Riteish Deshmukh (Right) is the skipper of Veer Marathi team of CCL © IANS
Genelia D’Souza (left) and Riteish Deshmukh were among those present at Brabourne Stadium for the opening encounter © IANS (File Photo)

The Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) 2015 opener took off with a match between Mumbai Heroes and Veer Marathi with complete television coverage. An amused Abhishek Mukherjee has a take.

Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) is a lot of fun, especially if you watch in a group. For example, we saw Bobby Deol with a facial hair to match Anton Devcich’s; they showed a vivacious Huma Qureshi during the proceedings; and we got to know that Aftab Shivdasani imitates Wayne Parnell’s hairdo.

This was what cricket was always supposed to be like. Bobby Deol ran in and bowled bouncers (“he is getting more bounce than they are getting in Australia,” said Rohan Gavaskar). Madhav Deochakke (the surname roughly means “give me sixes”) scored a 36-ball 99. And on came Suniel Shetty.

He should bowl fast, I thought. He is, after all, the man who bashes up everyone, in uniform or otherwise. Look at those shoulders…

When he actually delivered the ball, it ballooned up in the air; one of his deliveries was, in fact, so slow that the batsman could not reach it and mistimed the attempted shot. Where was all that on-screen power and machismo? I even recalled this scene from Border where he cried out for strength, for power…

But it was fun, overall. It was wholesome entertainment, what with the entire Bollywood fraternity out there, including Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza, Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, Makarand Deshpande and Sohail Khan, Gulshan Grover and Anupam Kher: in other words, the entire industry minus Rajesh Vivek. It made great viewing, especially the quality of cricket. It was so entertaining that a handful of channels were telecasting it live.

It is another thing that the same broadcasters did not bother to telecast the goings-on at Christchurch, which involved Brendon McCullum’s blistering 195 or Dimuth Karunaratne’s defiant 152; or the proceedings at Wellington, where a Kumar Sangakkara double-hundred was overhauled by another from Kane Williamson, with BJ Watling holding the rear. There was also some fantastic pace bowling on display, but then, who on earth cares about bowlers?

There is still no news whether India will legally get to see the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in New Zealand live. Few are aware that the series starts tomorrow. The match, after all, will be on the same day that Chennai Rhinos will take on Kerala Strikers, followed by a humdinger between Telugu Warriors and Bengal Tigers?

Side note: On a completely unrelated topic, why are Bengal teams (barring Knight Riders) almost always named Tigers?

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)