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sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:15 PM

IPL 2008 - The event of the year It was the event of the year as far as the cricketing world was concerned.
With the unbelievable build up, the innovative format of having franchisees and city based teams, the auctioning of players and the tremendous interest the project generated around the cricketing world, there was never any doubt that the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League would have a favourable outcome.

The six-week extravaganza which had glitz and glamour and cricket of the rollicking variety in fact turned out to be a whopping success giving rise to a new phrase – cricketainment.

All this of course was a far cry from the staid world of Test cricket and there was enough in the new format to make the traditionalists wince.
But I suppose one has to move with the times.

It certainly was difficult to accept the dancing girls for example but then spectators in the stands were holding up placards that read ``I came only to see the dancing girls.’’

This was entertainment of a different kind and Bollywood’s bond with cricket grew stronger as a result of the IPL.

Image: Actor Emran Hashmi receives kisses from cheergirls before the start of the IPL T20 match between Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Uppal in Hyderabad.

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:16 PM

Top 10 events of 2008 Whichever way one examines the event there is little doubt that the IPL struck the right chords around the country.
The IPL was also closely followed by cricket fans all over the world what with the cash-rich tournament having a truly international touch.

Also keeping a tab on it were administrators who see Twenty20 as the game’s future.
On the eve of the tournament Sachin Tendulkar predicted that the IPL would be a super-hit and indeed the IPL caught the public fancy in this country like few events in the past.
Everywhere you went, the discussion among cricket enthusiasts – and even those having only a passing interest in the game – centered round various aspects of the IPL. The fact that film stars, prominent industrialists and media barons were among the franchisees added more than a touch of glamour while the astronomical amount of money involved was the subject of much debate.

Various opinion polls focused on the large number of women followers among the millions of TV viewers and also significant according to the pollsters was that the IPL scored over the soap operas as also Shah Rukh’s game show Kya Aap Panchvi Paas Se Tez Hai.

Image: Bollywood actress Preity Zinta (R) gestures while I.S Bindra looks on during the launch of the IPL`s Kings XI cricket team in Mohali.

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:17 PM The IPL succeeded in exploding many myths about the Twenty20 game – that it is a batsman’s game, that it is a format of, by and for the youngsters and oldies have no place in it, and that it is all slam bang with little by way of strategic moves or tactical planning.

Describing the IPL as `a landmark time in cricket’ Adam Gilchrist was of the view that after 30 years when people look back they would say it is the most important thing to have happened in cricket.
``In time to come people will say IPL changed the direction of cricket,’’ he said and it is difficult to disagree with this view.

Image: Official Kings XI merchandise including mugs and fun badges were launched during the tournament. IndiaFM

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:17 PM In a tournament lasting 45 days and involving 59 matches there was bound to be a glitch or two.

There was the odd incident and the hot-under-the-collar statements.
Admitting the glitches, IPL chairman Lalit Modi reminded everyone that it was the first year of a tournament run on a massive scale and he hoped that everything would be ironed out by the time of the next edition.
The eagerness with which Cricket fans are waiting for the second season to start underlines impact the IPL has created.

Image: Mumbai Indians’ Harbhajan slapping his Team India teammate Kings XI’s Sreesanth was the most controversial moment in IPL 2008. Also seen in this collage is Kings XI owner Priety Zinta.

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:18 PM It seemed almost incidental that the least fancied side Rajasthan Royals led shrewdly by Shane Warne won the trophy defeating Chennai Super Kings captained by MS Dhoni in a pulsating final in Mumbai by seven wickets, the winning run being scored off the last ball of the match – a storybook finish to an eventful tournament.

Delhi Daredevils and King’s XI Punjab were the semifinalists while the more fancied teams Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers from Bangalore failed to qualify for the last four.

Image: Yusuf Pathan, Shane Warne celebrate after Rajasthan Royals clinched the crown.

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:19 PM The stupendous success of the IPL opened the debate as to how much impact Twenty20 cricket would have on Test cricket and one day internationals, a debate that continued to rage till the end of the year.
Overall, the verdict was that cricket may never be the same again.

That cricket is no longer a sport but an industry in India is well known for some time now. But even after accepting this, it was clear that the IPL had taken the game into a new realm.

One always says that the sky is the limit but those promoting cricket as a business venture would like to believe that there is no such thing as limit when it comes to big money in the game.

Image: Kings XI Punjab skipper Yuvraj Singh and his teammates seen in traditional Mysorean attire during a function in Bangalore.

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:19 PM A positive aspect of the IPL was that with players of different nations turning out for the same team it could help the cricketers to forget bitter memories of the past and bring them together.

Tom Moody the former Australian all rounder who was the coach of the Mohali team expressed the view that when cricketers are playing in opposite sides things can get heated.

``But when players get together in a team, the game tends to take control of all egos and past discrepancies,` said Moody.

It was such a pleasure for example to see Ricky Ponting hugging Sourav Ganguly when the latter took a wicket and other such similar heartwarming scenes.

And of course it was a great sight to see Brett Lee hurling them down at Matthew Hayden, Glenn McGrath bowling to Adam Gilchrist or Muthiah Muralitharan unveiling his bag of tricks to Kumar Sangakkara.
Image: Kings XI Punjab`s skipper Yuvraj Singh celebrates with Mahela Jayawardene after their team`s win over Deccan Chargers.

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:20 PM There certainly was no lack of intensity or preparation and the IPL was deadly serious stuff. Winning mattered to every member of the eight participating teams.
The IPL was not just about glitz and glamour, dancing girls and more Bollywood than cricket.
There was a lot in it even for the serious cricket follower and underneath the razzle-dazzle there was no shortage of methodical planning, tactical thinking or matters of strategy.
The IPL was a boon not only for Indian cricketers but also for cricketers all over the world.

Many of the youngsters seen in action for the various teams were languishing at the domestic level before participation in the IPL guaranteed them a wider audience and some of them went on to become household names.

To be candid had anyone heard of Manpreet Gony, Swapnil Asnodkar, Ashok Dinda, Yo Mahesh, Pragyan Ojha, Abhishek Nayar and Wriddhiman Saha before the IPL commenced? Yet through sheer force of performance they are now familiar names in cricketing circles.

Not at all overawed by the big names they were up against, they batted and bowled fearlessly and with a lot of enthusiasm.

By the end of the tournament, they were the subject of TV interviews, feature stories in leading newspapers and the cricket websites went to town about their exploits.

Ojha and Gony forced their way into the Indian team and the presence of so many promising young players underlined the bench strength of the Indian team.

Image: Rajasthan Royals’ Asnodkar seen here during the IPL final against the Chennai Super Kings.

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:20 PM The IPL also gave an opening to many fringe players to showcase their talent and become regular players in the national squad in the near future.

Leg spinners Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla gave enough indication that they are ready to wear the India cap on a more regular basis.
Rohit Sharma gave further evidence that he was a batting star of the future .
But the prime example was Yusuf Pathan (seen here during the final) who was a member of the triumphant Twenty20 World Cup squad last year in South Africa.
He played in only the final of the World Cup but even during his brief innings at the top of the order one could immediately discern that he was an uncommonly gifted big hitter and just the kind of cricketer required for the limited overs format.

This image acquired a whole new dimension in the IPL where his big hitting saw him acquire a strike rate of almost 180 over 16 matches – the second highest for anyone who played over six matches - on his way to scoring 435 runs with four half centuries. He certainly had a major role in Rajasthan Royals winning the title and as a bonus his subtle off spin saw him pick up a few wickets. The man of the match award in the final was the icing on the cake.

sunilpal 12-25-2008 08:21 PM

As I said, it was not only Indian players who benefited.
Shaun Marsh (seen here), Shane Watson and Sohail Tanvir caught the eye and hogged the headlines for their superlative performances and much more will undoubtedly be heard of their exploits in the near future.

The cynics may scoff at the IPL being nothing more than a domestic tournament.

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