You thought that the cricket would be over now that world cup is done? Think again. Today the Indian Premier League (IPL) will kick-off! Most people here think that this is more important than the world cup. Or maybe not so this year that India has won it, but it is very huge here!
IPL has only been around for three years, and this will be the fourth edition. It’s quite interesting to read the history of the league, and it has off course been a lot of controversies. All matches are played in a period of about seven weeks. In 2008, when we had the big terror attack in Mumbai, the whole league was moved to South-Africa! Can you imagine Arsenal-Tottenham playing in Madrid and Manchester United – Liverpool in Valencia? It wouldn’t really be the same. But this is cricket, so everything is possible. It has also been a lot of questions regarding match-fixing and wages that has not been reported. The founder of the league, Mr. Lalit Modi has ownership in teams, and was it a coincident that “his” team won the first tournament? This founder has now been suspended from the league, and if I’m right, he is not even allowed to enter India.
But it is no doubt that IPL has introduced something new to cricket. It is very popular all around the world, and it gives stars from all around the world a chance to come to India and see the culture here. Matthew Hayden, the Australian cricketer writes about IPL in his book. He says that the whole team could watch an Indian movie on TV, and suddenly one Indian player would start to laugh. Hayden then asked some other Indian player what was so funny, and he said that he had no idea, as not even he understood the language! I don’t think Hayden was really aware that there are multiple languages in India, and not even Indians know each language. He says that being able to play in this league with people from many different countries and cultures have given him a different perspective on India.
So what team will win the league then? Totally there are 10 teams, which are 2 more than the 8 teams from last year. Kochi and Pune have come as new teams. And I think particularly Kochi seems to have a quite strong team. If you ask most people here in Mumbai, they will surely pick Mumbai Indians as the favorite to win this. Sachin Tendulkar play for his hometown and the bowlers Harbhajan Singh and Sri-Lankan Malinga are both here. But there is no doubt that there will be a tough competition. Rajasthan Royals have retained the Australians Shane Warne and Shane Watson from last year, so they also seem to have a really strong team. And there is off course one other team to look out for. Last year winners. The Chennai Super Kings. This is the only team that has been in the semi-final all three years. They have been in two finals, and finally won it last year. And they are lead by the Indian captain MS Dhoni, who kind of won the World Cup for India. Will they manage to win it one more time? What do you think?
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Talk to you soon!