Amit Acharya reviews the latest Indian Premier League cricket season.
This season of the Indian Premier League will stand out in my mind as one of the best as well as one of the most controversial. The early pace was set by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, but as soon as they were installed as favourites they spectacularly fell away. It is no surprise that their batting centred team did better at home in Bangalore where the boundaries were shortest.
As with most IPL seasons Dhoni guided his team to the playoffs, once again proving he is a great captain. His record as captain probably excuses the poor performance in the final by his Chennai side. The West Indies are always very well represented through the tournament, this year these players were the stars of the show.
Dwayne Bravo ended the season as the leading wicket taker, Pollard came into his own towards the end of the tournament almost single handily guiding Mumbai to the title. The other big West Indian provided the most memorable moment of the competition, Chris Gayle’s 173 not out will be remembered for a long time.
The season also saw many endings, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist will not return as players and there are doubts that we will ever see Muralitharan either. Sahara Pune Warriors also ended again, their owners have cancelled the contract to bring them back next season.
This season also saw Delhi Daredevils go from top of the league last season to a bottom of the table battle, probably due to injuries to key players such as Kevin Pietersen. The rebranded Deccan Chargers were many peoples favourite to be at the bottom of the league at the start, they surprised many by qualifying strongly.
It was also a season to showcase two potential future Indian captains in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. In my opinion the Mumbai captain showed off better captaincy credentials and could overtake Kohli when the call has to be made.
The coverage of the IPL in England has been brilliant, ITV4 showing that cricket can work on channels other than Sky Sports. They only complaint with the coverage was their decision not to show cricket on one the other ITV channels when British Touring Cars was being shown. It is clear that the popularity of the competition has increased in the UK, and the sport is now on a par with NFL.
The only negative to come out from this seasons Indian Premier League was the spot fixing scandal. This is something that will rock the sport and seems much deeper than what has already been revealed. Some famous names have been caught this year, with Sreesanth claiming he has been framed. The arrest of Gurunath Meiyappan an alleged associate of Chennai Super Kings will bring Indian cricket to its knees, as he is the son in law of the head of Indian cricket. This on-going story has many chapters still to write, let’s just hope it does not implicate too many other big names.
Despite the shocking spot fixing news that came out towards the end of the competition I will remember this season for many good reasons.
image: © sankarshan