Can you imagine life without the Indian Premier League? Image: Twitter
The Indian Premier League (IPL) just didn’t change cricket forever. It changed cricketers, too.
Spare a thought for that local, state-level player who couldn't break into Team India ranks because the Sachins, Sehwags, and the Dhonis were indispensable. In 2008, he got deservedly recognised by a franchise, smashed towering sixes and ended up earning a set of fans. His purse grew in size, he finally got his name embossed on a glitzy jersey and rubbed shoulders with international stars and improved as a player. The IPL is full of such success stories. This tournament also gave us cheerleaders, entertaining commentary, and showed us that a marriage between cricket and Bollywood is indeed possible.
But, in hindsight, have you imagined a world without the IPL? We just did.
S Sreesanth and controversy would have been different chapters
He bowled fast, but got into controversies faster. Before the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, Sreesanth's claim to fame was getting slapped by Harbhajan Singh. Remember IPL 2008? A Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab game in Mohali? As if sledging Sachin Tendulkar during the 2005 Challenger Trophy and dancing on the pitch after smashing Andre Nel for a six wasn’t enough. The mercurial and obsessive cricketer has more controversies than wickets in his kitty.
Who would’ve lifted Nita Ambani then?
Back in 2010, MS Dhoni lifted the IPL title for Chennai Super Kings. And Bhajji lifted Nita Ambani. This happened during the semi-final match, which the Mumbai Indians managed to win against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Ambani rushed to the ground to celebrate with the players, and Bhajji being Bhajji, grabbed the limelight with both hands.
No tiff between Dada and SRK
Kolkata mourned the day Sourav Ganguly was ignored by every franchise during the 2011 Indian Premier League auctions. Shah Rukh Khan admitted he wanted to change the KKR strategy. And Ganguly, who was teeming with confidence after a great 2010 season, was vying for some more runs and victorious chases. Unfortunately for fans, both were on collision course.
No Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle Bhangra
Perhaps the next best thing Virat Kohli can do better than chasing is bhangra. Chris Gayle has always been the party king. But Kohli and Mandeep Singh decided to throw life into his an RCB social gathering by making Gayle do some bhangra. Now that he's with Kings XI Punjab, he'll probably team up with Yuvraj Singh on the dance floor.
A happier Bishan Singh Bedi
Not many think highly of the Indian Premier League. Bishan Singh Bedi is one of them. He calls this tournament a platform for money laundering. "Can anyone justify one wicket's price at Rs one crore and Rs 97 lakh for one run. I am not against the money part of it as players deserve to get more money playing for the country than playing for a wretched club," he once said in an interview.