Season 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) commences in far off South Africa over the weekend, and for the next few weeks we shall all undoubtedly be treated to some unfiltered and undiluted big hits on TV. In the ultimate analysis, cricket remains a batsman’s game, and in the 20-20 format, even more so. A bowler who can emerge from the frenzied action over 180 minutes of an IPL match, with figures of 4 overs, no maidens (this statistic needs to be removed from here!), 28 runs and 1 wicket, can count himself lucky to have done so!
Players like Virender Sehwag, Sanath Jayasuriya and Yusuf Pathan, who could have made a living as fearsome warriors some centuries back, start belting the ball from the very first delivery, and do not stop till they hole out or are castled. Sheer mayhem could result in the meantime and the field would probably resemble a battlefield where a dreaded destroyer had scathed down everything in sight. When Sehwag hit the first three balls that he faced on the Kiwi tour for sixes, he was only raising the bar a notch higher. The time shall surely come when 36 runs shall be scored off the first over of a 20-20 game!
Players like VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid would be more likely to use fewer big shots and more invention to score rapidly. The fact that their strike rate would still only be about half that of the afore-mentioned destructive trio is more than likely. The 20-20 game is for the big hitters, make no mistake! Sixes shall always out-do fours and a lightning 39 may be of more value than a merely quick 56.
The other kinds of big-shots on display at the IPL would be the owners and the organizers! The glamour quotient of the IPL is surely what causes casual observers of the game to glue themselves to the TV along with the avid cricket fans.
Pure cricket-ainment is what we are in for, and I for one am glad that I shall be a TV spectator and not a bowler at IPL 2!