Pretend you’re listening and smiling or you’re fired, Punter.
Barely a week after an intense World Cup tournament, it’s T20 time. You’d think cricketers played this format to unwind, like sipping on leather-flavored margaritas on a hot beach in May, but this League—now in it’s 7th edition—is quite intense on its own.
This ‘domestic’ tournament, now a showcase for young prize horses vying for prestigious international positions, is where a lot of careers take off. After six editions, the teams have been reshuffled, the auction has seen some interesting and logic-defying picks—keeping with the strong cricketing acumen of the star team owners—and all systems are go.
Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at what one can expect from this edition:
RIDERS ON THE STORM
Many may not remember, but Kolkata Knight Riders are defending Champions. Their owner, a superstar actor who has refused to act in a decent movie for the last seven years, is now an enlightened soul—what with his team having matched Chennai Superkings for the most amount of titles (2). And with star bowler Sunil Narine being cleared to bowl this year (he seems to bowl once a year for just one month in this league, spending the rest of his time giggling and chuck(l)ing at West Indies making fools of themselves in international cricket), the owner is said to dropped his abrupt plans of roping himself in as the mystery chuc—bowler. All’s well that ends well, for the owner looks to continue his 7-year barren streak in 2015 with yet another Rohit Shetty movie on the cards.
KINGS DOWN UNDER
Another ex-superstar actress, who co-owns Kings XI Punjab, will co-cheer with her ex, the other co-owner of this team captained by Australia’s ex-ODI Captain Bailey, with explosive Indian ex-opener Sehwag at the top and Australia’s co-destroyer-in-chief batsman Maxwell in the middle. They were last year’s fairytale team, until the shock value of their pink jerseys got nullified in the final, despite India’s ex-keeper Saha slamming a fine century against CSK in the semis.
Every team except Delhi Daredevils, the perpetual wooden spooners, has retained the core 3-4 players in their teams. The Daredevils, of course, once again did their version of what is essentially a failed Bollywood remake—by restructuring the side, choosing new players and still managing to make the overall combination look disastrous. They shelled out a criminally high price for India discard Yuvraj Singh, and their first setback has come even before the tournament begins: They have three South African chokers in their lineup, out of which one may or may not be called De Kock. Also, less importantly, their best player Kevin Pieterson has pulled out to play county cricket and fast-track his England return.
Positives: Zaheer Khan and Mohammed Shami will lead the bowling attack.
Negatives: Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir will not lead the bowling Attack.
Contrary to popular opinion, Royal Challengers Bangalore—under under-fire Virat Kohli—look the weakest team. Starc, who will not play their first few games, will leave the team bowling to be led by Varun Aaron—who is still recovering from India’s disastrous Test Tour of Australia, where his ‘bad luck’ remained ‘bad luck’ in the two tests he played. Not to mention AB de Villiers, who will bat at a position that requires him to come in only if one of Gayle or Virat fails at the top, when he is actually twice the batsman, captain, fielder, keeper, catcher, runner, runner and even bowler.
Also, this team doesn’t deserve to win (one of three teams yet to win the tournament) simply because its owner, a beer and airline baron who almost lost his fortune when his son became a white-panted cheerleader a few years ago, paid an obscene price to win the services of a player named Dinesh Karthik. Now, not many know what Karthik is good at, except looking morose behind the stumps, or simply looking happy to be married to India’s Champion (and best-looking) squash player. Stuart Binny will understand what it feels like, for his better half Mayanti Langer excels in the same sport and appears on TV far more than he does, even if only as a presenter.