E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: IPL is all set to roll again in 2009.
Whereas the first edition was a warm-up affair, the one this year is expected to throw up fresh talent which can change the face of the league financially as well in reputation.
For starters, this will really become a league for youngsters with some greats and not-so-greats almost shown the door.
I talked to the Ace Sports Specialist (ASS) who is an authority on the IPL.
“So what’s going to be new this year at IPL?” I started off.
“For one thing, there will be an infusion of fresh blood all over. The changes will be real and not cosmetic,” replied the ASS.
“Are there enough talent around to take the place of the old guards?”
“They are already knocking on the doors and can’t be ignored any more. Given an opportunity, I have no doubt they will all come out with flying colours.”
“Will the format be changed in 2009?”
“Why should we change a proven format? After all, this pattern has served our country very well. People have liked it; it is best to stick to what that has worked for you.”
“Do you think the IPL will be replicated elsewhere?”
“No chance. It is an Indian thing that suits our system to the ‘T’ . I don’t think others can transplant what we have grown here. It is our ethos and it should remain here.”
“If the new faces do not fulfill their potential, do you think IPL will discard them next time? After all, others must get their chances too.”
ASS was confident: “I don’t think the new faces will fail. They may be young, but are not raw. My prediction is, they will be a big hit and earn enormous money and fame. The Indian public will be eating out of their hands by the end of 2009. Mark my words.”
“The fresh faces are already making news. Some of them are openly written about. The fresh faces won’t cost much as they enter the league.”
“I don’t know what you mean by that. By next year their prices and stocks would have reached sky-high.”
Now is the time to know who all will be there, I thought.
“Who else are coming in apart from Azharuddin’s son and Krish Srikkanth’s son, who made his debut in the IPL last year?’ I asked.
“What are you talking about? I thought we are discussing Sonia Gandhi’s son Rahul, Karunanidhi’s sons Stalin and Azhagiri and daughter Kanimozhi, who are the main entrants this year along with Farooq Abdullah’s son Omar, Sharad Pawar‘s daughter Supriya Sule, and Deve Gowda‘s daughter-in-law Anitha Kumaraswamy.”
“Aren’t we discussing IPL—the Indian Premier League—the cricket league for Twenty20?” I asked.
“I was discussing IPL too, but the Indian Political League. I was talking of new entrants who will occupy Prime Ministers and chief ministers’ posts later if not sooner!” replied the ASS.
“Wait a minute! Aren’t you the Ace Sports Specialist?”
“I used to be. I have now switched over to political watching. I am the Ace Political Expert.”
It was not the ASS I was talking to. It was the APE.