Nostalgia and emotional upheavals will rule the cricketing world when champions Mumbai India (MI) open their title defence against the ‘rehabilitated’ Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday to mark the commencement of the eleventh season of Indian Premier League (IPL).
The positive influence of the sport’s biggest extravaganza is that it will take the mind away from the controversies that have cropped up in the recent past. It is more so as it comes in the backdrop of ball-tampering confessions made by champion performers like Steve Smith and David Warner, the latter being amongst the biggest success stories of IPL.
On that count, the organisers of the scam-tainted money-spinner that has faced rough weather because of controversies dogging every edition would be aiming to revive the ‘gentlemanly’ spirit at every level. There is no doubt that like the IPL Governing Council, even the promoters of CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) will hope to showcase a cleansed outfit since serving two-year bans for alleged corrupt practises and match-fixing charges.
It is rather ironical that the fans are welcoming the return of the two teams with open hands thereby giving the impression that they have done no wrong even as some of their players remain banned. The genuine follower of the game wonders how players can be blacklisted while the co-promoters, accused of fraud, have been absolved. Perhaps, the materialistic baits, dangled by millionaire-promoters, have bulldozed the minds of all self-confessed ‘fair-play’ administrators.
The running feud between officials of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and representatives of CoA in the wake of the Lodha panel recommendations demonstrates the disgusting ‘I give a damn’ mindset of a vast majority of Board functionaries in whose blood notoriety seems to be running high.
A cursory look reveals that administrators outnumber players and coaches with regard to resorting to unethical means to survive and make a killing. It is the same with regard to IPL in which co-promoters with close links to bookies and betting syndicates have blatantly encouraged fixing of the obnoxious kind going scot-free and some players ending up as scapegoats.
However, the best part of the IPL is that once it gets going and gains momentum all else is forgotten by the reconciled fans, more keen to watch the exploits of the players and the corresponding excitement, whose high volume quotient is a certainty. The run-up to the ensuing edition has been such that the buzz revolved more around the return of CSK and RR and more importantly the news that the charismatic Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be leading the two-time champion, all over again.
The most unique part of IPL is that for all the excitement that is generated, it hardly matters to the followers as to who would be crowned champions in the absence of any pre-tournament favourite and the possibility of underdogs pulling-off stunning reversals to the script. At the end of the day, cricket is the winner even as broadcasters, sponsors and BCCI laugh all the way to the bank. #KhabarLive