Shane Warne has lived his life in extremes. From being the world’s leading wicket taker to being involved in scandals related to drugs, sex and match-fixing. From being dropped from his team in the 1990s to being their No. 1 match-winner later on. It looks like that has rubbed on to his IPL team too. Rajasthan Royals won the IPL in 2008 and failed to reach the semis in 2009.
In the third season, they lost three straight matches before winning four in a row. RR is also the only team in this edition which has crossed 200 twice along with being all out for less than 100 runs. Their star batsman Yusuf Pathan scored a century in the very first match and scored a duck in his next one. So it’s anyone’s guess how they’ll fare in their last four matches.
IPL and the advertising orgy
One thing emerging with every edition of IPL is Lalit Modi’s larger than life image. He’s everywhere, involved in every decision and is probably the favorite face that the cameras zoom to. So, when lesser mortal Narendra Hirwani (a BCCI selector, no less) walked into the VIP box, he was shown the door.
After the BCCI chief allegedly boycotted the opening ceremony, other selectors have decided to keep away from the IPL. Wonder how the BCCI-IPL relationship will go from here. In other news, Gautam Gambhir called the Rajasthan Royals an “ordinary” team and drew Modi’s ire. Mr Chairman & Commissioner demanded Gambhir be charged with a Level 1 offence! One look at his Twitter account and it is no secret that RR is his favourite team.
What next? Modi clearly sees himself as another Kerry Packer and is India’s highest tax-payer in the current fiscal. With the Champions League (of which he is the Chairman) and an overseas IPL, Modi is forming a parallel cricket world that will run throughout the year.
Ban Cheerleaders: We’re Indian
Even though cheerleaders have become a permanent fixture at IPL, many groups are yet to come to terms with them. Some call it un-Indian, while others don’t like the fact that there are only foreign cheerleaders. In the debut season, it was alleged that two cheerleaders were sent back for the colour of their skin, but they never filed a formal complaint (in this season all 50 cheerleaders are white).
Apart from many protesting groups like Orissa’s Kalinga Sena, even Congress MLAs rallied against cheerleaders and liquor at the IPL in the Delhi Assembly. Some even demanded banning IPL matches in Delhi! MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly protested against it, calling it an “obscene dance”.
Despite all this, all eyes are firmly on the cheerleaders and they continue to be stars in their own right. In Bangalore, they were even unofficially exempted from the no-smoking ban.
IPL 2010: Full Coverage
It’s Raining Centuries
In IPL2, only two centuries were scored. In comparison, the week starting March 29 saw three centuries being hit (Vijay's 127, Jayawardene's 110* and Warner's 107*) along with three scores of 85+. As the league is nearing completion, it looks like the batsmen are slowly going berserk.
Naman Ojha and Murali Vijay joined Sachin Tendulkar in the 300 run club even as Jacques Kallis crossed 400. Vijay is peaking at the right time and has 247 runs from 123 balls (strike rate 200%) in his last three matches!
Counting County Out
There was a time when a lot of Indian cricketers looked to county cricket in England to hone their skills or just for a change. Examples from the current crop of players are Rahul Dravid (Kent), Sachin Tendulkar & Yuvraj Singh (Yorkshire), Virender Sehwag (Leicestershire), Harbhajan Singh (Lancashire) and Zaheer Khan (Surrey & Worcestershire). That’s quite a lot.
Not many know that country cricket started the world’s first Twenty20 Cup as early as 2003. One would have thought they would have gone the IPL way and foreign players would have picked up their T20 skills in England. But the reverse happened. First, the IPL took the lead to become the premier T20 tournament in the world. Now the BCCI has decided that Indian players will not play in country cricket due to a packed calendar.
So the No Objection certificate has not been given to the following players: Yusuf Pathan for Essex, Sehwag for Northamptonshire and Piyush Chawla for Surrey. Adam Gilchrist said that cricket is close to saturation point. It looks as if county cricket is the first casualty.