A pleasant start

The choice of the UAE as a venue for the IPL, because of elections in India, was greeted with a fair bit of scepticism. But it has to be said that the cricket administrators have made a perfect choice.

The first fortnight of the seventh edition of the IPL has provided some outstanding entertainment, reaffirming, the fact, that brand IPL can prevail over every odd. The apprehensions that existed a few days prior to the start of the tournament, dissipated the moment the first ball was bowled. The IPL has survived primarily because of the high quality cricket that it produces. Hence, the support base, across the globe, has remained intact. Of course, the cynics do have a different point of view, but we can ignore them for the time being.

The choice of the UAE as a venue, because of elections in India, was greeted with a fair bit of scepticism. But it has to be said that the cricket administrators have made a perfect choice. The venues have been excellent and as a result the players have thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The local cricketers have been fantastic in helping out the teams in the nets, despite the sweltering heat, especially in the afternoons. They play amateur cricket in the Emirates but their enthusiasm is no less than the ones playing in the mainstream.

The other remarkable aspect has been the local travel. The short distances between the three emirates, easily covered in a short span of time by road, has helped the teams. Travelling can be hectic and once the tournament returns to India things won’t be as easy paced as it has been in the UAE.

The fans in the desert state have shown tremendous enthusiasm, with the majority of them showing a deep understanding of the game, and thus vociferously extending support to all the teams. Obviously, their sole objective is to see exciting cricket from their favourite stars. All in all, the first fortnight has been a fantastic experience and has set a trend for the fans in India to carry forward.

In terms of cricket, there has been an equal spread of talent amongst the teams and it will be foolish to earmark early favourites. The results have not always gone according to expectations and if this trend continues, the league phase will be interesting right till the end. It is still early days and there is bound to be a lot of ups and downs.

It will be interesting to see how the teams fair once they return to familiar Indian surroundings. I say this, as teams will have the privilege to play on tailor-made pitches at their home grounds. In the past editions, some teams did exceedingly well at home but faltered in the away games. Apart from Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab, the rest are clustered together, in terms of points, and thus the coming days promise entertaining cricket.

Some individuals have failed to play to their potential so far, and will be eager to make a mark in the contest. Conversely, some have started on a high and it remains to be seen if they can carry the form right till the end. In this format, a lot can change quickly.