The fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) began under a cloud. Will it die down or continue to flourish? That and questions of similar tone kept coming leading up to the opening game on April 4. But 53 matches later, the league continues to be a run-away success thanks to the number of humdingers it has thrown up this year.
Looking at it from an expert's eye, the IPL is much more than fun, frolic, music, cheerleaders and whacking the ball out of the park. It's entertainment all right, but nothing without the serious business of competition on a cricket field. Here are excerpts from the Cricketnext.com blogs written by eminent cricket personalities.
The 245th Indian to represent India in Test Cricket.
"At the inception of the IPL, the league needed the marquee players to participate, perform and carry the tournament on their shoulders. These players responded magnificently to the cause and captivated the audience with the sheer brilliance of their skill and the IPL became a runaway hit. But five years down the line, had the same players continued to play on their muscle memory and perform as well as the ones who are sweating it out in international cricket, the relevance of this format would have come under scrutiny."
Editor, Wisden India Almanack, and author, most recently, of 'Bishan: Portrait of a Cricketer'.
"In a year when the national team has performed badly in England and Australia, when the Indian team seems to have lost something in transition, the scandal-hit IPL will have to woo sponsors and the public with greater sensitivity. This, its fifth year, will be crucial, perhaps even game-changing ... IPL 5 assumes significance because the ICC World Twenty20 is scheduled for September in Sri Lanka. India won the title in 2007 and changed the face of cricket. The IPL was established the following year. The tournament has pushed the fringe performers, the obscure names onto centre stage. More significantly, it has given them financial security. "
Leading cricket writer, who rose to be the Resident Editor at the Deccan Chronicle.
"It is not the critics who count. Some of their views on the premier league may be very negative but the fact remains that the IPL is here to stay as a successful business model."