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Sports & Fitness
March 20, 2014

One league to rule them all

Text by Nittal Chandarana

Ready for the IPL this year? Here’s the Indian Premier League decoded!

With the great Indian extravaganza just around the corner (no, we’re not speaking about the elections, or the wedding season), Verve gives you a step-by-step guide to follow the action and sanction to quote winners like “Bhajji’s off-spin struck off Pieterson’s bat and was effortlessly caught by Hussey fielding at the slips” or “With Sachin gone, who’s going to play that beautiful clean straight drive stealing towards the boundary.” No we’re not giving you gyaan about the T-20. Why? But didn’t you know we’re more regional than patriotic, like everyone else, (and on the verge of writing a petition for a team representing Gujarat). Ladies and gentlemen, the Indian Premier League decoded.

1. The IPL is India’s favourite sport in a 20-over format, lasts for about 4 hours and leaves you ample time to buy jerseys, flags and other knick-knacks pre-game and click happy selfies post.

2. Twas the brainchild of business tycoon Lalit Modi. A brilliant effort, indeed, seeing how the tournament is in its seventh innings and still going strong. The man himself was embroiled in controversy and is no longer a part of it, but that’s another story.

3. It’s our very own version of the football leagues. Players from all cricket-playing nations are encouraged to participate (unless you’re from Pakistan post the 26/11 tragedy) with a rule of 7 Indian players per team in the playing 11, because, you know, additional perks for our men in blue (barring endorsements, and a very fat paycheque).

4. Industry bigwigs proceed to ‘buy’ their players of choice. Bollywood stars add glamour to the sport by pitching their own stakes in the team. Yuvraj Singh emerged as the most coveted player this season by raking in a cool Rs. 14 crore in the auction.

5. This time around, the intitial 7 teams that participated are retained with Sunrisers Hyderabad reclaiming their place at spot 8, instead of the Deccan Chargers. Scales seem to be tipping in favour of the Royal Challengers Bangalore this time around. A line-up of stalwarts Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Muralitharan, Morkel, Gayle among the team of 21 have elevated them to the favourites slot. Kingfishers on the house, everyone!

6. Stuff you will find in a typical IPL setting:
Knick-knacks and goodies sold outside the stadium: (zillion)
DJ with a 10pm deadline: (1) It’s only after a bit you start wondering why Sreesanth has stopped krumping after every wicket.
Cheerleaders: (must I really?) Indian men rushed to watch these matches for their ardent admiration of cheerleaders, almost equalling their love for the sport.
Celebrities: (a dime a dozen) Bollywood and cricket coming together in this country and nobody has bothered to make a film about this? I ask why!

7. Why IPL 7 is different:
Except for the whole bigger, better, kitschier cliché, the IPL 7 shall be hosted in both India and the UAE due to elections because sadly, people who vote < people who watch the IPL.
This is probably the one place where the rupee triumphs over the dollar.
The IPL auction was, for the first time, conducted in INR.
Star Sports has exclusive streaming rights. This is where you log in to secretly catch the score from the confines of your office cubicle.

8. Jersey, aviators, flag, sunblock, paint on face, coloured wig are the designated dress code. Any average fan will tell you why all this is so important. How else will you tell your 9036874 friends on Facebook what a great time you had at #IPL7?
P.S. Don’t forget to check in on Four Square.

9. What we’re going to miss this season: ‘Sachin! Sachin!’ chants, Sreesanth’s emotional outbursts, our headstrong but favourite rivals from the neighbouring country, eye candy in the form of pace bowler Brett Lee and SRK-spotting at Wankhede.

10. Now the IPL, like any other event in the country, has had its fair share of controversy. Ex-Chairman under the scanner for ‘alleged acts of misdemeanour’ – whatever that means, introduction and quick repeal of new teams, the 2013 match fixing affair and the jewel in its crown – the arrest of the BCCI president’s son for illegal betting.

11. Repeal of the IPL? End of an annoying era? With all the controversy surrounding teams Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings, the Supreme Court has asked the BCCI for a quick repeal of both. Lalit Modi does one better and asks for the tournament itself to be suspended.

12. In another news, 40,000 tickets to the IPL have been purchased online. The fate of kitschy cricket lies in the hands of the omnipotent sponsors.

But we love all this masala, don’t we? We thrive on it. The IPL has quickly doubled up as yet another spot to meet friends, groove to the music, and order a pizza while you’re at it. All these shenanigans unfold as cricket takes a backseat and blurs away as white noise into an all-too-vibrant visage. But there must be something to this renewed 20-over format. A moment of silence for the defunct ODIs, please. We leave you to mull over that while we book our tickets for the MI vs. KKR match.

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