself, Harbhajan Singh, squabbling with the umpires like a baby who had its lollipop taken away. Sure, this particular controversy might not reach the epic proportions of Monkeygate or Slapgate, but it was a darn sight better than all those hugs and XOXOs cricketers seem to be indulging in these days. Good on ya, Bhaj, for bringing the steel back into the game!
Worst addition to the English language: DLF-ed, which is apparently a verb now, which means to score six runs. Thank you, Professor Danny Morrison, where would we be without you?
The omnipresent: You know when you’re trying to avoid that one co-worker whose wedding you skipped to go drinking? And you just keep bumping into him? Yeah, Kevon Cooper was that way in the third game of the IPL. Try as they may, the Kings XI Punjab just couldn’t seem to get away from him. 7 of the 9 dismissals (78%, if you like) involved him – either as a bowler, catcher, or run-out-er. And this, after smacking a six and a four off the first two deliveries he faced in the IPL. A truly stunning debut.
Conspicuous by absence: The Zoo-zoos. Where are they now? Some of us tune in just to find out, you know? (Thank goodness there’s no blimp this time, though)
The bounceback: After being rubbished by all and sundry for an underwhelming performance in CSK’s first match, the million-dollar baby, Ravindra Jadeja, put up a stellar show – scoring 48 and 5/16 in their next game. Many a critic ate very big words.
The damning chakka statistic: Is the IPL losing its sixability? After the 10th game today, there were only 94 sixes hit. Compare this with 10 completed games across other seasons – 139, 100, 98, 80. So while the 2011 edition was obviously an aberration because people thought it would be disrespectful to try and upstage Dhoni’s famous World Cup-winning six, there has been a clear decline. Does this mean batsmen are getting more technically correct and there are less slogs? Does this mean bowlers are making it more difficult to hit them all the way? Are there too many complaints by ball manufacturers saying they can’t make so many balls? Is the influence of Test cricket finally telling on T20s? I guess we’ll need to watch the rest of the games to know.
The wrong address: Very few people would have been excited about the dud called an IPL opening ceremony. So how do you ensure even less interest? Hold it a day before the tournament – at a place other than the stadium, of course! Master-stroke by the organizers!
Honey, please take out the trash: But only if honey is given free match tickets. So the Bangalore municipality apparently refused to clear the stadium of trash because they weren’t given free passes to the games. ‘Owzat, now?
Also see: IPL: Umpires want more money, publicity!
Deepak Gopalakrishnan aka Chuck is a Mumbai-based cartoonist, blogger and green chilli aficionado.
He tweets here