If your appetite for T20 cricket is not over yet, don’t get disheartened as the Pepsi Indian Premier League-7 will surely take care of it.
The most watched and successful T20 cricket league in the world will start on 16th April. Since the initial part of the IPL conflicts with India’s general election, the first 20 matches will be held in the UAE which will host the IPL for the first time.
Those matches will be played in three stadiums - Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sheikh Zayed Stadium and Dubai International Cricket Stadium. It will be interesting to see how people in the UAE respond to this huge event that will ultimately play an important part towards the success of season seven.
In a way it will be a litmus test for the IPL and the organisers will be hoping that the image of the tournament is not being dented due to ongoing fixing controversies or betting scandals.
The second leg of the IPL will be played in India from 2nd May until 1st June and will be hosted by Ranchi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Bangalore, Cuttack, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai and Mohali. The final match will be hosted by Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on 1st June.
IPL is T20’s biggest carnival where you may witness AB de Villiers trying to smack his fellow South African team-mate Dale Steyn out of the park, Sunil Narine trying to fox his countryman Chris Gayle or Shane Watson giving tips to his Rajasthan Royals team-mateTim Southee on how to knock over David Warner.
The list goes on and so does the excitement. This is a platform where most of your cricketing fantasies come true and you may also have the opportunity to watch players like Kevin Pietersen and Virender Sehwag dominating the bowlers once again.
Who would have thought that fans could actually watch Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar opening for the same team, isn’t it some sort of a dream? Thanks to the IPL for making this a reality.
Not only players but the best of the coaches will be on display, be it Delhi Daredevils' new coach Gary Kirsten or the calm and composed John Wright or the strategist Tom Moody.
If you are lucky enough then you might get the opportunity to watch Jonty Rhodes going through the fielding session with Mumbai Indians and taking some blinders himself.
If I can put it in one sentence, IPL provides you with what International T20 matches do not.
Other than established International players, IPL also provides an opportunity for talented but rather unknown domestic/international players coming from different countries to showcase their talents.
Remember how Delhi Daredevils spotted Warner at an emerging players tournament and roped him in even before he made his debut for Australia? Many players look at the IPL as a kind of finishing school to hone their skills before stepping into the more demanding international circuit.
Good performances in the IPL never go unnoticed and players who are out of favour can really boost their chances of making a comeback with good performances.
Let’s hope that this season of IPL is free from unwanted controversies, allegations or fixing scandals and let it be full of nail-biting encounters, fearsome bowling and breathtaking hitting.
We also hope that the likes of Harbhajan Singh or the boys from the Caribbean come up with some new dance moves to entertain us along with awesome on-field performances.
The stage is perfectly set for this year’s IPL, so hold on to your seats and get ready to be entertained!
© Cricket World 2014