- Even though the usual suspects dominated, the two best teams in this year's tournament - CSK and SRH - made it to the finals. It was good that the other lesser teams did not sneak in due to some fortuitous twist in the tail. My tweet:
- The very fact that the broadcasting rights were given to Star Sports was good. Great escape for the viewers from the hideously incompetent presenters of Sony TV (bar one or two). Star's Mayanti Langer is such a welcome relief!
- If going away from Sony means Sidhu would also not be a part of the team - he wasn't on Star this year - then all the better for it. It's better he sticks to entertaining the political dynasty.
- Star came up with quite a few innovations this year: the dugout commentary, star commentators playing street cricket, etc. Indeed, Star had lined up as many as 30 commentators throughout the tournament, most very good with their comments and opinions (especially my favourite, Harsha Bhogle).
- The addition of DRS is good in terms of reducing umpiring errors. Perhaps IPL can innovate further by adding more technology to get decisions right, and to enhance the viewing experience.
- The one-off women's IPL match. Let there be a tournament just for the ladies! Too bad, the people of Mumbai kept away from this game.
- The cheerleaders: To me, IPL is all about good cricketing action. I care very less about the celebrities or the non-cricketing entertainment. Don't get me wrong - I've nothing against the girls themselves. It is the concept that I am dead against. Consider this: each time a player (a man) hits a six or takes a wicket, the women have to get up on the stage and dance in skimpy clothes. Has nobody - especially the feminists - considered the sexism inherent in this cheerless act?
- Promotions: I am afraid, Star Sports has fallen prey to the familiar temptation of publicizing its other programs during the cricketing action. So we had characters from the Star serials inflicting themselves on the hapless audience. They got to sit in the front seat along with some Star Plus contest winners and gesticulate madly to garner attention. On one occasion, 'Himanshu' from Khichdi was doing his trademark hand-over-head wave, and Bumble (David Lloyd) who was commentating, asked incredulously, 'What did I just see there?!' These Star characters were part of the awards ceremony also, in keeping with the godawful Star Parivar Awards... ridiculous and redundant. Star, please get rid of them!
- Star has also fallen prey to the age-old Doordarshan tactics of cutting to the action just as the ball is about to be delivered by the bowler. It has to cash in during the ad-break, you see. I tweeted about this, but to no avail:
- Consider this irritation: you are blissfully watching a game, you are trying to concentrate on the action and the commentary. Suddenly, the resident stadium-DJ bursts out with something that sounds like, 'aaayyeeeeEEEEEEEEE!!!!,' to which the audience responds by shouting. Then he continues to holler like a man on Ecstasy, raising the (already increased) decibels in the stadium. It gives you a splitting headache! I tweeted to Star Sports about this mid-match, and I would like to think that the DJ was muted out during that particular match:
- I still feel that there is a case for 5 overseas players in a team. This way, more international players of quality will get a chance instead of warming the benches. And, the Indian youngsters will have to compete harder to make it to the playing eleven, which can only be a good thing for the national team.
- I also feel that there should be an earlier start to the second games of the day; say 7 p.m. If the games start at 8, then the conclusion may be delayed by interruptions such as DRS reviews, checking the boundary/catch. Many games this year went on till midnight. I believe starting early was discussed before IPL began, but MI had objections to it, since the people of the city-that-never-sleeps can only watch the games late in the night. But I say, one city does not make up the country. We do have to get up the next day!
I want it to be the first to innovate, rather than catch up with what other leagues are doing. So, pink balls, more technology, early starts, more overseas players, less non-cricket entertainment, women's league are all welcome... hell, even mixed men-women IPL, why not?!
Image source: https://www.essentiallysports.com/ipl-scams-history-t20-cricket/