Finally, the IPL lived up to its original motto.
Since its inception, the IPL has always claimed to be the snazziest platform for “talent to meet opportunity”. But leading into its seventh edition, the T20 tournament was clouded with allegations of rigged auctions, fixed matches, compromised players and flagrant owners bringing the game into disrepute. The IPL was desperate for a image-change and the BCCI wanted a clean-up. Things didn’t start well, with many fearing a no-show following the Supreme Court’s involvement. Then when the powers that be shifted the season’s first half to the UAE, many likened the decision to a chronic alcoholic seeking sobriety in a watering hole. But as always, the IPL didn’t take the predicted route. Season 7 proved to be a controversy-free season, where cricket reigned supreme, and players used napkins only to wipe dew off the ball.
The final was dominated by two unheralded Indian domestic talents who rose above a galaxy of international stars and made the most of their opportunity on the grandest T20 stage of them all. In addition to Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey, the likes of Akshar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Manan Vohra too became household heroes. In months to come, we’ll see whether they take to international cricket with the same vigour. In April and May, they gave IPL 7 a very Indian feel. The tournament statistics were dominated by Indians, from highest run-getter to wicket-taker.
Along the way, a number of those who had fallen into bad form managed to redeem themselves. With his breathtaking ton at Wankhede Stadium, Virender Sehwag showed that he was still the dandiest of bullies with bat in hand. Along with being the bedrock for KKR’s second title win, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa also resurrected their flagging international careers. Just like the IPL did its fractured reputation.