The revolution is upon us. Either crawl under a rock until Lord's (take the calendar - it's May 15) or reject hibernation and drag your sorry cricket-watching hide to the couch for a taste of the WWF of cricket, The Indian Premier League.
Check the IPL website (http://IPLT20.com/) - or maybe not. Missing out on a chance to promote things ruthlessly in the breathless lead-in to the first matches, it's not due to go live until the time the first game commences. Hopeless, considering the company delivering it has heaved in a lazy US$50m for the rights to this IPL portal, and the non-existent BCCI one to boot. Blame Canada-based Live Current Media Inc for this - a Vancouver company which has the most sought after website address in cricket on its books: www.cricket.com. Maybe it is maple syrup harvesting season. And why Canada anyway? The most famous event in the history of Canadian cricket is when Inzy punched a spectator who was calling him "a fat potato" via megaphone at an India vs Pakistan exhibition match a decade ago.
Make sure you print out the Sky TV schedule. It is here. The times are completely and utterly all over the show so you need to stay focused on the paperwork, as there is no hope of remembering which games are on and when. Your first date is breakfast on Saturday morning, Sky Sport 3. From 7am you will be watching a replay of Brendon McCullum keeping to a KFC-starved Ross Taylor as the bird-like Ishant Sharma glides in.
Get a bet on - it is a crass, over-hyped tournament focused on money so you should get on the bandwagon by flinging some dosh around as well. Twenty20 is a complete and utter lottery - witness Indian winning the T20 World Cup with their B team, and England destroying us via Master Mascarenhas. So I'd be heading toward slapping $20 on the least favoured teams - they really do have just as much chance in this inaugural competition where nobody knows what they are doing. Get on Shane Warne's coachless Jaipur team (aka the Rajasthan Royals) or the Martin Crowe-tillered Bangalore Royal Challengers. The odds from Centrebet are as follows:
The umpires are going to look terrific in their Vijay Mallya-designed red and black tracksuit tops and hats that are "a mix of straw golf and cowboy type Stetsons". Oh God - I hope that is fashion PR gone mad as that sounds a little bit like Brokeback Mountain meets Crusaders to me. Why can't I quit you?
Pick a team to try and care about. This is extremely tough - if you need a crutch to lean on as you do this, I suggest casting an eye over the IPL preview at Sportsfreak. The Delhi Daredevils will do me, lured by the headscarf and tonkability of Virender Sehwag, the sledging of Gautam Gambhir and the presence of Dan Vettori. I will hate the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals because of their stupid names and lack of New Zealanders.
Expect there to be some elements in and around of the IPL that you just can't get your head around. Example: The Knight Riders and Nokia unveiled a competition called 'Milan of the villains'. Team owener and Bollywood hunk Shah Rukh Khan said, "My Knight Riders are a seemingly disjointed bunch of brilliant players, who really intimidate all opponents whenever they are on field and there is lot of intrigue as to how this bunch will perform together. Through this contest, I am asking for people's suggestions to help my players perform well together."
Look out for the man with the best job in the world. Donald Wells is the Washington Redskins’ "entertainment and cheerleading director" and he has brought his troupe to the IT capital of India, Bangalore to crank up the testosterone with a bit of "Bollywood hip-hop" during the Royal Challengers' opening match. He said: “This fusion of dance backgrounds has created a new amazing style. I am really looking forward to the reaction of India towards the Redskins cheerleaders. What we are doing is cutting edge and it’s great to see that we are going to start this squad off on the right foot.” Check out this poor bloke's "work environment" here: http://www.redskins.com/cheerleaders/
Quote of the week: The fake follicled bloke with Marty on the back of his shirt talks about Cricket Max in The Times. Max was never fully embraced by and consequently never exploited to its potential here in New Zealand, cursed by a small economy and a relatively obscure and impoverished cricketing environment. “We did have the bigger picture in mind and I'm still a little miffed that we didn't quite crack it. I always believed that a cricket match lasting two-and-a-half hours would work, but I could never have imagined it coming to the franchises, auctions and branding we have here now."
And finally why can't Split Enz lob out a theme tune? I'm happy to start them off...When my batter's walking down the street I P L , I P L, I P L; How could someone's wicket walk around free I P L , I P L, I P L...
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