IPL: Whom are You Betting on?

A refreshingly different format with no history to its rescue, a game exploring new dimensions, a match turning friends into foes and the other way around and a crowd wondering whom to cheer for and whom to envy. A game enticing the cricketer and the pioneers of the Indian cinema at the same time while challenging and provoking each other under the very banner of BCCI. A stage where the east meets the west, where the voices never peace out, where each stroke is backed by a thousand cheers and each mistake is burned down to the ashes. Welcome aboard to the journey called ‘Indian Premier League’.

The IPL is a professional Twenty20 cricket league created and promoted by the BCCI and backed by the ICC. This T20 league with eight teams comprising a minimum of 16 players each, which will compete for the next for 44 days and will be involved in 59 matches. The Indian Premier League (IPL) was conceptualized with the aim of adding new vigor to the game of cricket and giving many of the domestic players a platform to showcase their skills and compete among the best. It allows the team mentor to roll out its funds for selecting four ‘Icon’ players or in other words senior players from the BCCI team, four youngsters from the U-22 bracket of domestic level and four international players from the available wide host of options (depending on how big your pockets are!!). It is spearheaded by some of the most famous personalities of the cricketing history and great coaches over the world.

The IPL works on a franchise-system based on the American style of hiring players and transfers. These franchises were put for auction, where the highest bidder won the rights to own the team, representing each city. There was wide participation from diverse spheres in the bidding process which finally crowned King Khan as the owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders, Bollywood queen Preity Zinta backing the Kings XI Punjab, business tycoon Vijay Mallaya leading the Bangalore’s Royal Challengers, Reliance Industries occupying the stage with the Mumbai Indians, GMR Constructions laying out their hopes and faith on Delhi Daredevils and so on. The media rights were sold to India’s Sony Television network and Singapore-based World Sports Group for a whopping $1.026 billion. With cheerleaders greeting this occasion from a place as far as America, the players making their way from destinations spread across the globe and the Indian cricketers chasing their dream from the ruins of darkness into the bright sunny future that awaits their presence, this event is surely set for being the ‘next big thing’. It brings with it a whole new chance of experimenting, a chance to learn from the leaders of the game, an opportunity to get along, co-operate and strategize with players from different countries.

This grand encounter kick-started with all the captains gathering mid-pitch to jointly read out a pledge reaffirming the IPL’s faith in the spirit of cricket. This is definitely bound to challenge the nerves of the spectators for the days to come.

Ishant Arora