After India’s World Cup win, IPL has become irrelevant for many © Getty Images
After India’s World Cup win, IPL has become irrelevant for many © Getty Images


By Vinay Anand


After an overwhelming World Cup came the anti-climax of the Indian Premier League. The last three seasons saw the league being the flavour of the summer. However, India’s triumph in the World Cup has made the IPL inconsequential to many.


Three seasons is as far the IPL got before which, it was time for another auction. Like the glitz of 2008, Bangalore this time round was dressed in glamour and commotion such that, the cricketing world was literally on sale. With the league already having carved a niche for itself, pundits hailed it to be bigger and better than ever before.


The money splurged on the players was certainly bigger, but, the talking point here being, how much better?


Have the players with big names ruled the roost or has it been value oriented cricketers to take things forth?


Here’s a keen eye on how utility begs for money, vindicating, Twenty 20 cricket is not just a famous, youth blitz’s game!


· Jacques Kallis, South Africa’s age old lynchpin. Neither is he young, nor was he expensive for the value he provides. The Knight Riders picked him for $1.1 million. And Kallis has delivered. He’s among the leading run getters in the IPL thus far. He has chipped in with ball and has been brilliant in the field, pouching everything that was has come his way.


· Yusuf Pathan, another Knight Rider, has underperformed this tournament. Bought for a whooping $2.1 million, Pathan has been below par with the bat. His fielding, too, has left a lot to be desired. Having said this, the marauder on his day can win a game single handedly.


· Yusuf’s brother, Irfan Pathan too, was the auction’s talking point. Without having played a game for over six months, the younger Pathan found himself attracting a neat $1.9 million. He failed to complete his four-over quota in the matches that he has played and has averaged 46 with the ball; economy rate around about the 8 mark, appalling for a strike bowler.


· Virender Sehwag too, has been off-colour for the Delhi Daredevils. Retained by the Delhi management despite having played three seasons of the IPL, Sehwag hasn’t quite got his bearings in the T20 format yet. For a man who plays Test Cricket as ODI cricket and the latter as T20 Cricket, the IPL seems a bit of a mismatch. His attacking style of play hasn’t quite been as effective as one would have thought.


· Johan Botha, South Africa’s new T20 captain, was picked up by the Rajasthan Royals for $ 900,000, a utility pick. Botha’s the perfect bits-and-pieces cricketer, who will do something for you, every time he takes the field. And, the fourth season of the IPL has been ratification of that. Johan has not been dismissed in his first three games of the IPL, scoring 118 runs at a strike rate of 130. His off spin, gives teeth to the Royal’s bowling line up as well.


· Youngsters Abhishek Nayar and Saurabh Tiwary have made a lot of big bucks this season, but have underperformed. Together, they attracted a sum of $ 2.4 million without much return.


· Andhra’s Ambati Rayudu wasn’t a flashy buy, but he has turned out to be effective. He’s been in top form for the Mumbai Indians, scoring 130 runs in his first three matches at an impressive strike rate.


Qs the saying goes “You get what you deserve”, but is this the right way to go as far as IPL cricket is concerned? Are we yet to be fixated by the brand that comes with the players or will pure cricketing logic take stance?


Surely, it’s got to be the latter. With the owners looking to multiply profits and revenue, player loyalty must take the brunt as value must edge out a showbiz.


(Vinay Anand, 17, has an uncanny eye for detail. He revers cricket – looking beyond the glamour into the heart of the game where true passion, perseverance and grit meet. To him, there is no greater joy than coming closer to the sport while exploring its intricacies through his writing and treading ahead to establish himself as a writer and presenter)