Oct 13, 2018: Awesome cricket, great atmosphere, lots of controversies, world-wide fan following, A few players brawl here and there…just a few things to describe the first half of this years IPL. The Diwalli break for IPL is here and the league will be resumed in another 2 week's time. Now it’s the perfect time to revisit this year's IPL super league.
The most romantic story of this year’s IPL is the growing up of the Kanpur kings as a team. A mostly unknown team, owned by one of the Milk barons of Kanpur, Ramu Bhaia, was playing in the IPL 3rd divisions just a couple of years back… and here is this team playing the IPL super league and after half of the season has passed they are now in the 2nd spot. Their captain, 38 year old Md. Kaif, in his last season, is leading from the front with the able support of the coach, Michael Vaughan.
Sourav Ganguly, The legendary Captain and coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders, summed up Kanpur kings’ or K2’s effort, “ Kanpur is a big team from a small city. Ramu bhaia has invested his money and faith on the players and now he gets his reward. The team is determined, agile in the ground and gelled together well despite having players from 6 different countries including Norway. Lastly they have a great coach and captain who proves that he is still good enough to play T-20.”
Kaif was controversially dropped from Indian T-20 team for the world cup and tagged as only F-50 player.
Hyderabad Blues, the renamed version of Deccan Chargers this season, is currently on the top with 10 wins from 11 games. The young guns like S. Rajesh, Md. Iqbal, Sutirtha Sen are playing very well under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma, the Indian T-20 captain. 19 year old Sutirtha is the Batsman of the tournament so far, scoring 634 runs with a strike rate of 289.76!! Which is 17 runs higher than last years best batsman Virat Kohli.
The best match of the tournament till now was when Kolkata Kite Flyers host Kolkata Knight Riders in their home ground in Salt Lake. Because of fierce rivalry of these two teams and team owners in last few years, this match is now being called the Kolkata Derby. This year’s match also maintains the reputation of being the closest match of the season when Arjun Tendulkar, the charismatic fast bowler of Knight Riders completes an unbelievable hat-trick in the last 3 balls of the innings. Amitabha Bachchan, the 75 year old team owner of the KKF had a small heart attack in the ground and Shahrukh Khan, KKR’s owner tried to pull his 20 years old son on his shoulder and has dislocated his shoulder in that process. Both of them are fine now.
Sutirtha and Arjun are respectively the best batsman and best bowler in IPL till now. Another player in the race for MVP is the teen-ager American off spinning all rounder Micheal Adamson. Micheal was in the news early in the season when he became the first American player to sign for an IPL team. Rajasthan Royals signed him for 150 crorer rupees, which is 15,000,000,000 USD (with the current exchange rate of 1 rupee= 10 USD). Micheal, who has an American father and a Sri lankan mother is tipped to become the first great American cricket player and expected to lead USA cricket team in future and helped them achieving great fits like qualifying for the T-20 world cup, which they missed by a whisker last time, when they were beaten by Brazil in the American zone play-offs.
The most controversial moment came when Tim Southy, Lucknow Nawbab’s overseas player was kicked on the shin by Shahid Afridi, the 28 year old (Officially) Pakistani recruit of Jalandhar Joshila. Afridi was suspended by BCCI for 8 matches. Jalandhar’s coach Harbhajan Singh came into his players support, saying,” It’s a one-off incident. Afridi is a very good guy. Very good at heart. When Lucknow will visit to play the return league I’ll ask Tim to visit Afridi's flat and those two can have dinner together.” Incidentally, in the very first version of IPL in 2008 Harbhajan was suspended for backslapping Sreeshanth, former Indian player and current Telegu superstar.
Another controversy came up when after the draw of WCL, World Champions league, Rahul Dravid, the Chief Cricketing Officer of Bangalore Royale Challengers came up with theory of conspiracy against ICC as both the top ranked teams of Australia and South Africa were in his groups alongside Kent, a relatively weaker opposition. “For two consecutive years, we got a very tough draw in WCL and I think some foul play is going on in ICC, but still our boys will fight hard and come up with good results.” This was Dravid’s reaction after the draw and well, he better bring good results as the team owner Vijay Mallya has the dubious record of sacking 7 CEO’s in the first 10 seasons of IPL. Although till now he hasn’t sacked a Chief Cricketing Officer as this term is coined this year only. Before that there were long search of CEO for the team by Mr. Mallya, who in the process offered the post to 8 different individuals, most notably Laloo Prasad Yadav and Mandira Bedi, but all of them rejected the offer.
Well, till now the 11th season of IPL is a greater success than the previous editions and we are looking forward to have a great second half and possibly a greater finish.