SOURAV GANGULY | KIERON POLLARD | Ryan ten Doeschate | Eric simons | DILEEP PREMACHANDRAN | R KAUSHIK | ANGELA CARSON | NEIL MANTHORP
a league less ordinary
WISDEN INDIA EXTRA SESHADRI SUKUMAR/AFP/GettyImages
on the cover: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/GettyImages
CONTENTS Editorâ€™s Note
Introduction By Sourav Ganguly
the tv deal
- Dale Steyn
the big bang Powered by a 48-ball 89 from Manvinder Bisla (fifth from left), KKR romped home by five wickets against CSK in the IPL-V final in 2012 to win their first IPL trophy.
By Neil Manthorp
- Kieron Pollard
- Ryan ten Doeschate
- Shakib Al Hasan
The role of the coach By Eric Simons
the physio and IPL Physics
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he laser show and Brendon McCullum’s even more vivid strokeplay in the first Indian Premier League game. Thousands of Kolkata fans walking in search of transport after midnight on Rabindra Jayanti. Shane Warne talking up his unknown players and eventually guiding them to the title. Tendulkar against Warne in Durban. Complimentary bottles of wine in the press box in Port Elizabeth. Manish Pandey’s heroics on a most un-Indian pitch at Centurion. Symonds and Gilchrist reaching back to the glory years to deliver an unexpected win. Hayden and his Mongoose. Chennai Super Kings finally shedding the bridesmaid’s garb. Lalit Modi and one tweet too many. A postWorld Cup IPL that left most cold. A Kochi team that lasted only a season. The Chargers’
countdown to extinction three years after winning the trophy. Kolkata’s shirt changes, and a trophy after seasons of ridicule. Overpriced flops. Undervalued gems. Think of the IPL and many of these images, fleeting or not, form a kaleidoscope in my mind. On the verge of its sixth season, cricket’s richest league continues to divide opinion. The most passionate followers view it as the Promised Land, and Modi, who envisaged it, as a Prophet. Its detractors see it as a bully with two fistfuls of dollars, whose excesses have irrevocably altered cricket’s financial ecosystem for the worse. The Greatest Show on Earth or The Great Satan — there’s rarely a middle ground. The reality is, of course, more nuanced. Like a small child who’s gone beyond baby steps without being able to sprint, the IPL is still finding its way and its place in the larger scheme of things. Its lucrative contracts have
changed lives, and even subsidised other cricket boards in exchange for their noobjection certificates.
not going anywhere. It’s here to stay.
The suspicion remains that the schedule is too bloated and flabby — six weeks and 76 games — but the crowds continue to turn up. So do the players, including the elite. Those that miss out grumble and may refuse to sign central contracts in the future.
The second edition of the Wisden India Extra takes you inside the IPL and gives you many different perspectives. The views of players, coaches, physios, fans, TV producers and even cheerleaders — each of them addressing the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly. We hope you have as much fun reading it as we did putting it together. ‡
Five years after Monkeygate, Ricky Ponting will captain Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar. Rahul Dravid will take his last bows. Millions will flock to the grounds, including new venues at Raipur and Ranchi. Many more will follow the action on TV, complete with breathless overhyped commentary. Love it or loathe it, the IPL is
Dileep Premachandran is editor-in-chief at Wisden India. Follow him on Twitter @SpiceBoxofEarth
Contributors: Sourav Ganguly, R Kaushik, Shamya Dasgupta, Sidhanta Patnaik, Neil Manthorp, Kieron Pollard, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Eric Simons, Dileep V, Saurabh Somani, Angela Carson, Manoj Narayan | Compiled by Manish Adhikary | Designed by Ashish Mohanty
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that extra zing to fight By Sourav Ganguly
f I was to be perfectly honest, my generation had no idea how big Twenty20 was going to be. After we finished the tour of England in 2007, I remember Rahul Dravid, then India’s captain, telling us that the youngsters should go for the World Twenty20 tournament in South Africa. We had won the Test series in England and, a few days after the World T20, Australia were due to tour India for a one-day series. We thought we would rest and start afresh against Australia. MS Dhoni ended up captaining the team to South Africa, and we all know what
happened next. The first IPL auction a few months later was also another clue as to how big it would become. The prices paid for players seemed like madness at the time. Now, it’s common. My mind often goes back to the first IPL game in Bangalore. The atmosphere was just electrifying. Over my career, I went out to toss quite a few times, for India, Bengal and others. But that first game… when Rahul and I went out, it was like a carnival — music, colour, noise and the excitement of the unknown. Brendon McCullum’s hitting just added to that.
INTRODUCTION DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP
That first season, Kolkata Knight Riders played Rahul and RCB once more, on Rabindro Jayanti in Kolkata. Rain delayed the start and the match finished long after midnight. But there were still 50000-plus inside. That brought home to us just how much people had taken to the new format. With the added city sentiment, it was a different high.
so. If anything, it gave you that extra zing to fight it out against those who were usually your colleagues.
blazing start McCullum set the stage for IPL I by cracking a 73-ball 158 in the very first match of the season, against RCB, in Bangalore in 2008.
If it was possible, I would try and improve the ‘local’ connect. You look at the following that the top European and South American football teams get in their cities — we see the same in Kolkata, with Mohun Bagan and East Bengal — and so much of that is because of a sense of local pride. Going forward, that sense of identity is what the IPL needs to nurture most. ‡
For me, that sense of identification with a city was the best part of playing the IPL, even with so many international stars there. People often asked if it wasn’t awkward playing against your India teammates. I never found it to be
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five years on, IPl mojo rising By R Kaushik
hen the Indian Premier League was initially conceptualised and then unveiled amid great fanfare, there was excitement, yes, but there was also great apprehension. For one thing, the Twenty20 game had yet to intrude upon the imagination of the average Indian cricket fan. For another, no one was sure how city-based franchises would be received by audiences. It was a sign of the times that even as the IPL was being launched formally, a newlook Indian team was quietly making its way through the draw at the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa.
In September 2007, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was only a little more than a bit player, so no one raised an eyebrow when he was missing from the official launch. Today, Dhoni is the undisputed superstar of Indian cricket, just as the IPL is the behemoth of domestic leagues worldwide. Itâ€™s worth remembering that India were reluctant participants in the first World T20. Indian administrators frowned upon the 20-over version, introduced a decade ago in England to revive waning interests in cricket, dismissing it as a hit-andgiggle routine that the Indian landscape could do without. The emergence of the Indian Cricket League, a rebel tournament,
the big picture Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images
somewhat forced the Board of Control of Cricket in India’s hand, but few would have envisaged the runaway success that the IPL has become over the last five seasons.
surprise victors The success of India, the reluctant T20 the IPL, particularly converts, saw a shift in its first year, was in BCCI’s view of the format after the team a direct fallout of won the inaugural the national team’s World T20 in 2007. exploits in South Africa. Yuvraj Singh irrevocably trained a nation’s eyes on the unfamiliar format with six sixes in an over off Stuart Broad, and when S Sreesanth held on to a Misbah-ul-Haq catch that signalled India’s triumph over Pakistan in the final, not only did it trigger an outpouring of national pride and celebration, it also piqued the interest in Twenty20 cricket of the hitherto blasé fan. Talk about timing.
There is no gain saying what course the domestic competition with an international f lavour would have taken had Dhoni’s men not gone all the way in South Africa. India had played exactly one Twenty20 International before their African adventure. That the BCCI sat the seniors out showed exactly what they thought of a competition they only entered, it has been whispered, after being promised the right to stage the 50-over World Cup in 2011.
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R Kaushik Tom Shaw/Getty Images
Any fears that the IPL, ushered in with great pomp and ceremony as cricket and entertainment became strange bedfellows once the BCCI embraced the T20 concept wholeheartedly, might not be well received were allayed on the very first day of action in IPL I. In front of a packed gathering at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore that was unsure of what to expect but was certain that there would be value for money, Brendon McCullum exploded in sensational fashion. The spectacular fireworks during the opening ceremony paled in comparison as McCullum, turning out for Kolkata Knight Riders, subjected the Royal Challengers
Bangalore bowling to a most brutal assault, smashing an unbeaten 158.
turning tables Modi was a picture of relief as he watched the IPL opening ceremony unfold in Cape Town in 2009, after the league was forced out of India due to general elections.
It was exhilarating stuff. Bangaloreans couldn’t help but appreciate and admire the quality of McCullum’s batsmanship. That said, while franchise loyalty had obviously yet to take root, the home crowd wasn’t amused to see ‘its’ bowlers being taken to the cleaners. Even that at early stage, though, it became apparent that with the passage of time, fans would identify with ‘their’ teams.
the big picture
As the years have progressed, so has the IPL grown as a brand, as an event, as a wonderfully heady and potent cocktail of cricket, entertainment and drama. Its place in the cricketing landscape is now firmly established; for eight weeks every April and May, evenings are set aside, the fight for remotes non-existent because Twenty20 cricket has successfully won its battle with tear-jerking soap operas. The IPL itself has evolved hugely from its early days. David Hussey told Wisden India about how IPL I was mainly about aftermatch parties and sponsor events. “The cricket was almost secondary,” he recalled, “whereas now, it’s fully about the cricket. The first year, everyone thought it was just a new competition that was all about a lot of fun but now it’s big business. Everyone wants to make the finals, qualify for the Champions League.” Inevitably, the IPL has courted controversy, as an event of this magnitude invariably will. Much of the early controversy stemmed from the words, and sometimes deeds, of Lalit Modi, the mercurial former chairman of the league. He dared the Indian government in 2009, the year of the general elections, and took the second edition of the IPL to South Africa. The tournament was a resounding success, not least because of the huge Indian settlement there, and Modi considered it a personal coup because he put on an impeccable show in an alien land at very short notice. By
Ball The first official Twenty20 match was played in 2003 in England, and the first international between Australia and New Zealand in 2005. India went into the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 having played just one match until then — against South Africa in December 2006. participation in the IPL was restricted to the commentary box and the coaching staff. The uncertain political climate in the wake of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 meant franchise owners were wary of signing Pakistani players. This led to a misplaced sense of outrage and betrayal across the border, but that didn’t make too much of a difference with franchise owners steadfastly steering clear of bidding for Pakistan players at the auctions. Not until IPL-V, when Azhar Mahmood, now a British citizen, turned out for Kings XI Punjab, did a Pakistani play again in the tournament. It is unlikely, given the current political climate, that Pakistani players will be seen in action in IPL VI, however much one might try to keep politics and sport separate.
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Modi bit off more than he could chew by implying that then Union Minister Shashi Tharoor had a role to play in the Kochi franchise winning a successful bid for IPLIV as the league expanded into a ten-team competition. Minutes after the final of IPL-III had been completed at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, the man primarily credited with the resounding success of the IPL was suspended on disciplinary grounds, charges of financial irregularities having subsequently been probed, and proven, by investigative agencies. Modi, brash and abrasive, hadn’t endeared himself to many
network and goes into IPL-VI as Sunrisers Hyderabad. On the field, few have been as dominant as Chennai Super Kings. Dhoni has led the team astutely and steered them to at least the semifinals in all five editions. The Super Kings have won the title twice and have made the finals on two other occasions, marking them as the most consistent team over the years. Chennai have reiterated the significance of continuity by sticking to the core group from season one, both in terms of on-field personnel and backroom support staff.
Gayle, the Jamaican with tattoos and flowing dreadlocks, has single-handedly propelled the IPL into the stratosphere. when he ruled the IPL with an iron fist. Few sympathised with him, therefore, when he fell on bad times. Ownership patterns continued to haunt the IPL with Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab both having to win legal battles to overturn their suspensions. Kochi Tuskers Kerala, however, were less fortunate as they were disbanded after just one edition. IPL-V was consequently reduced to a nine-team affair. Just a few months ago, Deccan Chargers were terminated as an IPL franchise. The Hyderabad team has since been bought by the Sun Television
Dhoni’s stock grew exponentially with the Super Kings’ success, as did that of Suresh Raina, M Vijay and, most dramatically, R Ashwin. Ashwin, the offspinner, had already taken 50 first-class wickets but he wasn’t noticed by the fans — or the selectors — until his IPL exploits. Virat Kohli, Rahul Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan, among others, took the IPL route to the national team; equally, ‘impact’ players faded away rapidly. Swapnil Asnodkar, Kamran Khan, Amit Singh, Paul Valthaty, Harmeet Singh — all young men who flourished briefly, but who disappeared as dramatically as they broke through.
the big picture
Punit PARANJPE/afp photo
Anil Kumble, Shane Warne, Rahul Dravid, Muttiah Muralitharan, Brad Hodge and Sachin Tendulkar have debunked the young man myth, while Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajinkya Rahane, Michael Hussey, AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis have shown that there is a place for classicism even in slam-bang cricket. Dale Steyn has produced some of the most outstanding IPL spells, while Sunil Narine owes his Test debut to his magical bowling in IPL-V. No one, though, epitomises the IPL better than Chris Gayle. Unwanted for IPL IV after three modest, troubled seasons with underachieving Kolkata Knight Riders, Gayle was snapped up by Royal Challengers Bangalore following an injury to Dirk Nannes, the Australian paceman. Gayle, the towering Jamaican with tattoos galore and flowing dreadlocks, has single-handedly propelled the IPL into the stratosphere, with his astonishing six-hitting skills and laidback attitude bringing the crowds back in their thousands to the venues and lending credence to the belief that the lukewarm response to IPL IV was a direct fallout of its proximity to the World Cup. Gayle is the ultimate entertainer, a free spirit who can decimate and destroy with consummate ease. All on his own, he has changed the face of the IPL at a time when it was turning blue in a desperate search for oxygen. The West Indies might have lost Gayle for a year after the 2011 World Cup, but as he was laying into the bowlers
and scattering packed crowds in the stands, he was also raising the profile of the IPL.
the talisman The Chennai Super Kings, led by Dhoni, have won the IPL twice and reached the semifinals of all five editions.
He was also s p e e c h l e s s l y strengthening his claims for an eventual international return that culminated in him playing a starring role in the West Indiesâ€™ triumph in the World T20 in Sri Lanka in October 2012. â€Ą
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dancing down the tv track By Shamya Dasgupta
ust under two months. Around nine hours every day. Every moment under close scrutiny. Camerapersons, vision mixers, technicians, producers (at the venue and inside the production control room), anchors, reporters, experts – no one can slip. And it’s all live. No time, or room, for retakes. All done while jet-setting around the country. That, in a nutshell, is what the production of the Indian Premier League involves. Three hundred-odd people on the job. One very popular TV show. The coverage of the live event alone involves upwards of 20 cameras (including the one that flies around
above the stadium supported by wires) at the ground and an additional eight in the central studio in Mumbai for the pre, mid and post-match shows. It also requires a massive contingent of technicians, graphic artists, producers, odd-jobs people and much else. But, at some level, it is basically an extension of the usual live coverage of cricket. With its years of experience in producing live cricket content, the International Management Group does a neat, straightforward job of pulling it off. The company’s role, of course, is not limited to just bringing us the pictures on TV; IMG handles the IPL’s distribution
THE TV DEAL Parveen Negi/India Today Group/Getty Images
rights, franchise rights, event and venue management and sponsorship sales as well. But where the IPL has rewritten the rules for cricket coverage is in the scale at which its wrap-up show — Extraaa Innings (EI) — is designed. Anyone who understands television production is wowed by the way the show brings together, at times, three standalone shows within one. The basic show involves an anchor and studio guests: a straightforward chat show. But this is blended with the dancing girls and the musicians who are doing their thing. And, finally, you have the part coming in from the ground, where, again, there are multiple things
popular sense happening at once. To Navjot Sidhu (centre), the lay viewer, it’s just the unfettered champion a lot of simultaneous of cricketainment, claims Extraaa Innings activity. To a television is criticised because it is professional, like extremely watchable. Archana Vijaya, the presenter: “It’s an adrenaline rush; so highenergy that you are always on sixth gear, and usually mentally exhausted.”
The ‘extraaa’ coverage
“Cricket is not the domain of the few who choose to guard it so zealously. No one owns cricket, and no one has any more rights over it than the next person,” says Jasdeep Singh Pannu, vice-president–programming at SET Max, the broadcasters of the IPL.
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shamya dasgupta Chirag Wakaskar-IPL 2010/IPL via Getty Images
The brains behind EI stress that they “respect the viewer” above all else. So when you catch up with senior members of the production team, you are likely to hear sentences like these: “I will not talk down to a viewer” or “If people want to watch their sport the same way they watch their evening entertainment shows, who am I to judge?” In any case, there’s no wishing away this sexed-up coverage – much like purists cannot wish the IPL away. SET Max first came up with the concept ahead of the 2003 World Cup, and noodle straps entered the national consciousness perched on
the picture tube Mandira Bedi’s wellDealing with the live groomed shoulders. feed, streaming in Pannu, who was from 28 cameras, calls for one of the most employed with ESPN exhaustive production STAR Sports at the processes on Indian TV. time, says, “People in the industry were inspired by the concept and the audience reaction. Mandira represented the average Indian female fan, and it worked.”
That is how Pannu found himself overseeing the production of the Shaz & Waz Show, the ‘serious’ cricket channel’s attempt at stepping off its pedestal in the wake of Mandira Mania.
THE TV DEAL
When the IPL came around, the format and concept automatically lent itself to some heavy-duty Shaz-Wazmatazz and noodle-strapping. “Nobody throws stones at a tree that doesn’t bear fruit,”says Navjot Singh Sidhu, in response to criticism of the IPL broadcasts over the years. And that’s the philosophy SET Max works with. Pannu puts it like this: “The idea is to ensure that the family gets entertained; for a TV channel like ours, it’s important to make the programming broad-based.”
Ball Doordarshan charged Rs 5 lakh from the BCCI to telecast matches played in India to cover the costs of production in 1992. In ’93, BCCI sold TV rights to Trans World International (TWI) and DD paid $1 million for the right to telecast India matches. In 2008, Sony inked a ten-year global TV rights deal for IPL for US $1.026 billion.
And presenter Shibani Dandekar says, “The flavour of the conversations should be along the lines of what it would be like if I were sitting down with the player in a coffee shop.” You want to throw stones at it? Go ahead. The producers don’t care as long as the sponsors are queuing up. Dumbing down? Yeah, sure, they don’t disagree. In fact, producer Debayan Sen is candid enough to admit, “As much as possible, we address the Lowest Common Denominator, bring in people, and provide something for everyone.” What we have as a result, producer Azhar Habib tells us, is “easily the biggest sports show in India. With live music, comedy acts, and all.” And then, as Pannu says, “We have Sunil Gavaskar, Ajay Jadeja, Sanjay Manjrekar and others on the show. If they are endorsing it and having fun being on the show, we don’t need anyone else to tell us what’s right or wrong.”
Taking the show to the dugout
The coverage of the IPL — with its innovations — has also led to the birth of a new variety of producer: Venue Producer. Who are they, and where do they come in? Well, simply explained, these are the men and women — scattered around the different venues — who (a) brief the presenters on the editorial tone of the show, (b) innovate in terms of bringing in local flavour to the presentation, (c) coordinate with players, officials and team owners to ensure interviews take place during the game and in the breaks, and (d) look out for celebrities in the crowd during games and arrange for ‘chats’ with them. Abhinav Kohli, a news television anchor
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and producer till recently, joined the 2012 team as a Venue Producer. For him, “the main thing is to ensure that everything is done on time, interviews lined up, local flavour gauged, colour stories readied and presenters briefed on cricket aspects. After that, you just wait for things to go wrong and emergencies to crop up”. What sort of emergencies? Well, it appears the franchises don’t always play ball. “The players would have to be made available for interviews, as was mandated by the IPL, but almost invariably, we had
also awry, with the tournament moving to South Africa, and planning continuing to the last minute. Since then, things have settled down. Much like the IPL itself, a template is in place. It’s another matter that the template itself is open to tinkering. “Everything is fluid,” Habib says. “The entry of the guests, the entertainers, the sudden appearance of a celebrity at the venue … that’s what makes it fun, as well as tricky.” But is all that extra complication worth the effort? After all, the cricket is the raison d’etre of the programming. Surely no one
“When you do justice to the presence of cheerleaders and comedians, you lose focus as far as cricket is concerned.” to record interviews in advance because franchises wouldn’t cooperate. Not always. Sometimes,” Kohli says. Apart from that? “Well, the entire show is dependent on technology, so anything might go wrong, and often do. But the viewer never gets to know.”
40% cricket, 60% entertainment
Over the years, IPL coverage has changed dramatically. During the first year, much like the teams that made mistakes with squad selection and match strategy (because it was all so new), the coverage on TV floundered too. The second year was
watches the ‘extraaa’ bit if they are not watching the match to start with? That work is paying off now, Sen explains: “It’s clear that, last year , the comparative figures of the cricket and EI showed that there has been an increase in the ratings for the show.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that people are watching EI more than the matches, but that fewer people are switching channels at the break or after the matches than before. As a result, numbers for the show have gone up, albeit marginally. “Reinventing and innovating,” says Sen, explaining the success.
THE TV DEAL
“Cricket has changed with the IPL, so why shouldn’t the coverage evolve?” asks Pannu, adding, “Last year, we innovated with stand-up comedians and the increased use of Hindi.” Dandekar, on the other hand, feels it’s as simple as the fact that the tournament saw better cricket this year than the year before. “It’s about the cricket, not us,” she says. “We add value to the main product, which is the cricket. The better the cricket is, the easier it is for us. We had so many close finishes in 2012 that the viewership was assured.” And with the excitement on the field, it was important to lower the intensity in the breaks – whether at the venues or in the studio. “Cricket lovers know answers to standard cricket questions anyway,” says Dandekar. “We want to make it fun. We want a Rusty Theron to sing the IPL anthem. Get something ‘extraaa’. Like getting a player to open up about his personal life, his likes and dislikes … about the dressing room. Get some inside information.” Fall back obviously.
The non-cricket percentage of the content is bound to go up with Danny Morrison and Sidhu taking centrestage anyway, but, in 2012, Sunil Gavaskar also looked like he didn’t want to drive straight anymore. Was it done spontaneously or was he under instructions from the producers?
“We can’t order Mr Gavaskar to do what we want, can we?” Pannu asks. And Habib clarifies: “He got into the mood. He wanted to fool around, mimic people…and he was the one who suggested all of it.” A world away from Aakash Chopra, who says, “There are cheerleaders in the studio and stand-up comedians. The moment you do justice to their presence, you lose time and also focus as far as the cricket is concerned.” As a result, off the field, it was “60% entertainment, and 40% cricket,” Sen says. After all, like Pannu says, “We don’t want to stifle people with analysis.” Fair enough, bring on the dancing girls.
Play cricket, don’t talk cricket too Even as EI plays out on the broadcasters’ channel, almost every single news channel — Hindi and English — airs their sponsored IPL shows. What that means is cricketers/ experts have an additional platform to air their views. On SET Max, time is always at a premium, with airtime apportioned for the entertainers, who are paid as handsomely as the ex-cricketers are. Chopra has straddled both worlds, and then some. He was a part of Kolkata Knight Riders as well as Rajasthan Royals as a player, but with not too many games coming his way, he moved to the commentary studios — both with SET Max as well as with news channels. And his take on the matter is
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clear: “The news channels I was a part of [all English] focus on the serious side of the IPL. There’s an attempt to do in-depth analyses of every team, every game. Also, you get more time to air your views on news channels.” Chopra also hints that SET Max’s affiliation to the Board of Control for Cricket in India as its media partner is something of a hindrance. “News channels focus on the burning issues [controversies], while SET Max has its hands tied in that respect.” Chopra, clearly, is in a minority here. But that’s the nature of the beast; when it comes to the IPL, the cricket is relatively simple, and so is its coverage. ‘In-depth’ isn’t the buzzword here. You need Sidhu to dance on stage, Morrison to yell above the drumbeats and Isa Guha, former England cricketer, to play the eye-candy role just as much as the cheergirls or presenters. A female expert is still woman first, right? Pannu’s take, again, is simple: “You will always be criticised for standing out.” Shades of Sidhu there, but then, how can one argue with that?
Party’s here, where’s the host?
Oh, they are everywhere, aren’t they? At the ground, in the studio, near the dugout; shopping in Jaipur, eating kebabs in Delhi, chatting and dancing with the stars and much else. The girls, Vijaya and Dandekar, and Samir Kochhar and Gaurav Kapur, the boys. For seven weeks, without a day’s break, they bring together two of the biggest Indian passions – cricket and celebrity, with a heavy dash of glamour.
The girls have launched themselves in a big way using the EI platform. Both of them are hot on the glam circuit today, and were picked up by the dance reality show, Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa, as contestants for the 2012 season. Unsurprisingly, Dandekar is looking for a career in films now. So it’s worked out well, hasn’t it? “Oh yes, we have been more visible of late,” says Vijaya. “We had five presenters till 2011, and it’s been reduced to create a higher connect with the audience. Last year, more people watched the show, and therefore more people saw us.” But, as far as Dandekar is concerned, it’s not just the presenters who benefit from the show being the way it is. “We chat with all sorts of players and talk about all sorts of things,” she says. “What happens is that people start liking a player not just because of his cricket, but because of the person he is – which we try to bring out. So these players get a fan following too.” What happens next? More innovation for sure, Pannu promises. In what direction: more entertainment? “It’s too early to say, but it could be anything; maybe live audiences for every show,” he says. The strategy will target the “broad-based audience”, not necessarily the “cricket purists”. Is that the way to go? A pointless debate, when it’s economics that will decide the formula. Even if that means 70% entertainment and 30% cricket. The disgruntled can always turn to recordings of old Test matches. ‡
THE IPL TV DEAL Dibyangshu SARKAR/afp photo
the tinsel help With silver screen stars such as Shah Rukh Khan (performing at the 2011 opening ceremony in Chennai) co-owning different franchises, the league has never lacked in glamour.
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tapping fans for force and fortune By Sidhanta Patnaik
he brand value of the Indian Premier League (IPL) dropped from US $4.65 billion in 2010 to US $2.92 billion in 2012, according to Brand Finance, a brand valuation firm. The television ratings failed to garner an average of 4 in the fifth edition. But, with an annual viewership of approximately 162 million, it is still among the top sports properties globally. In the cricket-dominated Indian market, where other forms of live entertainment are still not volume driven, the six weeks of the IPL have created a fresh spending pattern among the end consumers. Pre-2008 sports marketing in India was not always financially
viable and lacked direction. The failure of the Indian Cricket League, now defunct, is a good example of that. But with the advent of the IPL, the industry has evolved. The IPLâ€™s biggest commercial USP has been its positioning as â€˜cricketainmentâ€™. Since team loyalties are still not set in stone, contests between international stars, whatever teams they represent, generate substantial interest. The strong core product, combined with other forms of peripheral entertainment, has changed the consumption behaviour of a wider audience and, as live cricket matches become family-outing options for the first time, the league has become the pivot the market economy revolves around for the
the market force indranil mukherjee/afp photo
six weeks that it plays out. This has in turn led various brands, including the ones not traditionally associated with cricket, to experiment and leverage the platform. “With nothing else happening around IPL time, the tournament benefited us in terms of creating visibility through the eyeballs it generated,” says Rajiv Mehta, the managing director of Puma India, the sponsors of Rajasthan Royals (as well as the now defunct Deccan Chargers). “Both from the performance and visibility angles, it gave people the idea that Puma exists in the cricket market too. Since we are a lifestyle and performance brand, we were looking for a cricketing platform. That was the core thought behind associating with the two IPL franchises.”
race for the rage For a lifestyle From ‘Mickey Cricket’ brand that entered unveiling (by Tendulkar, India only in 2006, Nita Ambani and Harbhajan) to cricket the connect has been shoes, merchandising is fruitful, offering the new IPL buzzword. Puma the option of using a group of talented second-rung cricketers as a communication tool in a costeffective manner.
A brand works on three levels of association with the IPL. The decisions to purchase commercial time from the broadcaster and sponsor the league are driven by economics, whereas franchise sponsorship is more of an effort to establish a direct connect with the emotions of fans. For a brand such as
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sidhanta patnaik RAVEENDRAN/afp photo
the leg-up Puma’s IPL association (Gilchrist sporting Puma shoes in 2012, for instance) has helped the brand secure a year-on-year growth of 20% in merchandise sale.
loses. That is what we have banked on.”
The other focus has been to seed an element of aspiration among the fans to spend on merchandise. “For Deccan Chargers, we created merchandise with the bull and its horn,” says Mehta. “It is desirable. Something you want to wear both on and off the field. That is what we have played on – make the team look cool, the stars look cool and the fans look cool too.” With sale of merchandise reporting a yearon-year growth of 20% since the first IPL season, Puma’s plan seems to be on track. Also, an IPL association comes at a premium, compelling innovation on technical as well as creative fronts. With the IPL governing council scripting no guidelines on footwear, Puma seized the space, introducing their new shoe range in 2011 as well as 2012. Puma, the plan has been to stay ahead of the team’s fortunes and focus on marketing the stars within the team as individual entities, creating unique on-ground experiences while shifting the core foundation of the fans’ association with the team. “We took a spin and said that it’s not about winning but about enjoying,” says Mehta. “As long as you are having fun while you are playing, it does not matter who wins or who
“For some, IPL is not cricket. And for some, it is like any other form of cricket,” Mehta says. “We had to balance the two schools of thought and take a risk. After a few players started wearing them (the shoes), it appealed to others and the viral effect took shape.” On the communications side, Puma’s primary focus has been social marketing. A comic book strip that summed up the entire fifth edition was their way of
the market force
connecting with the fans.
Fan engagement models have not matured in India but, with the IPL, a path for the future has been paved. However, at a fundamental level, there is a fear of misplaced focus. The parent brand continues to remain profitable but, for other stakeholders, the myth that the league is free from the influences of the prevailing economic conditions has been busted.
Ball At $853 million, Manchester United’s brand valuation is the highest among sporting clubs. With an estimated value of $48 million, the Mumbai Indians (at No. 146) are the best-valued IPL team, ahead of century-old Italian clubs, Lazio and Fiorentina, and Los Angeles Galaxy, a Major League Soccer team.
Firstly, with an extensive international cricket calendar, the memories of a franchisebased competition fade too fast. Commercially, the momentum is lost after the end of every season and, for the majority of investors, justifying return on investment is a challenge. Secondly, as Mehta says, “The IPL as a
An IPL association comes at a premium for a brand, compelling innovation on technical as well as creative fronts. body is more focused on generating revenue than building a sustained brand. Their marketing plan is not inclusive. In a seller’s market, where bureaucracy is involved at all levels, it becomes unviable for other stakeholders to think long term.” The IPL model has played its part in the revamp of Indian football’s I-League and has helped conceptualise World Series
Hockey. It has even shaped India’s role in World Series Boxing. However, for the IPL to be a complete marketing success, fundamental errors need rectifying and the commitment to the audience has to stand out. The fan experience also has to reach a stage where the aspirational value of owning IPL sporting merchandise and those of the English Premier League football teams are ‡ perceived as same.
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import duty With the worldâ€™s most fiery cricketers, including Dale Steyn, revving up the action in IPL, the league is helping reinforce Indiaâ€™s image as the centre of world cricket
Noah SEELAM/afp photo (Steyn); Graham Crouch/Getty Images (pollard); Michael Steele/Getty Images (ten doeschate)
KIERON POLLARD The IPL has been great financially. It’s not something I wish to hide.
RYAN TEN DOESCHATE There’s not as much downtime in the IPL as you’d think. The games are pretty intense.
SHAKIB AL HASAN IPL’s a great tournament, it prepares young cricketers for the world.
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Noah SEELAM/afp photo
dale steyn and the anger within By Neil Manthorp
he annual Cricket South Africa Awards is a glamorous, blacktie affair with even the official part of the programme lasting deep into the night. For the invited guests and sponsors who can afford the hangover the next morning, the wine is poured until the early hours.
There is no escape for some who are sticking to sparkling water, however. “I must have signed 500 Dismissal man autographs – and Steyn played for RCB for that was just after the first three IPL seasons before he was bought by dinner,” says Dale the Deccan Chargers in Steyn, eyes shining. 2011 and has picked up “Got to bed at 2am 32 wickets since.
and up at 6am – good job I’ve been training for this discipline at the IPL!” he laughs. The occasion was a business breakfast at the headquarters of the game’s longest-serving sponsor, SA Breweries, which makes Castle Lager, synonymous with the national team since the end of isolation (except in Pakistan). Steyn was there not just as the world’s No. 1 Test bowler, but as an ambassador-at-large for SAB’s water conservation programme. “It takes 155 litres of water to make one litre of beer from the very beginning of the process to the very end, and that’s just too much,” says Steyn to an audience of 50 or more who aren’t sure whether to be wide-eyed and open-mouthed at his presence — or his talk.
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neil manthorp Seshadri SUKUMAR/afp photo
“SAB have committed themselves to reducing that substantially and I’m backing them and passing on the message.” Steyn removes a folded sheet of paper from his pocket and reads out his top ten tips for saving water — and recounts a tale (with actions) of how the ‘bath’ at one hotel he stayed at during the IPL consisted of a large, pottery bowl of water and a smaller jug which he used to pour the water over himself. Some South Africans were able to relate, but not the majority. The great fast bowler laughed at the faces in front of him: “Ha! I guess you all thought the IPL was just about five-star luxury and millionaires, hey?” Most of us nodded. Steyn’s interest started for two reasons,
the first completely hurt locker The Deccan Chargers altruistic: “From the suffered a six-match run moment I became of final-over defeats in an established IPL V, the dejection from the last defeat driving international cricketer Steyn to kick a kit bag I always had a strong and break his toe. feeling that I should be doing some ‘good’ while I had that profile, using it to try and make a difference.” Two years ago, he tried to organise walking on to the field of play before an IPL match with a tiger cub on a leash to bring their endangered plight to the attention of the widest possible audience, but the logistics and red-tape required made it impossible. Having been born and raised in the small town of Phalaborwa on the edge of the famous
the foreign player
Kruger National Park in the north of the country, he gre up in the shadow of the game park’s ‘Big Five’ and has always felt close to nature.
Having moved to landlocked Pretoria and then to Cape Town four years ago, he quickly took to surfing as a replacement for his childhood passion of skateboarding. He already had the hip and knee movements required. And, like all surfers, he quickly became concerned at the amount of debris and pollution in the world’s oceans. “I sent out a tweet about the state of the water and I had literally thousands of responses inside an hour,” Steyn says. “I had never experienced anything like it before. So my interest grew as I learned about how careless we are with water, and how we take it for granted. If I can make a small difference in the world it would make a big difference to me.”
Apart from inducing fear into the batsmen, Dale Steyn’s other interests include fishing and hunting. He has shot an impala and even caught a croc, earning him the tag of ‘crocodile hunter’. Currently, Steyn has the fourth-best bowling strike rate of all time in Tests, behind George Lohmann, John Ferris and Shane Bond.
It doesn’t sound like a young man with millions of dollars in the bank. But then, he doesn’t look or act like that either. He looks bemused when asked about his motivation to keep playing as hard and bowling as fast as he does — especially given the toll that his job takes on his body.
“We (Deccan Chargers) lost six games off the last ball [in IPL V]. We finished bottom, but we could so easily have made the play-offs. I kicked an empty kit bag so hard when it happened for the sixth time, I almost dislocated my leg,” Steyn says. “Then I kicked another one, but it was full of water bottles and I broke my toe. Stupid. I missed a couple of games. But I was mad as hell. That’s the fire I hope I never lose. I wouldn’t be the same cricketer without it.”
“I’m lucky because not only do I have the chance to experience the thrill of winning, but I also get to bowl really fast. Those two things are the best feelings in the world, better than any drugs — not that I’ve tried any. I love winning,” Steyn says, before questioning the assertion. “Maybe it’s more that I hate losing?”
His great friend and teammate, Morne Morkel, is often accused of lacking that fire in his belly. “I don’t need to be angry,” says Morkel. “Dale has enough anger for both of us.” It is a statement that makes Steyn laugh aloud. “One day, when somebody or something does make him angry, he’ll be the
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best bowler in the world.” Provided, of course, that Morkel is able to control and channel the rage — something Steyn hasn’t always managed to do. “There have been a couple of times when I have needed to be calmed down, but that’s Graeme’s (Smith) job – that’s for him to worry about! I’ve had a couple of fines in international cricket and I’m not proud of myself if I get into trouble, but it’s just a consequence of what I do. When I cross the boundary rope, my personality changes. But I’m happy with that.” He may be charming and gentle off the
His favourite tale about ‘fear’ comes from an encounter with Muttiah Muralitharan who suggested a ‘deal’ before one game. “No doosras, no bouncers when we’re bowling, OK?” Steyn, who enjoys his batting every bit as much as his bowling, loved it. “You got it!” he replied. His place as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of the game is already secure. If he never played another game, that would not change. It’s something he is prepared to accept, but not dwell on. “I know I’m doing well. When South Africa really needs a wicket, Graeme or
I’ve met a few cricketers who are more excited about their own performance than the team’s, and I don’t like that. At all. field, but that does not mean he is ‘out of touch’ with his on-field persona. There is no split-personality syndrome going on. Does he enjoy the sight of fear in a batsman’s eyes? “Oh, YES. Nothing better than that. Sure I see it, from time to time, and it gives me a thrill. I think ‘I’ve got you now. You’re mine.’ But, as much as I love getting a batsman out, it doesn’t compare to the thrill of winning the game. I really mean that. I’ve met a few cricketers who are more excited about their own performance than the team’s, and I don’t like that. At all. I’m not one of them.”
AB (de Villiers) throw the ball to me. And often I’m able to give them what they need. That’s all I care about. I know roughly how many wickets I have, but I don’t keep track,” he says. “A time may come when I do start looking at my record, but that will probably be very close to the end of my career. Right now I’m just living in the moment. I want to be a good cricketer, but I am a person first and a cricketer second. I won’t always be a cricketer, but I will always be a person. So that’s my priority. ‡ To be a good one.”
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IPL is ideal for West indians By Kieron Pollard
greatly relish the opportunity that I’ve been given to play in a high-profile tournament like the Indian Premier League, a chance to rub shoulders with big international stars and play in front of such passionate crowds. To get such an opportunity as a young cricketer, and to be given the kind of respect I have been, is fantastic. Not just for me, but all of us who have been fortunate enough to get contracts with the franchises. One of the things I will readily admit is that the IPL has been great financially too. It’s not something I wish to hide. It’s changed so many things for me personally, in terms
of my life, my standard of living, my savings — it’s been superb. But the big salary also makes someone like me accountable; it tells me that I need to go out and perform each time my team plays a game. But it’s not just me. So many cricketers from the West Indies fit into the Twenty20 mould very well and have become regulars with different IPL teams. I think the format suits the kind of cricketers we are. It’s perfect. Look at Chris Gayle — his flair and style of batting are perfect for T20 cricket. Guys like Dwayne Bravo, who has so much experience, also find that Twenty20 and tournaments like the IPL are ideal for him. We are cricketers with flair, we are exciting
the foreign player Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Caribbean cracker Pollard, a star performer in IPL-III, has amassed 639 runs from 44 matches in the three IPLs heâ€™s been part of; 2010 was his best outing with 273 runs in 14 matches, his strike rate a scorching 185.71.
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Ball Kieron Pollard attracted the maximum open-auction bid of US $750,000 from four teams in 2010, but Mumbai Indians outbid the other three in a silent tie-breaker to take him home. Surprisingly, no franchise had bid for him in the 2009 auction, when his base price was just US $60,000. cricketers, and we like to have fun when we play. T20 is not everything for us. It is the first step, and we plan to kick on from there. There is an abundance of talent in the West Indies. You look at Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul and others. They are all getting their chances in the IPL now. Some of them have also played Test cricket, but it’s T20 that brings out their best. Thousands of people are coming to watch T20 cricket and the more opportunities we get, the better it is. We, as West Indians, like to enjoy ourselves and that works best in the IPL and other T20 tournaments. In Test cricket and One-Day International cricket, you need to temper things a bit, be
more patient. Our success is because we can play the way we like to in T20 cricket. But as I said before, there’s a process of evolution going on and I’m sure we will be a better Test and ODI team in future. For the next couple of months, the entire focus is on the IPL. Travelling to India every year for it has been incredible. It’s been an eye-opener. Everywhere you go in India, there is a lot of excitement, and there are big crowds at the grounds. It’s the sort of atmosphere that makes you want to give your best each time. Being in the Mumbai Indians dressing room makes it even better. It has been a phenomenal experience. Sachin Tendulkar: there haven’t been too many better cricketers in the world. He has done everything that can be done in cricket. You see how loved he is by his fans. There’s Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel. At various times, we have had Zaheer Khan and Sanath Jayasuriya, Andrew Symonds, Lasith Malinga and JP Duminy. Now, Ricky Ponting will also be there. It’s awesome to get an opportunity to share a dressing room with these guys.It’s a happy dressing room, and that makes for a bunch of players who can go out and add to the excitement of the IPL. ‡ Kieron Pollard is an allrounder with the West Indies cricket team , and represents Mumbai Indians in the IPL. He spoke to Shamya Dasgupta
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Everything’s frantic in india By Ryan ten Doeschate
t can be a very difficult life for someone like me at times, travelling constantly and playing for teams in all parts of the world, in different conditions. I think it’s very important to identify and align your goals with the team’s because there’s so much at stake in Twenty20 cricket. The guys are there to do well and there’s a strong sense of purpose; it makes it easier. In all the teams I’ve played for, I’ve found it really easy to get along with the guys and to focus on playing five-six weeks of good cricket. There are, obviously, massive differences in the cultures that the different teams have. As an example, New Zealanders seem to be
more laidback. They go about their stuff quietly. Obviously in India, everything’s quite frantic, and there’s a lot more at stake. And then you’ve also got individuals — your captains and coaches and senior players — who set the tone. That will differ from team to team. But I’ve been pretty lucky. Even in places I haven’t done well, I’ve been in good environments where the guys try and help you as much as they can to bring out the best in you.
Different strokes, different folks
The most noticeable thing about playing in Australia, where the time between games is a lot, is that the preparation and the analysis that goes into each game is pretty thorough.
the foreign player Noah SEELAM/afp photo
travel guru Ryan ten Doeschate, the 32-year-old Dutch cricketer, has represented 11 teams in his playing career, including the Netherlands, Essex, Chittagong Kings, Tasmania and KKR.
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ryan ten doeschate
In the IPL, as an overseas player you’re fighting for one of four spots with ten quality players, so that’s a massive difference. Your team’s never set in stone, and you can afford to go with different players in different conditions. Essex is the team I’ve played for the longest, so it’s a very comfortable environment for me. South Africa was also pretty different because I was playing in a franchise that was new and it was a new concept where they brought in only young guys. It was a great concept, but unfortunately, we were quite a weak team. That was a different experience. But it was probably one of my most enjoyable overseas ones. I’ve been through a lot with Essex and I’ve achieved a lot there, and that’s still my home. But Kolkata’s also amazing – just the people and, like I said, the quality of players and the quality of the set-up is so different. It’s special to be with them. With the IPL, the schedule’s very hectic. People say it’s only a three-hour game, and the flights are relatively short, but the travel time definitely takes a lot out of you: from the hotel to the airport, it’s a decent bus journey. Then you wait around at the airport for another flight, then it’s another bus back. So there’s not as much downtime as you’d think. The games are pretty intense, so the preparation for them is also pretty intense. On the off-chance that you do get a day off, the guys like to play a bit of golf. We sometimes jump into a taxi and go out for lunch or go for a coffee or something but, I
Ball Ryan ten Doeschate, the three-time ICC Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year, got his break when Graham Gooch spotted him on Essex’s tour of South Africa in 2003. His Dutch passport allowed him to play for Essex on weekdays and club cricket in Netherlands on weekends; Gooch would drive him to and fro to the airport to make it happen. remember, last year, there certainly wasn’t enough time where you could actually plan things ahead of time and get out in the city. But I’d like to do one or two things in the city this year. It’s nice to get a feel of the place. You drive around in a bus, you see a hell of a lot, but I think to be out on the streets and just walk around and see how things are done gives you a true feeling of the place.
The standout Associate star There’s a whole pool of talent in that subsection of the cricket world. The Irish, particularly, have produced some really good players, and in the other teams too, there are some really exciting players. Those guys don’t get to play a lot of first-class cricket.
the foreign player
They don’t get to play good volumes of cricket, so they probably are best suited to Twenty20 cricket. You’ll find the odd gem there, and guys that can go on to play in the IPL and all over the world. Yes, I’m the first, but hopefully there are many more to come. If I get asked, I’ll obviously put names of guys forward. I know at KKR, the analysts and the coaches do their preparations so thoroughly that they would have gone through all the guys that are available. If I think of one or two names, there’s Paul Stirling from Ireland. He’s a very aggressive batsman and he’s done consistently well. In the Dutch team, there’s a new Aussie guy called Michael Swarz, who’s a good player. I was like any other cricketer when I was growing up. The dream was to play Test cricket, but you get to an age where you’re smart enough to realise what’s going on. When I finished school at 18-19, the level of my cricket definitely wasn’t good enough to consider it as a career, so I chose another path. I went to university because playing Test cricket was never really a viable option. I’m over the moon with how far I’ve come in my cricket and how many opportunities the game has presented me, so I’ve got no regrets about not playing Test cricket. Obviously, it would have been amazing, but it’s not something I lie awake and think about. I’m just so grateful for what I’ve got out of cricket.
achievements very late in my career, I’ve really learnt to cherish them. I’m like a kid — when I’m playing at the Eden Gardens or playing in my backyard, it’s almost the same for me. I just love it and I’m always smiling. I try to play with a lot of energy all the time and I think people also relate to the underdog tag — from a small country and doing well.
Lee and the trousers I’ve got a terrible memory for stories and, if you want them, go to Brett Lee. He’s got a book full of stories. He’ll tell you every great cricketing story you want to know. But there’s one I won’t forget. I received an award halfway through a game in Essex. I wasn’t playing because I’d torn my calf. I went to receive it, and it was a Twenty20 game so it was sold out. It was on TV as well because there was a big screen on the side of the field. As I went up, I was on crutches. Scott Styris came up behind me and pulled my trousers down. In front of everyone! And because I was on crutches, I couldn’t get them back up quickly and had to put my crutches down first. It was all over the show, and it was pretty embarrassing. I’m going to get back at him. He thinks I’ve forgotten, but I’ll definitely get back at him. He’s got it coming from me at some stage. Ryan ten Doeschate is a Dutch cricketer who has made waves in domestic leagues around the world and represents Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL; Saurabh Somani spoke to Doeschate
I’m very conscious of how lucky I’ve been to get a career out of cricket. And I think that by starting so late and making my
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can do with more Bangladeshis in ipl By Shakib Al Hasan
he 2012 Asia Cup in Bangladesh was a big deal for us. We beat India to reach the final and then lost to Pakistan, a match, I feel we should have won. But it was a heartening performance and we were very satisfied with how we played. I think a lot of credit should be given to the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) for preparing us for the Asia Cup. Earlier, big totals, even in One-Day Internationals, would daunt us. But after routinely chasing 150-175 in the BPL, our players have become more confident. We have had a couple of big-hitters like Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah but, after the BPL, many more of us have become better
players in limited-overs internationals, including our bowlers. Unfortunately, I am still one of the very few Bangladeshi cricketers with contracts in the Indian Premier League. There are many others in Bangladesh who could well be a part of the IPL. The conditions in India are similar to the conditions in Bangladesh and the players who have done well in the BPL should do well in the IPL too. That will also be good for the Bangladeshi players, because the IPL is such a great tournament, which provide a great platform for young cricketers. It prepares young cricketers for the world. I have personally gained a lot from playing in the IPL.
the foreign player Indranil MUKHERJEE/afp photo
At the same time, while contracts with IPL teams would be great for Bangladeshi cricketers, whatâ€™s more important is that Bangladesh come to India for a full tour, which has never happened. Our first-class structure is also not properly developed. All these things must come together for Bangladesh cricket to improve. bangla hero Shakib has scored 120 runs at a strike rate of 125, and taken 23 wickets at an average of 16.08, in 15 IPL matches so far.
Ball Only the 28th player in the history of Test cricket to score a century and pick up five wickets in an innings (in 2011 vs Pakistan) Shakib Al Hasan is known as Moyna, after the Myna bird. Naeem Islam, a teammate during his Hgh Performance Centre days, came up with the name.
Shakib Al Hasan is an allrounder with the Bangladesh cricket team and represents Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL; Shamya Dasgupta spoke to Shakib
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the IPL mother hen manual By Eric Simons
aving coached South Africa and been the bowling coach of the Indian team, it’s easy to say that when it comes to an international side, there is a clear goal and a clear cause in place, which is not the case when a franchise-based team is put together. The first challenges any coach faces is moulding a group of talented individuals into a talented team with a common cause and objective ― a team where the individuals understand “if the team wins, I win”. This challenge is even greater with an IPL team.
Not that they are not keen, but they come from disparate backgrounds with different
playing cultures and styles. Bringing them together and getting them to work towards a common cause is my first objective. I have always been a person who coaches people first and cricketers second. And this very aspect of human nature is, perhaps, the part of the role which interested me the most about coaching and has probably been my biggest takeaway from the job with Delhi Daredevils.
Communication is the key
I suppose we all evolve with new experiences, and one of the ways in which I have evolved as a coach is that I realised that I had to understand my players before I could make
THE COACH’S PERSPECTIVE Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images
them understand me. I had to understand them before putting my plans in front of them. If I had gone in and tried to dictate terms, it wouldn’t have worked. I think the learning process that I have gone through has been an enjoyable and interesting experience for me. Building a team is not the only challenge we face as coaches of an IPL side, and managing the energy of the squad is a big part of what we do. Most will just see the money and the glamour of the tournament, and they accept that they are well paid, but it is also a time of hard work and effort. Almost the entire squad arrives at the tournament in the middle of an international or domestic schedule, and they are already physically and emotionally drained. With practice, flying virtually every third day, marketing commitments and, of course, matches, we need to build their energy and make sure it maintains itself throughout the eight weeks so that we can peak in the crucial knockout phase of the competition. As a non-Indian coach, like so many others in the IPL, one of the biggest problems I face is the language barrier when it comes to the younger Indian domestic players. At times these youngsters are a little overawed by the environment so, when you speak to them, they just nod, and you don’t know if you are getting through to them. Sometimes you have spoken to them and given instructions and you think it’s gone through but it hasn’t. But, like I said before, it’s the job of the coaches to make them feel comfortable. You have to go to them and not expect them to
tongue twister come to you. It can For a foreign coach, one be intimidating for of the key challenges them, so, as a coach, is to communicate with the young recruits who you have to build are not conversant in a relationship with English, says Simons. them and make them feel comfortable and a part of the team. I do try to make a special effort to communicate with the guys who might be a bit starry-eyed and intimidated and, hopefully, if you have made them more comfortable, they can play to their potential and become a real part of the team.
It’s funny really, but the IPL has actually been an interesting thing for India. On the
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Ball Out of the 23 who have coached IPL teams until the fifth season, only five have been Indians. Australians are the most sought after with 11, followed by five South Africans and two New Zealanders. Eric Simons, the Delhi Daredevils’s head coach, is a former South African cricketer who played 23 ODIs. one hand, young Indian cricketers have grown a lot faster by rubbing shoulders with the big stars. On the other, it has allowed international cricketers to come to India and learn from Indians and others from the subcontinent and become better players in these conditions. A lot of foreign cricketers want to come to India and play the IPL, and they are improving their skills in Indian conditions to attract the attention of the franchises. So what it’s done is it has made life tougher for the Indian national team. Earlier, teams would visit India once every two-three years and there was always a sense of uncertainty for them when it came to coping with the conditions. Now they are coming every year and learning faster.
Figuring out T20 cricket
Over the past five or six years, since we all became a part of the IPL, the T20 format has evolved tremendously, but I still think there is a lot of room for growth and understanding of the format. It is still relatively young and the trick of the game is to be ahead of the pack, playing in a style and manner which others will follow. You obviously can’t win every game, but we are all trying to figure out how best to have a winning plan, to manage the odds and keep your winning percentage at an acceptable level. It is an exciting time to be involved with the format because, in many ways, we are still pioneers in its development. I think the standard of the cricket in the IPL has improved, for two reasons. One, international cricketers are more used to the conditions in India and are playing bigger roles in matches for their teams. Secondly, one of the biggest benefits I have seen is in the Indian youngsters, working with the big international players. To be with and see how a Dale Steyn prepares or a Mahela (Jayawardene) plays or observe what Kevin Pietersen or Jacques Kallis does, it’s made them better cricketers and helped them be more confident about their own ability. And they are now playing huge roles in the outcome of matches. In IPL-V, our attack was largely built around a powerful pace attack and it performed very well to take us to the top of the league table. But not enough can be said about the role the two relatively inexperienced spinners,
THE COACH’S PERSPECTIVE MANAN VATSYAYANA/afp photo
Shahbaz Nadeem and Pawan Negi, played in our success. You play to your strengths, but we realised that we were too unidimensional and easy to strategise against, particularly in the latter stages of the tournament as the wickets started getting slower and, when we played down south, where the wickets were different. It has always fascinated me that when T20 cricket was conceptualised and started becoming popular, people felt spinners wouldn’t play much of a role at all. That theory has taken a beating. Amazingly, that’s not only true of India. In all domestic T20 competitions around the world, spinners
have come into their own. T20 cricket is evolving as such, and spinners are too.
The Daredevils dynamics
rookie on the rise Shahbaz Nadeem, the young left-arm spinner who impressed Simons a great deal last year, took eight wickets in 12 IPL matches in 2012.
What I have done is put together a blueprint for what is the ideal T20 team, with the right balance and the combination of left-handers and right-handers, for Delhi Daredevils. What we tried to do in the auctions this year is get the players that were missing from our plan, figure out our shortcomings and find players who can fill
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the gaps in all conditions. It’s important to have the vision in place and know what your requirements are and what role the players can play. There isn’t much point in buying someone who will sit on the bench for most of the tournament. That’s the start point. The other challenge is managing these players. You have 10–11 internationals and these are guys who would walk into their national sides easily. But in the IPL, you can play only so many of them. So it’s important to manage them properly, keep
T20 leagues: the way forward
I think the people who run the game, cricket boards of countries and the International Cricket Council, will have to understand the T20 format properly and realise that the mushrooming number of leagues around the world are here to stay. At some point, all the stakeholders of the game will have to sit down and find a solution, the right balance in terms of how much is enough and how much is too much. We must find out what is the optimum level, the right balance. Cricketers will want
The franchises have more in common with football teams of the world than conventional cricket structures. them motivated. The main thing is to very clearly understand what you need as a team and make sure you invest intelligently. Selecting the IPL team, or the squad, is very interesting and unique. To start with, the team is run by an owner and not an association or club members. There are various other dynamics at play as the franchises have more in common with football teams of the world than conventional cricket structures. The coach and the management team are very much a part of the planning process. You’ll find the coach, the management team and the captain working together and there will be the senior players that you also use in the planning. We have a mentor and a manager who are part of our team.
to be part of the more lucrative formats, which has to be accepted. The stakeholders will have to put all the issues on the table and try to find a solution. I don’t think it is about the boards relinquishing power or control but about finding solutions. Ego has to be kept out of the debate. What will make cricket a better game, a more global game — that has to be figured out. These tournaments are going to get bigger and better. That’s a reality cricket people need to embrace.
Eric Simons is a former South African cricketer and the coach of Delhi Daredevils; he spoke to Shamya Dasgupta
By Dileep V
ANSWERS ON PAGE 64
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Which was the only franchise to appoint a foreign player as captain in the IPL's inaugural season in 2008?
Who are the only bowlers to take two hat-tricks in the IPL? Who was the first Indian to score a hundred in the IPL?
Touted as the “next big thing” in 2009 by Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne, this bowler now works on his brother’s farm after being shunned by Pune Warriors last year. Name him
What innovation made an appearance in the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals on April 23, 2009, in Cape Town?
Who replaced Lalit Modi as chairman of the IPL in 2010, after Modi was unceremoniously ousted from the post owing to corruption charges?
For the fourth season in 2011, what format did IPL follow after the group stages instead of knockouts? Whom did Pune Warriors bring in as substitute for the injured Ashish Nehra in their first season?
Which Kenyan cricketer was signed by the Deccan Chargers for the fifth season as an ‘Indian’ player because he had an Indian passport? Who is the only Indian to be head coach of a franchise in IPL 2013? ISSUE 2, APRIL 2013
the physio and the IPL physics By Saurabh Somani
n the face of it, schedules in the Indian Premier League might not appear too packed. During the league phase, each team plays 16 matches spread over almost seven weeks, which comes down to one three-hour match in three days.
managing an international side. The job is no less high profile, but you’re overseeing the fitness for a group that has wide diversity in physical training cultures and body attributes, and there is only a small window in which the players are under your direct supervision.
However, with nine teams in the fray, the significant amount of additional travel and the time needed to train and wind down after each match eat into the match-free days to a great extent, making for a hectic tournament with explosive action packed between the travel and the practice. In some ways, being the physiotherapist for an IPL franchise is a more daunting task than
But as happens so often, in adversity there is opportunity too. “It’s actually been very exciting,” says John Gloster, the former physiotherapist of the Indian team, currently employed with Rajasthan Royals. “It’s allowed us to bring in the experienced players and have them blend with the young kids. Experienced not
LOOKING AFTER THE BOYS Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
just in terms of cricket played, but also with physical training. It’s actually made our job easier, because it’s sort of opened up their (the uncapped younger players) eyes to what is expected if they want to perform and play at international level.” Each franchise is aware that, while IPL has to do with sport, the dollars the owners have invested demand some form of visible return. Winning on the field is the only way to ensure that and, therefore, physiotherapists and trainers are offered all the resources they need to help them put together a team that is fit enough to win cricket matches.
melting pot the management for, The IPL not only allows they got me,” says players of different Ramji Srinivasan, fitness backgrounds to come together, it also who worked with the allows physios to work Mumbai Indians. “They as a team and learn. never hesitated to spend money on any resources, even on diet. Any diet, from sushi to other exotic food, and high-energy bars, fruits, hydration liquids... the management has been amazing — very, very helpful.”
As Gloster puts it: “We take the responsibility as a franchise, that our investments — the players, that is — are in good shape.”
“During my involvement, whatever I asked
Both Gloster and Srinivasan have spent
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Ball Andrew Kokinos, the Melbourne-based trainer of Greek origin, was the first fully-qualified physical fitness expert hired for the Indian cricket team in 1998. Prior to that, Dr. Ali Irani was the physiotherapist till 1997 and then Dr. Ravindra Chaddha was hired for a year. considerable time with international teams as have most physiotherapists attached with the franchises. Together, they bring a wealth of experience. Yet, opportunities to share ideas with one another were rare until they joined the IPL. The unique dynamics involved in handling a team, as disparate in composition as the IPL sides are, also offers new learning avenues to physiotherapists. “The global exposure in the IPL has not only raised the standards of the players, it’s raised our standards too,” says Gloster. “We get the opportunity to come together as a collective and bounce ideas off each other. It opens up communication pathways.”
Srinivasan had an elaborate system in place, which could be tweaked to suit individual needs. The range of players under him covered perhaps the widest gamut, with Sachin Tendulkar as the seniormost pro, Kieron Pollard as a gifted athlete and Ambati Rayudu as an up-and-coming player. “There are certain parameters where Rayudu will be stronger than Pollard — flexibility, for example. But, in terms of strength and speed, Pollard is far ahead of Rayudu. So you have to mix and match the fitness needs. Take Sachin. His needs are totally different from all of the others put together.” The only ingredient needed is a proper knowledge of players’ fitness and injury histories. “The fitness parameters for a cricketer from Australia or South Africa need to be regularly updated through the year,” says Srinivasan. “That gives us a better understanding of how to prepare him when he just lands up for 45 to 60 days for the IPL. If we know how much he has bowled, what loads his body has taken through the season, we can train him accordingly and do a better job of it.” Gloster takes this a step further. As the only foreign physiotherapist in the IPL who is permanently based in India, Gloster’s views on extending the scope of player fitness are well worth listening to. “It’s a great opportunity for the BCCI to pick some of the best physiotherapists in the country and get them to travel with a team for
LOOKING AFTER THE BOYS
the duration of the IPL,” says Gloster. “The local physiotherapist will be funded by the BCCI and will shadow the franchise physiotherapist, and get eight weeks of experience he would otherwise have never had. He will take back those lessons to his association for the following season and learn to work with big international stars, understand their mentalities, their idiosyncrasies.” Gloster’s idea has merit and is an extension of some of the things the IPL is lauded for — opening channels between players and providing opportunities to young Indian players to get international experience. He’s just extending that advantage to the support staff. “Every year we go to the next level. Advances are made not just on the cricketing
Srinivasan foresees even more radical changes. “In the future we may get ambidextrous cricketers,” he says. “Bat left-handed for an over and right-handed the next; bowl right-arm fast one over, and left-arm spin the next. It will be an amazing challenge, but I would love to have somebody like that to train. I haven’t trained anyone (like that), so I don’t know, because it’s a totally new way of looking at human physiology and the capacity and limitations of it. That may be the future.” It seems a fantastic leap to imagine a future populated by cricketers who could give Sir Garfield Sobers a run for his money, if not in absolute ability then in the variety of skills owned.
“The way we prepare and, importantly, the way we recover has changed,” says Gloster, the Rajasthan Royals physio. front with skills, but also in how we handle players, how we train and monitor players throughout the tournament,” says Gloster. “For example, in the first year, we modelled ourselves on 50-over cricket, modified for a much shorter game, but it’s different now. The way we prepare and, importantly, the way we recover has changed. People will say, ‘Oh, it’s just 20 overs,’ but it’s not just that. The intensity is such that it’s probably very close physiologically to a 50-over match.”
But two decades ago, it would have been a fantastic leap to think of Indians, Australians and South Africans playing side-by-side. “Someone said a long while ago that you cannot go below 9.8 seconds in the 100-metre run,” says Srinivasan. “What happened? Humans keep evolving and pushing boundaries. That’s what will happen ‡ in cricket also.”
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no dirty dancing this By Angela Carson
ince the Indian Premier League’s debut season in 2008, cheerleaders have been an interesting topic for discussion, and a virtual hotbed of controversy and debate. Although it is relatively new to India, cheerleading originated in the US in the 1800s. It is a highly respected and competitive physical sport in western cultures, with both male and female participants, some starting as early as the age of five. They perform ‘cheers’, choreographed routines lasting from one to three minutes, and combining dance, gymnastics and stunts to enliven sports fans. In the US, it is overseen by the United States Cheerleading Association, and
there are national publications dedicated to the sport in addition to training centres and national championships. Many a little girl dreams of being a cheerleader. Brought in as entertainment for IPL fans and to entice sponsors by internationalising the franchises, the squads for the first three years were comprised exclusively of girls from South Africa, Europe and the US – with some from National Football League teams like the Washington Redskins. The decision to bring in foreigners instead of allowing Indian dance professionals to apply for the job seemed twofold. Very few candidates would present themselves because of the ridicule and shame it would bring on their family if they were to
IPL CHEERLEADERS Noah SEELAM/photo
use their athletic abilities and dance training for something like cheerleading. Secondly, in a society not used to such entertainment around sporting events, it was a strategy designed to sell more tickets. The IPL cheerleaders are traditionally attractive and fair-skinned Caucasian girls between the ages of 18 and 23. Although the IPL originally did have black cheerleaders, it is not a reality today. During season one, the British press zeroed in on the case of two English cheerleaders, who were banned from going on stage at a Kings XI Punjab match and sent home by the organisers who felt that Indians didnâ€™t want to see those with dark complexions performing in their stadiums.
cheer umpires In 2011, the Pune PW and KKR may have Warriors broke decided to go native, the taboo around but young Caucasian cheerleaders continue having local girls to draw bouquets and perform, when they brickbats like no other. created the first allIndian cheer team. However, instead of placing the Indian girls in traditional cheer uniforms designed to make it easy to jump, flip, tumble and perform cheers, their girls were in traditional ethnic attire with ornate jewellery and heavy makeup.
That one move changed the face of IPL cheerleading by rendering it impossible for the Pune Warriors girls to actually perform cheers and therefore be cheerleaders. A
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angela carson courtesy of sports illustrated india
fun fusion Locations such as New Delhi's Lodhi Gardens may not always be available for practice (unlike during a promotional event in 2012), but cheerleaders do spend a lot of time visiting heritage sites during the IPL.
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Ball Before the start of the 2009 season, Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment launched a reality dance show, Knights and Angels, and selected six young female cheerleaders to cheer for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. Sourav Ganguly was a guest judge. traditional cheer uniform is in line with what you see on professional gymnasts or tennis players. Like ballet or long distance running or any other sport — including cricket — the body of an athlete needs to be able to move freely. So instead of modern-day cheerleaders performing to current dance tracks, the Pune Warriors showcase Indian dancers who now perform myriad styles set to traditional music, with routines that date back hundreds of years. The next franchise to do away with cheerleaders was the Kolkata Knight Riders. This happened in 2012, when the team’s coowners, Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, took inspiration from a recent film they had starred in to create a Bengali-inspired dance troupe.
In some ways, the moves by Pune Warriors and Kolkata Knight Riders were viewed as a positive change by many conservative Indians and sponsors who feel that the IPL does not need cheerleaders. Some people feel that it is distracting to the players and the fans, while others think it is a blatant insult to a culture that avoids displays of sensuality in public. That said, the general feeling across social media and in the press has been that PW and KKR are less exciting franchises now that they no longer have cheerleaders. Those franchises aside, what is quite interesting is the reaction that some people have to the girls themselves. According to one RCB White Mischief cheerleader, their “every move is monitored as closely as the IPL players for their protection”. However, the reality is that, with the exception of articles that could be counted on one hand, it’s the negative aspects of a cheerleader’s behaviour or her life that are commented on in the media. Only the scandals go viral. The biggest scandal to rock the IPL’s cheerleader universe took place in 2011, when Gabriella Pasqualotto, a 22-year-old South African, was fired for writing a blog about her experiences. She documented in detail the flirtatious behaviour of various players, and gave an unedited version of what goes on behind the scenes. Instead of reprimanding the players for their behaviour or simply trying to keep them from fraternising aside from official duties, the IPL committee fired Gabriella and implemented a ‘no blogging’ clause in contracts.
IPL cheerleaders are often a target for India’s moral police, without anyone trying to get to know them or finding out about the real person behind the big bright smiles. The girls have unfairly been blamed in the press and by political leaders for inciting aggression towards women. Fringe political groups have threatened to disrupt games if the cheerleaders perform. Some people also believe the girls to be escorts or strippers brought to India for lewd reasons
some men, but it’s hard. In other countries, cheerleaders are not leered at, cat-called or looked at with such blatant lust. Some men try to grope any body part they can through the fences or as they walk by, or shout degrading comments just for fun. The girls said that they try to erase those negative memories and remember only the kindnesses that they have come across. In their free time, and away from the
All RCB cheeleaders had studied dance including ballet, jazz, hip hop and modern dance almost their entire lives. that have nothing to do with the sport of cheerleading. They seem to be judged simply because they cheer. An interview with four RCB cheerleaders in 2012 revealed that — like professional Indian dancers — each one of them had studied dance including ballet, jazz, hip hop and modern dance almost their entire lives. Many had taken years of gymnastics and other sports training as well. The girls were university graduates or still studying, and all were involved with at least one, if not more, charity organisations.
cameras that follow them during their official duties and appearances, the RCB cheerleaders who we interviewed in 2012 spent time at Mother Teresa’s Mother House charity, where they all felt in awe of the impact she had on the world. They also visited a local orphanage, which one cheerleader said “left a lasting impression on us and has touched us more than any other experience to date in India”.
Carson is a Californian living in India. She writes the Google ranked #1 ‘Bangalore Blog’, Angela’s Bangalore (www.angelasbangalore. com), and is CEO of social media company Stratagem Labs (www.stratagemlabs.com). Follow her on Twitter: @angelacarson
They try their best to ignore the disrespectful behaviour that their appearance, attire and cheers provoke from
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talking the walk By Manoj Narayan
atching cricket from the stands in India can be a tiring experience. But the IPL has helped make the experience better in more ways than one. We spoke to several die-hard fans of different franchises to gauge the mood ahead of the IPL's sixth edition.
best qualities of a leader. What works for the IPL is the perfect mix of international and domestic stars, backed by a well-marketed and managed tournament. I'd like to see the franchisees getting a little more creative in terms of providing off-field entertainment in the stadia, before and during the matches, for the audience.
I have a fabulous rapport with the boys, especially (MS) Dhoni, who's the finest, most down-to-earth human being. He's had a huge impact on Team CSK. He's got the
Winning the IPL (in 2012) for me was like India winning the World Cup all over again, except this time it felt awesome as a Kolkatan. Finally, all my under-the-breath prayers had paid off. It is always more fun to be part of the
Chennai Super Kings supporter and mascot
Kolkata Knight Riders fan
what the fans say Chirag Wakaskar-IPL 2010/IPL via Getty Images
man and beat Sivamani, the popular percussionist and Chennai Super Kings mascot, often spices up the proceedings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium during CSK's home games.
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manoj narayan MANAN VATSYAYANA/afp photo
admission of love With many former greats taking part in the IPL, it's no surprise that fans, including this young man (RCB vs DC Johannesburg, 2009), come to the stadiums to watch their favourites play.
what the fans say
winning team and I am super proud of KKR. About the IPL as a whole, the city-based team concept, the T20 format, and the relentless controversies keep it interesting. However, the whole cheerleader concept is tacky. Either the teams should get stellar, well-trained cheerleaders or just get rid of them altogether.
Pune Warriors India fan
Auctions every few years alter the franchises drastically, making some teams completely unrecognisable from one year to the next. This also leads to dramatic shifts in fan loyalty. For a long-term fan, following a particular franchise is very difficult. I switched my loyalties to PWI instantly when Dada (Sourav Ganguly) went to them. I’d scrap auctions altogether. But what works is the combination of a franchise and a league system. Franchises have their own money and reputation at stake and this ensures that clubs are not only run professionally in terms of tight financial management, but also with the highest level of technical inputs (skills coaching, scouting, physiotherapy). This also means that nepotism is thrown out of the window and performance is the only criterion (unlike our domestic set-up).
Kings XI Punjab fan
Delhi, and the match is Delhi versus Punjab, the party begins. It’s about that one day, those four hours of sheer entertainment. That’s all that matters. If they win, kudos, I’ll show off in my circle. If not, it’s okay – there’s always a next time. Winning the whole tournament would be a nice feeling but nothing compared to when India wins the World Cup or Sachin Tendulkar makes or breaks a record.
Royal Challengers Bangalore fan
What better form of entertainment than a match that lasts for three hours, is fast paced, filled with fours and sixes, thrilling finishes and features the best players from all over the world and your country? The inter-city rivalries add a strong element of passion and fanaticism. I doubt if there is anything better on television during those two months. But I wish team owners were more serious about nurturing and retaining local talent. Nothing would make a fan happier than to see a cricketer from their city perform well. I see no reason why Bangalore had to let go of Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey. The move to Pune has not worked for the two, and RCB could definitely do with having them on the team.
The IPL is fun due to its short format and high-adrenaline moments. With the teams based on cities, it spices up the action. Now when with friends, suppose belonging to
Hyderabad Sunrisers/Deccan Chargers fan
I enjoyed the time when Adam Gilchrist played. We were one of the least popular
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Rajasthan Royals fan
My feeling is that, during an IPL season, if there is a break for even one day, there is a feeling that something is missing — that’s what the IPL has done to the entire nation. Rajasthan is the kind of a team that is dependent on a mix of good domestic players and one or two good foreign players. However, in the IPL, there isn’t a balance in a lot of teams. If you compare Chennai to Rajasthan, you see a huge difference in terms of quality of players, resources and so on. I understand that there is a wallet-slice, with an upperlimit and a lower-limit, but I really don’t see it followed in some of the teams.
Delhi Daredevils fan teams when IPL trend setter started. But we The five seasons of the IPL have fuelled a steady rise really turned it in women spectators (RCB around. Over vs KKR, 2011) flocking to the last few years match venues to watch the Gentleman's Game. though, I don’t see any cohesiveness in the team and I miss players like Gilchrist. At the end of the day, I would want to watch the sport not just for fun, but for some wellplayed games. And now there seems no method to the madness. And why the sudden change in names (from Deccan Chargers to Sunrisers)? I wonder how any fan would react if Manchester United were suddenly called something else.
Delhi have one of the best squads in terms of international names, but they don’t gel as a team. They are very good as individuals but haven’t found the combination to play as a solid team. They have top international names but, unlike say KKR, they haven’t found the right combination of Indian players. Having said that, I feel Unmukt Chand will play a big part this year. I feel this is Delhi’s year. I spent some years in London and attended a few Premiership matches and the big difference in fan experience is, over there, there is a sense of belonging. Regardless of results or performance, 60,000 of us were one behind Arsenal. In IPL, I don’t find that. People watch teams based on the players they like, there is no club loyalty.
what the fans say
some consolation. The IPL should ideally be a two-year event, because otherwise there’s an overdose. It’s a 50-day tournament; it’s a very long period. It’s the shorter version of the game, so the tournament should also be made shorter. Maybe have qualifying matches and then four teams play for the final tournament or something like that. That could make it ‡ more exciting.
Mumbai Indians fan
We reached the finals (in 2010) and lost to Chennai. Reaching the finals among eight teams in a long tournament is a good achievement in itself. At times, the best team loses. I was pretty disappointed, but we won the Champions League that same year, so that’s
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Rajasthan Royals Yuvraj Singh and Amit Mishra Manish Pandey Kamran Khan
Tanmay Mishra Pravin Amre
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Read Wisden Extra: A sneak peek into the forces -- cricketing and commercial -- that drive the IPL forward, ahead of the league's sixth edit...
Published on Apr 2, 2013
Read Wisden Extra: A sneak peek into the forces -- cricketing and commercial -- that drive the IPL forward, ahead of the league's sixth edit...