After days and weeks of talk of money, money and more money, of the infusion of glitz and glamour, and the co-habitation of business and show business, it is now time for the primary business in the Indian Premier League which, presumably, is cricket. Tonight, Bangalore take on Calcutta in the first match and the next 44 days will decide if this Twenty20 thing is really here to stay or whether it is only going to last as long as its novelty.
So, as the tournament begins, here’s a simple question: which of the eight teams looks most likely, on paper, to walk away with the title? Will it be Madras and Mahendra Singh Dhoni? Bombay and Sachin Tendulkar? Delhi and Virender Sehwag? Hyderabad and V.V.S. Laxman? Calcutta and Saurav Ganguly? And, do Rahul Dravid and Bangalore team stand even a whiff of a chance? Or, as the wise sages say on TV, will “the better team of the day” win?
If cricket is an unpredictable game, is the IPL going to be even more so? Will cricket emerge stronger or weaker after this? Will cricket fans be able to relate to the concept of their team?