01 December, 2007

ICL - The beginning.

The Indian Cricket League has finally arrived – at the non-descript town of Panchkula in Chandigarh. After all the hype and media bytes of ‘BCCI vs. Zee Group’, we finally have some actual cricket, if you could call it that. But I guess even Subash Chandra, the head of the Zee group would secretly confess that he's missed a trick or two here. The Zee guys probably thought this would be a good idea and announced the 20-20 competition, with a spate of players signing in from all over the world. All this looked really impressive. The problem however was that most of these guys were either retired or were on the verge of retiring. And then, when the sleeping giant BCCI woke up from its slumber, the ICL started to look like the town circus.

Anyway, yesterday, I watched the first match of this tournament, between ‘Chandigarh Lions’ and ‘Delhi Jets’. I must say, these guys have redefined 20-20. They’ve made what is potentially a very exciting form of cricket, boring again. A team like Australia plays more aggressive cricket in test matches. The tournament started off with a dance performance by Kareena Kapoor. A lot of people, esp politicians would be excited by this. No, not by Kareena’s dance. That’s asking too much of her.

Maybe Mayawati would use this in her election rally, giving a 20 minute speech and then when she’s tired we’d have a few overs bowled. And just as a prelude, the inaugural night of the ICL had its share of politicians pitching in for Subash Chandra. Lalu and Amar Singh were very conspicuous in their presence. Lalu, as always had a lot of gyan to pass on. After all he’s been dealing with Harvard and Stanford grads of late.

A special mention of the commentary, which was very imaginative, literally. Sample this.

First over of the match:

Wd 0 0 0 Wd

Pat Symcox: Oh this is turning out to be such an action-packed over. Everything’s happening. (Yeah, we’re just very simple folks to not comprehend the action involved in a wide delivery, and some defensive strokes).

Pat Symcox (to Dinesh Mongia): Nayan Mongia, please tell us how …

And just when a confounded Dinesh Mongia is about to reply, off goes Pat rattling about something totally irrelevant.

Tony Greig (commenting on a single): Oh, that’s a wonderful shot. Looks like the Lions are back on track (After 7 balls of no runs being scored, maybe Tony’s commentary was more exciting).

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of good things to say about this tournament - at least of what of what I've seen so far. In fact these matches have shown how any good concept can be made boring. Lets hope at least the IPL, with all its stars is worth the money – which is quite a lot in these tournaments, btw.

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