What did one like most about the tournament? The first answer that jumps to mind is "everything". If you fail to agree with me then read on. We will proceed step by step on a journey of critical analysis of this juggernaut called IPL.
- Quality of Cricket. There is no denying the fact that quality of cricket being offered on IPL stage is world class. Barring T-20 World Cup there is no other platform where you can find half as many world class cricketers displaying their cricketing skills. In fact IPL may be considered better than T-20 World Cup by many. That is because the argument goes like this. T-20 World Cup doesn't feature some swashbuckling senior stalwarts that IPL does. Case in point are irresistible veterans like Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble et al.
- Fanfare. The build up to IPL tournament is simply breathtaking and you wouldn't like to miss out on the hype created for all the gold in the world. Because it is this build up which sends your adrenalin rushing leaving you to contend with goose pimples. The propaganda machine of IPL and its teams rev up your expectations for some blood curdling duels on the cricket field. And bang! The show starts with gala Opening Ceremony and teams baying for each others' blood. Taking cue the organisers throw in every trick in the book to regale crowd as the tournament progresses. Who would want to miss out on such world class fanfare that IPL offers? Not me.
- Glamour. IPL organisers deserve a salute to be able to attract so much glamour and glitterati on one stage. You name it and you have it! Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty, Mukesh Ambani, Vijay Mallaya, Katrina Kaif, and the list keeps unfolding. Then you also have some big international band playing for you at the tournament. And glam girls as Cheer Leaders act as icing on the cake. Do you want to miss any of it? I doubt.
What most of us may fail to register are two major spin offs that IPL is giving to India. Firstly it is building Brand India in the eyes of global population. India's Club Cricket being played on foreign soil as far removed as South Africa! And that too so successfully that IPL becomes the centre point of all activities of that country!! Even the General Elections in South Africa took a back seat to IPL fever that gripped the country. World media and by extension world public are bound to wonder. To cap it all this venture called IPL is worth $ 2 billion, may be more. In just two years such an adventurous venture is already a financial success. I wouldn't blame the global populace, especially the sporting world, if it sits up and takes notice.
The second commendable point that IPL has scored is by garnering loads of goodwill for India through charity. Generous donations given by IPL to various organisations enhancing educational and sporting facilities in South Africa is simply magnanimous. Such gestures will take IPL and India a long way in building bridges of friendship across nations.
Now the question arises as to what would we like to see different in IPL-3. Well on all aspects discussed above, we would like to see IPL doing better and bigger. That said there is also a dream that somehow IPL should reach out to non cricket playing countries and spread our religion further. With IPL anything is in the realm of 'possible'. So lets pray and hope that Lalit Modi and company can pull off this last bit of magic. Cheers to Lalit Modi! Cheers to IPL! And cheers to Indian cricket fans!