After becoming an expert in the hook shot that ends in a six over the third-man boundary and scoring a few goals in hockey after all the hard work was done by the other 10 players, I confessed to myself that studying the two games from the ropes was a better option. Though I wish I had started that process earlier than 1996, around 15 years of watching, reading and sometimes still practising that 'hook shot' over has allowed me this space on Cricketnext and IBNLive to write and get read.
IPL needs some Pakistani flavour
Posted on: 11:49 AM IST May 06, 2012 IST
Nothing compares to the flair that Pakistan players bring to a cricket field. It's not much different to the swagger of a Vivian Richards, the touch play of a Mark Waugh, the style of a Tiger Pataudi or even the daredevilry of a Douglas Jardine. The aura surrounding such cricketers is incomparable, and for some enigmatic reason, every Pakistan team over the years has had players who come under that bracket.
And one can't stop thinking that the Indian Premier League is in urgent need of including Pakistan players, who can add the spice that keeps getting lighter with its every passing season.
One doesn't need to look too far to find the rationale that turns this line of thought from a conjecture to a fact. Look at what the arrival of Azhar Mahmood has done to the fortunes of Kings XI Punjab. A team that was struggling to put together a winning combination is now in reckoning for the playoffs - all because of a Pakistani spark that sprung the whole team into action. And it's not because Mahmood has scored heavily or sounded the death rattle for batsmen, but because he brought with him the never-say-die attitude, the killer instinct that we associate with Pakistani players.
The IPL - which seems to have reached a saturation point - needs some Pakistani flair on the field. And considering it's the Indian Premier League, sparks are expected to fly and thrill the spectators when Umar Gul bowls to Virender Sehwag or Shahid Afridi hits Harbhajan Singh out of the park. Those are the kind of sights the IPL is missing, leading to low TRPs and dwindling interest of the fans.
It needs to be understood that the IPL is 'Entertainment Cricket'. While giving the fringe players an opportunity to earn well and perform on the big stage, the league is also meant to increase cricket's following around the world. And when it comes to Twenty20 cricket, especially leagues like the IPL and BPL (Bangladesh Premier League), entertainment is as much important as cricket. That warrants the organisers to come up with new innovations every season to keep the brand intact. IPL is in serious need of such innovations, and bringing Pakistan players under its umbrella is one such innovative measure.
But the political situation between the two estranged neighbours is such that Pakistani cricketers aren't allowed to play in India, while Pakistan became a no-go zone for international teams after the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. In such a scenario, it's difficult to see Pakistan players in the IPL, which will leave the fans devoid of watching some of the most exciting and raw cricket talent in the world.