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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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