Tough times, but then there is the IPL 2020

Updated: 01 October, 2020 07:24 IST | Shishir Hattangadi | Mumbai

The IPL has converted delusions into reality. With each game, the fan base is evidently rising in numbers

Kings XI Punjab's Ravi Bishnoi celebrates the wicket of Royal Challengers Bangalore's Umesh Yadav at Abu Dhabi last week. The leg-spinner has claimed four wickets in three IPL games. PIC: BCCI/IPL
Kings XI Punjab's Ravi Bishnoi celebrates the wicket of Royal Challengers Bangalore's Umesh Yadav at Abu Dhabi last week. The leg-spinner has claimed four wickets in three IPL games. PIC: BCCI/IPL

ShirishThe past few months have been transformational for most. The pandemic, the restrictions, the prevention/care and the safety guidelines have called for a restructuring of life's priorities and a change in outlook to see the world.

In the midst of media trials, high-decibel debates in newsrooms, lockdowns, GDP and unemployment numbers comes the IPL dressed like a knight in shining armour.

The focus has quickly shifted to the audacity of a young Prithvi Shaw and Dev Padikkal, the new avatar of Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul's undoubted quality of cultured batsmanship, Sanju Samson's polite reminder that he has quality or even the turnaround of the Rahul Tewatia story and the valiant effort of a baby-faced Ishan Kishan. Indian cricket seems to be bursting with talent; not to forget Shubman Gill, who has proved that he can swim with the big fish.

I last heard of the Bishnoi community as a sect from the desert of Rajasthan and of course, their vigilance over poaching.

But for me, Ravi Bishnoi has a special place in the art of restrictive leg-spin bowling. Elevated from the under-19 assemblage, Bishnoi has fitted in comfortably, through the quality of his craft and temperament, in elite company.

Navdeep Saini, the Delhi boy, has been a standout fast medium bowler from the pack of Indian pacemen (Mohd Shami not included since he is now bowling in a league of his own). Saini, 27, has shown skill, speed, and admirable temperament. He is growing in stature and winning the confidence of men who shape the future of the game.

The IPL has converted delusions into reality. With each game, the fan base is evidently rising in numbers. Something that is essentially a television sport this year is now a challenge for special effects technicians who have to create the environment of excitement in each living room. The challenges are different for each strategic business unit to recreate the IPL aura.

Thankfully, the exciting young Indian talent and keenly-contested games are making life easier for producers and broadcasters who need to be on top of cosmetic creations that make the IPL what it ought to be—entertainment. And at the end of the day, content is king
and the consumer decides who rules.

Shishir Hattangadi is a former Mumbai Ranji Trophy captain, now CEO of Baroda Cricket Association

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First Published: 01 October, 2020 07:17 IST

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