Indian Premier League is all set to roll with a heady mix of cricket and glamour on show in the opening match between Kolkata Knight Riders andBangalore Royal Challengers on 18.04.2008
Shah Rukh Khan owned Knight Riders and Vijay Mallya’s Royal Challengers
will kick off the 44-day twenty20 tournament that has several
international stars playing alongside the best of Indian domestic
cricket and under-19 rookies.
Conflicting emotions raging in the hearts of the players when they look around, they will see quite a few familiar faces here too, but how many of those will actually evoke smiles in their hearts? Worse, will some trigger off ugly memories or even stoke dormant anger? Indeed, will they find themselves among mates or adversaries?
You can blame this denouement on cricket, really. Over the years, it has transformed into a dangerous war of egos, a win-at-all-costs affair. The bad blood and rancour between teams has become so deep-rooted that it is not latent anymore; you can feel it, even see it quite regularly.
England and Australia have always fought their battles on the edge. But today, almost every team is everybody else’s enemy Number One. If Australia can’t stand India or New Zealand, South Africa won’t yield an inch to Sri Lanka or England. And that is just the beginning.
Arguably, the game has stooped to this level because of Australia’s overt display of aggression. For a long time, their players hid behind the facade of mental disintegration to ruffle and intimidate opposition teams. Today, after years of subjugation and defeats, the others have finally caught on to their game: it is nothing but sledging in disguise.
Now, thanks to the IPL and all the big bucks, most of them will have to sit in the same dressing room and plot strategies. For 44 days, enemies will turn into friends and friends into enemies. But how many secrets will really spill out during those brainstorming sessions?