"IPL is now a well established product on TV."
- Kunal Das Gupta, head of Sony TV India, as reported by Business Standard, 20.4.08.
Yes Kunal, a well established product less than 48 hours after its launch. Just one of the many cases of hyperbolics and just plain bollocks accompanying the birth of the Indian Premier League.
Why does the IPL need cheerleaders? Why, oh why, does the IPL need to import cheerleaders from the Washington Redskins? Why, oh why, oh why, do the Kolkata Knight Riders need cheer leaders in garish bright gold wigs, and dancing with their backs to the field of play? Doing a private show for SRK and the gang??
Game One on Friday night was preceded by a bizarre, surreal, unnecessary opening ceremony straight out of the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics handbook. Almost as surreal was the autograph session as the eight team captains put their John Hancocks to a giant declaration of the Spirit of Cricket, on one of those planks of wood generally used as a replica of the winner's cheque at the end of the game.
I didn't watch much of the Bangalore v Kolkata game on Friday night. It was late, and I was finding Brendon McCullum's tonking just a bit tiresome. I was desparately longing for a well-placed square cut or on-drive racing along the outfield to the boundary rope. Not the cricketing equivalent of a home run derby, or perhaps a slam dunk contest.
I didn't know till the morning that McCullum had broken Cameron White's world record for the highest individual score in a major Twenty20 game. And didn't care too much. Still, his 158 sets a bar that all of the leading IPL sluggers will be trying to clear for the remainder of the series.
More interestingly, perversely perhaps, was the fact that Bangalore could only make 82 all out, losing the game by 140 runs. It's no mean feat to lose a twenty-over-a-side game by a margin of 140 runs. The IPL's first Game Of The Living Dead??
But didn't the Knight Riders look stunning in their bright gold helmets and gold stripes down the side of their shirts? All that was missing was David Hasselhoff...