The first set of matches have been completed and all the 8 venues have had a taste of the IPL. The initial figures coming show that there is a lot of excitement in all the cities and crowds have been pouring in. Except for Mohali, which had a slighty smaller turnout, the rest of the venues had fantastic crowds. Yesterday was witness to arguably the best match played so far and the tournament promises more. The lottery that 20-20 can be was quite evident where a match almost given up was suddenly revitalised and finished in a thrilling manner.
The wickets have been batting heavy with Kolkata being the exception. That is what makes cricket so fascinating when a factor not related to the players themselves can change they way the game is played. With the ball turning around and a low score the Kolkata match was thrilling in its own way.
City based support for the players and teams will take a little time to sink in. But the signs are already there. Rahul Dravid mentioned today that he was surprised no one clapped when he hit a boundary in Mumbai! One could also see Veeru signalling to the crowd to clap after he scored his fifty in the Hyderabad game.
The professionalism of the players is really great. Each cricketer is so involved in his team and trying to give his best. The presence of the international stars is making the game a superb spectacle. At the same time a number of youngsters are coming to the party and performing so well. Old reputations are slowly taking a beating whilst new ones are being made. A friend commented about the failure of Symonds while The Hindu clearly sees Laxman as the weakest captain in the League. Some of the older stars like McGrath, Warne, Pollock have been excellent.
I like 20-20. The number of days when we sat down for close to 8 hours and had a horrible night after India lost in Sharjah are a thing of the past. This is quick and fast. It is a batsman’s game but the bowlers will learn fast. Hayden said yesterday that the bowlers are adapting very quickly and will have a crucial role soon. Like someone said the ‘bits and pieces’ cricketers of the ODI variety may not shine as much as the specialists. The exceptions being the genuine all rounders like Pollock, Watson and Hopes.
Get the Englishmen in quickly, find some Zimbabweans and Bangladeshis and let us get this International Indian Premier League rocking! Just a word of caution. The coming week is important as the next round of matches begin at the different venues. Will the crowds continue to come in? Especially as some International cricketers leave for fulfilling their country’s commitments? Let’s wait and see.