Now with IPL being 4 days old and almost all teams playing one or two matches, it has been declared a hit. IPL during the first week has earned highest TRP ratings across all channels. The prime time TV viewing is taken over IPL over the last few days. This was of course expected but the real challenge lies in building on this euphoria and sustaining it for the next 40 days or so.
The stage has come to decide on the loyalties. It is very interesting to see players across countries are playing together as a single unit and makes your choice of favouring a team really difficult. When you see Ricky Ponting running and sharing few tips with Ishant Sharma when he bowls looks really bewildering. Just imagine, couple of months ago both were spitting fire in their eyes against each other. Now they play for the same team, Kolkatta Knight Riders.
Coming back to the teams, I see Kolkatta Knight Riders seems to be best of the lot. Sharukh Khan, the owner of KRK has been around during all the matches and supports his team. He being a big celebrity and his active involvement would propel KRK to be among the most popular teams in IPL. Already, people have started calling KRK as the Manchester United of IPL. On the financial side also, SRK has bought KRK for USD76 million one of the lowest bids for a big city like Kolkatta. The stadium has the highest seating capacity and it is widely believed that SRK would break even earlier than any other team in the IPL.
My home team, Chennai Super Kings has played one match and they have won it. Though I say my home team, I dont feel like supporting it whole-heartedly at this stage. May be, I would support it for the sake of being from the same city.
For me, the Bangalore Royal Challengers have been the biggest failure so far. The team led by Rahul Dravid and with players like Wasim Jaffer, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher in it looks like a Test match team. That has been popular perception about the team. They have failed miserably in the first two matches and they have to really improve if they need to be successful. Vijay Mallya has spent lot of money on them having bought the team for USD111 million or so.
The Australian players have been very successful in this league. Mike Hussey, Shane Watson and Shane Warne have proven their worth with match winning efforts. I admire the Australians for the sheer professionalism they show in whatever form of cricket. On the other hand, much touted Indian Icon Players have failed to live up to the reputation. Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and Yuvaraj Singh are not in their best of their form. Sachin Tendulkar has not played yet so I reserve my comments on him for the later.
Lot of young Indian players have got fantastic chance to play against the best of cricketers. Badrinath and R Jadeja came up with interesting knocks for their respective teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals and should do well in the rest of the league to warrant a look by the national selectors.
Overall, IPL is enjoyable in phases for me.