There has been talk of a Sri Lankan T20 Premier League in July. The BCCI will allow players who are not chosen for the West Indies tour to take part.
This is extremely good news for Indian cricket.
Simply put, this is the best competitive practice that the Indian bench can get. Ideally any country should have a talent pool of 20-25 players who can play international cricket at a moment's notice.
Warriors should've picked Ganguly for Mumbai tie
But ensuring that the bench does not rust always poses as big challenge. Many careers were destroyed when players could not adjust from the domestic level to the international level right away, with the pitches being a big factor.
First there was county cricket in England, but that was not a regular affair for most Indian players. Then you had offbeat tournaments like the Hong Kong Sixes, but that was never taken seriously. Finally you had the B tours, but they also have been inconsistent.
As a result a lot of players simply faded out of the picture. But the IPL ensures that around a 100 players from India play competitive cricket of international standards every year without fail. There is another season in the form of the Champions League if your team makes it to the top 3.
Now if you had a few more tournaments like the Sri Lankan Premier League, then dozens of domestic players who don't play for India will be fighting fit all year, ready to be picked up any time they are needed.
A case in the point is someone like Robin Uthappa. Right now there are three ODI openers in the form of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. The BCCI is not even looking to groom another opener.
But Sachin will retire one day and someone from the other two may get injured. Then you'll to 2-3 backup openers. You'll have people like Uthappa on call who would be honing their skills in the IPL.
Return of the Don?
Till IPL happened, Shahrukh Khan was the undisputed king of Bollywood. Then he took on the IPL and his fortunes started going downhill. His last convincing blockbuster was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was in 2008, the year he took on his first IPL.
IPL has given us New Age Gladiators!
Kolkata Knight Riders performed disastrously in its first three seasons. So did his movies. Billu and Dulha Mil Gaya sank without a trace. Even though My Name Is Khan was not a flop, it wasn't a big SRK hit either. Aamir Khan with Ghajini and 3 Idiots and Salman Khan with Dabangg raced way ahead.
In the first three seasons, KKR hovered between 6th and 8th position in an 8-team league. But that seems to have changed in 2011. In a 10-team league, KKR has topped the table mid-way and also has been a strong 2nd/3rd in recent weeks. So has SRK's luck changed? He would hope so, for two of his big budget movies are slated to release this year: Ra.One and Don 2.
SRK paid a whopping $2.4 million to get Gautam Gambhir into KKR. So far that has proved to be his best investment with Gambhir's captaincy being worth every cent.
Yuvi's see-saw life continues!
What is it with Yuvraj Singh? No low lasts for long. No high lasts for long. He has been in and out of the Test team. He has been in and out of ODI form. He has hit six sixes in an over and been hit for five sixes in five balls.
As captain, Yuvi made it to the semi-finals of the first IPL, but failed miserably in the next edition.
After his phenomenal run in our World Cup 2011 victory, where he was man of the series, shining with both the bat and the ball, one would have thought that his luck would have changed for good.
That looked so when he was made captain of Pune Warriors India, winning his first two matches convincingly, one being a revenge match against Kings XI Punjab.
But the pendulum swung the other way and PWI lost a whopping seven matches in a row to bottom the table. Even Delhi and Kochi have made comebacks, but it looks quite unlikely for Pune.
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/