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IPL Establishes Itself As The Most Popular Soap Opera in Indian Homes

The unpredictable nature of the short and sweet limited overs cricket makes it easy to follow, exciting to watch and a drama for the entire family and friends.

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cricket
The IPL tournament seems to always have this uncertain element to it till the last day of the league. Pixabay

The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is heading towards the final stages of the knockout qualifications. The tournament has been a grand success not only on the field but also off it. The digital world has embraced this T20 format with gusto and fantasy games such as the ‘Dream 11’ and such application driven initiatives have all been a rip roaring success.

The IPL has truly established itself as the most popular soap opera in the life of an Indian television viewer. The irony of it is that it is “live” cricket and not a make believe world of film and television. Somehow, it never gets perceived as such. The players are live entertainers, playing their hearts out, in hot and humid conditions to achieve success for themselves as well as for their franchise. The unpredictable nature of the short and sweet limited overs cricket makes it easy to follow, exciting to watch and a drama for the entire family and friends. The IPL somehow never gives one the seriousness that one associates with sports and maybe that is the reason that the charade that it highlights makes it even more thrilling to watch.

IPL
Along with the CSK, both Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals have also qualified for the knock-out stage. Pixabay

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has once again marshalled his players and led the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to another play-off. He is cool and a phenomenally brilliant thinker, who seems to read the game far better than I have ever seen one do on a cricket field. But his success lies in the way he utilizes, encourages and identifies his players. He is a process driven individual and highlights that in each and every interview of his. This is what makes him a great leader, as his theory of success comes through a planned implementable process. The clarity of it, is what is proving to be his hallmark in becoming a world renowned lateral thinker. One can already visualize him giving talks on teamwork and leadership.

T20 cricket, because of the faster pace of the game, is considered to be a format for the young rather than the older cricketers. However, the CSK team has shown that maturity, smart thinking and experience has no age bar. Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, Shane Watson, Imran Tahir, Dwayne Bravo and Dhoni have all been more successful than so many of the younger players. This is what has made CSK a formidable team and to take the title away from them in IPL 2019 will need something extraordinary from the others.

Along with the CSK, both Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals have also qualified for the knock-out stage. Mumbai has a good fan following and with Rohit Sharma, Pollard, Bumrah and the Pandya brothers, they look like a formidable side. Suryakant Yadav has been their consistent performer and with Quinton de’Kock showing good form, they have the fire power to win.

One feels elated for Delhi Capitals. A name change has changed their fortune. The side has some of the most exciting talent of Indian cricket. Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari and their young captain Shreyas Iyer, are all likely to be the backbone and the future of Indian cricket. Unfortunately, the injury to their main bowler, Kagiso Rabada, just at the time of the knock-out phase may deplete their chances. This team will be the side to beat in the future.

watching TV
The IPL somehow never gives one the seriousness that one associates with sports and maybe that is the reason that the charade that it highlights makes it even more thrilling to watch. Pixabay

The IPL tournament seems to always have this uncertain element to it till the last day of the league. The battle for the 4th place for the knockout spot will only be known on the last day being Sunday, May 5. Rajasthan Royals, who looked in complete disarray initially and nearly on the verge of being relegated to the also ran stage, made a phenomenal recovery and a win against Delhi Capitals could allow them to sneak into the fourth qualifier spot.

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Unfortunately, their hopes lie on the outcome of the three teams who had shown great promise in the earlier part of the tournament, Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab. The three of them seem to have lost their momentum when they most required it. All have super stars who can win the game entirely on their individual ability. Kane Williamson will need to make his mark for Hyderabad but the interesting battle will be between the two West Indian giants, Andre Russell for Kolkata and Chris Gayle for Punjab. Both have two matches left to further ignite the stadium with their mighty stroke-play. The IPL is still anybody’s game, just sit back and enjoy it. (IANS)

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Cricket, a Way of Life

One of the renowned cricket writers C.L.K. James summed it up perfectly, "What do they know of cricket who only cricket know"

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Cricket, Life, British
Cricket writers around the world have eulogised not only the masters who played the game, but also the surroundings and the people following it too. Wikimedia Commons

BY YAJURVINDRA SINGH

Cricket, as one popularly terms it, is a way of life. The British established the game in every corner that they were present and made it into an elite sport. The famous saying, “cricket is a game for a real live man, keep fit little man, keep fit”, sums it up beautifully.

The pace and harmony with which it was played was similar to a musical symphony, wherein one was relaxed to enjoy every note or stroke in cricketing terms. Cricket writers around the world have eulogised not only the masters who played the game, but also the surroundings and the people following it too. One of the renowned cricket writers C.L.K. James summed it up perfectly, “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know”.

Cricket has evolved over times from the ‘play to finish’ to a five-day Test match. The customer, in this case, the spectator, as one commonly refers to in marketing jargon, as the king, has been at the center stage of the way the game has changed over the years. The paucity of time and the pace of life has played a major part in changing the tide of the royal game.

Test cricket, fortunately, is still revered amongst the cricketers and serious cricket followers as the ultimate form of the game, but this is changing rapidly in the fast pace digital world of today. Cricket is not just a sport anymore but has become the source of entertainment in the same vein as an action packed movie or an exciting event. Test cricket is gradually receding into a test of time and resilience, patience and endurance which is respected by fans and the people playing it has now given way to flamboyance, aggression and stardom.

Cricket, Life, British
The pace and harmony with which it was played was similar to a musical symphony, wherein one was relaxed to enjoy every note or stroke in cricketing terms. Wikimedia Commons

A cricketer is now more inclined to be known for his hitting rather than for his technique. Cricketers, as one sadly gathers, are now more focused on playing the shorter limited overs format of the game, rather than in acquiring skills to play Test cricket for their country. The only way forward, is to recognize an Indian cap, only when one plays Test cricket, maybe this would incentivise the upcoming cricketers to get serious about the conventional form of the game. An Indian cap for a T20 or an ODI player should not be given the weightage and aura of a Test cap.

Unfortunately, time and tide waits for no man. The show must go on and so cricket in any form is better than nothing at all. One can feel the cause of worry, when the modern master of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, a quiet observer at most times, speak vehemently about the changes required for the progress of the game. The 50-overs cricket, which boasts of the aspiration of every modern day cricketer “The World Cup”, he feels, needs to be altered not only to suit the spectators but also for the benefit of the teams and the players.

A 25-overs per 2 innings is a fabulous idea as the present game of the 50 overs version has become boring between the 15th and 40th overs. The fielding side, at most times, is left to play defensive cricket, whereas, the batsmen need very little skills to accumulate runs. Breaking that monotony is a good way to keep cricketers and their support staff on their toes and gives the spectators a change of scene as well. The most important aspect is that it gives both the teams a more equal opportunity of the conditions during the match. I feel this should be tested in the Indian domestic scenario as quickly as possible.

T20 format is now easily the most popular version of the game. However, one can see that this format is also gradually losing out to the T10 and the 100 balls per side matches. The tide is changing very rapidly towards cricket becoming a home-run sport, enjoyed by one and all, for only hitting boundaries. The T20 could in the near future soon become a two innings encounter of 10 overs each.

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One’s only worry is that the very characteristics and the core values of the game of cricket are being gradually disturbed to cater to the commercial advantages of all the stakeholders involved in the game. One cannot see that as unreasonable, but the very essence of why and how the game was being played is giving away to the hit and run ways of today’s world.

A cyclone is brewing to uproot the very base of pure cricket which has stood like a pinnacle of glory over a century of time. They say “a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”, and one hopes that cricket too lingers on in the same way in its new avatar. (IANS)