Welcome to the world of the Indian Premier League (IPL)
Unheralded superstars might spring out of nowhere, great cricketing icons might fall, and newer fables might be written this year.
Updated - Apr 5, 2021 1:38 pm
The mercury levels rise in India in the summer months of April and May, and the heat is experienced by the whole country. And, this heat is turned up a few notches by a few men wielding the willow or holding a white ball. Several cricketing superstars will ply their trade in the annual cricketing carnival of India, also known as the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The premier players in the world descend in the Indian subcontinent to participate in the most prestigious T20 league in the world and light up the tournament with their superlative performances. Welcome to the world of IPL….
The world of IPL
So, what does this world of IPL look like?
For 10 months in the year, the whole of India will be rooting for just one side, the Indian cricket team clad in blue. The entire map of India will be filled with just one color. The nation will ‘Bleed Blue’, and a victory for the Indian side will give the entire country numerous reasons to celebrate. But for the other two months (typically April and May), eight different colours will gain prominence on the Indian map. The Super Kings clad in Yellow from the Southern city of Chennai will be gunning for their 4th IPL title in the 2021 season under the leadership of their enigmatic leader, MS Dhoni.
Then, there are the Challengers in red from the city of Bangalore, who will take the field with passion under the stewardship of Indian cricket’s poster boy, Virat Kohli. Move up on the map, and you will find the side that is as bright and resplendent as the sun. The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have always been a force to reckon with in the IPL and will be looking to bag their second IPL trophy this year.
Go further up on the Indian map, and you will stumble upon the most successful IPL side ever. The Mumbai Indians (MI), clad in blue are the most dominant force in IPL history and have in their arsenal a set of players who can give any opposition a run for their money.
The Royals from the land of Rajasthan had surprised the world by punching above their weight in the 2008 IPL season. But since then, the IPL trophy has remained elusive for the Rajasthan outfit. Go a little further up on the Indian map, and you will find the Capitals from India’s capital city, Delhi. For the 2021 season, they will be led by Indian cricket’s daredevil (well, the men from Delhi were earlier called the Daredevils), Rishabh Pant.
Go up a little more, and you will find the Kings from the land of Punjab. In a ‘won the battle but lost the war scenario’, their leader KL Rahul won the Orange Cap in the 2020 IPL edition, but the Punjab side failed to even qualify for the IPL playoffs. And finally, move to the North East on the Indian map, and you will find the side clad in violet and gold. The Knight Riders from Kolkata are two-time IPL champions but have not won the IPL title since 2014. Expect them to go all out for their third IPL trophy.
What else is the IPL world about?
The IPL world is one where the loyalty of the fan towards an IPL side might even supersede his/her loyalty towards players from his/her own nation. You might be an Indian and a die-hard Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) fan, and AB de Villiers might be on strike against a man from your own country, Ravichandran Ashwin.
And, the RCB fan in you might want De Villiers to rip apart Ashwin, even though Ashwin is an INDIAN player. Dwayne Bravo might be bowling to Virat Kohli, and you might be rooting for the ‘Men in Yellow’. And the CSK fan in you might want Kohli’s stumps to be shattered by Bravo even though Kohli is the INDIAN captain. Welcome to the world of IPL.
IPL: A World filled with everlasting memories
But most importantly, the IPL world is one that is filled with everlasting and effervescent memories. And in a way, the fans of the IPL owe a small ‘Thank You’ to Brendon McCullum. In the year 2008, when the IPL was just born, fans did not know what to expect. Also, the T20 format itself was not even four years old.
But then, in an assault that opened up new horizons, McCullum smashed a riveting 158* in the opening match of the IPL. And from then on, the IPL has never looked back. Chris Gayle took ‘butchery’ to a different stratosphere when he absolutely pounded the Pune bowling attack and scored 175 in the 2013 edition of the IPL.
Well, 175 is a score that an entire team might be contended with in T20 cricket. In the year 2016, Virat Kohli experienced an ‘otherworldly’ IPL season. The master scored 973 runs in a single IPL season, and scored his runs at an average of 81.08, and plundered 4 centuries in that season as well.
And then, came that assault from the best finisher that the IPL has ever seen, MS Dhoni. In the year 2018, Dhoni helped the Chennai outfit breach a target of 206 by smashing a 34 ball 70* against the Bangalore outfit. The RCB bowlers were treated like a bunch of school kids as Dhoni guided the Chennai side to a nerve-wrenching victory. We can go on and on, as the IPL world is filled with memories that will last a lifetime.
The IPL turns 14 in 2021
And in 2021, the IPL will turn 14. And this season too, there will be a lot of surprises that will emerge. Unheralded superstars might spring out of nowhere, great cricketing icons might fall, and newer fables might be written.
So, are you ready to enter the world of IPL?