With the IPL coming to an end, men of the country have mixed feelings.
Indians will crib about the IPL no end, and yet will inevitably have their eyes glued to the screen when it’s on. I have seen guys on dates with pretty women, looking away from the screen to steal a glimpse of Ashok Dinda leaping like Sergei Bubka, only to deliver the ball at 115 kph.
At the end of the day, IPL is the only thing on TV for men. For the rest of the year, the television targets women (soap operas), kids (reality shows), and stoners (telemarketing).
But having watched the IPL for eight years now, I have arrived at the conclusion that IPL is essentially soap opera, for men. It’s a script that is enacted over and over, year in and year out.
So why do men watch it then? For pretty much the same reasons. It is targeted at you, there are ads that sell stuff you might want to buy, and your friends are watching too.
So in essence, every IPL follows the same script. It has the same stories, the same heroes, the same villains. And yet, we watch it every year.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata’s biggest fan base consists of two categories. Bengalis, and women. Women love SRK, there’s no doubt about that. Which results in your girl friends sharing KKR pictures on their wall with the caption ‘I <3 KKR. SRK Rawwxxx My Spellings Sukkkxxxx’.
Kolkata fans must be very generous, which probably explains how they are fine with Yusuf Pathan representing them year in and year out.
If there’s one good trait the KKR possesses, it is to stick with their players for long spells. Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Gambhir, have been with the team for long.
Result: KKR will muff and struggle for a while, but will inevitably make it to the Final Four.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
If social media interaction is to believed, life is one long party for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. They are doing their own thing throughout the tournament, inevitably the coolest dressing room in the tournament.
The team was formed when Vijay Mallya still had lots of money. Somewhere down the line, nobody informed the team about his woes with Kingfisher Airlines. Royal Challengers Bangalore continue to purchase playboys – Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Ashok Dinda.
Apart from fake dressing room videos, there is one aspect of RCB matches that I love – Virat Kohli abusing. Every match has slow-mo shots of Kohli abusing opponents, team mates, fans, umpires, flood lights…
Result: If they have a particularly good year, Bangalore will qualify for the Final Four. They got to the final only once, and that too because their captain was Anil Kumble, who can give any Maths teacher in India a run for his money.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab look like a team that is constantly stoned. Nobody knows why they are even competing in the tournament, since they are the most miserable team year after year.
Even Preity Zinta stopped coming to the matches in the last few years, causing lots of fans to take their hands out of their pants and finish pending office work.
Punjab loses every single match, in every single tournament, every single year. I wonder if the owners of Punjab have made any money till now. You could probably earn more money by betting on The Great Khali in a repeat telecast of a WWE match.
Result: Punjab will never, ever qualify for the Final Eight. It’s like a Law of Nature.
Easily the strongest performing side in the tournament, Chennai has their task cut out for them. It helps that the owner of your team is the Chairman of the International Cricket Council.
Dhoni has won so many matches in the league, that winning an IPL match for him is like waking up, switching on the light, and going to the bathroom. He shows no emotion whatsoever, and consistently butchers bowlers from around the world with the self-effacing attitude of E. Sreedharan.
Another interesting factor is that the Chennai team is the best platform to join the Indian team. Look at the number of players from Chennai to have made it to the Indian team. Ashwin, Raina, Jadeja, Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey.
I won’t be surprised if Dwayne Bravo starts playing for the Indian team in a few months.
Result: Chennai will definitely make it to the Final Four of every year’s tournament. The only problem will be dealing with Chennai fans on Facebook, who will say stuff like ‘I Bleed Yellow’ (which could be easily mistaken for a bad case of diarrhoea).
The Delhi team members are the brothers of the Punjab team. If the Punjab team is completely stoned, the Delhi Daredevils sit and roll joints for them.
The Punjab team has at least qualified for one finals in eight years. The Delhi team hasn’t done even that. It’s like they’re waiting for a recommendation from Lutyens Colony to get through to the semis.
To add to their misery, the owners of the team do very logical stuff. Like purchasing an over-the-hill Yuvraj Singh for 16 crores. That is more than 1 crore 14 lakhs per match. And since Yuvraj scored an average of 19 runs a match, they’ve paid 6 lakhs per run that he scored. A deal you can only get in Delhi.
Delhi players are constantly trying to prove wrong people’s opinions that Delhi is a rude, unsafe city. As a result, they will let you hammer them for 250 runs, and then let your players take a hat trick against them, while dismissing them for 80. Very friendly guys.
Mumbai got one thing sorted out pretty early in the tournament. They purchased Sachin Tendulkar. Now, Sachin Tendulkar and Mukesh Ambani in one room, that’s two of the most powerful men in India together.
Since they had Tendulkar in their team, they automatically got the support of 3/4th of the country without an effort. I have seen Chennai fans dressed in yellow T-shirts, their faces painted yellow, holding yellow flags. But Sachin comes on to the ground, and they magically start chanting ‘Sachin, Sachin’.
Mumbai Indians are the Westeros of IPL. They have so much money that they simply buy the best players from other teams for themselves. One assumes there’s an underpaid intern for Reliance Fresh whose work it is to scout for players every day.
If nothing else works, Mumbai Indians depend on Harbhajan Singh to keep his team in the limelight. The guy will slap Sreesanth, lift up Nita Ambani – does whatever is needed.
Result: Since they have all the money, Mumbai will inevitably make it to the Final Four.
Rajasthan Royals have a killer strategy in place. They always have likeable players in their team. Whether it is Shane Warne or Rahul Dravid, this strategy works wonders for them every year. And as every kid who grew up in the 90s will tell you, we all have a soft hard corner for Shilpa Shetty.
Rajasthan Royals are also the only team that recruits local players and grooms them for the big league. They gave the nation Ravinder Jadeja, before Srini Mama lapped him up and transformed him into the Indian Justin Bieber, whose performances on Twitter are more impressive than his on-field ones.
Result: Rajasthan will qualify for the Final Four almost every single year.
Like the erstwhile Nizams, Hyderabad are chilling all through the tournament. Their teams are always stocked with bowlers, like the batting can be outsourced to underpaid Wipro and TCS employees.
Hyderabad Sunrisers have a knack for buying international superstars and transforming them into mediocre players. Hyderabad is also the only team that trusts Ishant Sharma, spending crores every year to keep him in the team. That’s just because it’s the Hyderabad team. If it were an Andhra Pradesh team, Chandrababu Naidu would have taken him to Tirupati, chopped off his hair, and sold wigs to Diasporic Telugus in the US.
Hyderabad Sunrisers only look good on paper. Rolling paper.
Result: Hyderabad will inevitably be kicked out of the tournament before you can say ‘Baal’.
So that is essentially the story of IPL, year after year. It is a tournament where there are eight teams, but only four of them are actively competing. You could share this article next year, and all of the above could still be true. That is the Indian Premier League.