Cow Corner

IPL Fever

Cow Corner

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The most exciting thing to happen in cricket since the retirement of Chris Tavare is upon us - yes, the all-singing, all-dancing Indian Premier League gets underway this afternoon.

When the idea was first floated, surely no-one could have predicted the staggering interest that the player auction generated in Mumbai.

And in the two months since, the IPL has been getting as many search engine hits as Jenna Jameson.

So first the basics:

Eight city-based franchises, owned by a host of businessmen and celebrity consortiums
59 Twenty20 fixtures between today and June 1 culminating in semi-finals and a final after the teams play each other on a home-and-away basis
Every franchise had $5 million to spend - there is a restriction of eight overseas players and you can play only four at a time. You also have to have four Indian under-21 players, two under-19s and four local players from your catchment area.

And here's the things you really need to know:

1) THE TEAMS NAMES ARE GREAT

The Chennai Super Kings aka Lambert and Butler from Madras
Deccan Chargers named after a mobile phone accessory shop in Dublin
Kolkata Knight Riders - honorary president, the Hof
Delhi Daredevils - Glenn McGrath (pictured in unofficial team strip) who will presumably only be able to enter the Feroz Shah Kotla after leaping 17 double decker buses on a Harley

2) DECCAN CHARGERS ARE THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS

How's this for a top five - Herschelle Gibbs, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Shahid Afridi. VVS Laxman! No news yet on whether the PA man at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium will play Sweet Georgia Brown when they walk out on the pitch but if you are in the front 15 rows in Hyderabad, we would suggest a flak jacket.

3) IT WON'T BE LIKE A COLD MAY MORNING AT CHELMSFORD

The toss today at the Chinnaswamy Stadium will be under spotlights (the floodlights will be off) only after an opening ceremony featuring fireworks, stilt walkers, aerial gymnasts and performers in a bubble suspended over the ground and 12 cheerleaders from the Washington Redksins will be entertaining the crowd. Expect excitement, glamour, film stars and women of beauty - not pensioners discussing hip replacements whilst drinking mugs of Bovril.

4) KERRY PACKER ON ACID

Lalit Modi, commissioner and co-founder of the IPL, secured close to US$ 1.75 billion solely from the sale of TV rights, promotion and franchises. He may also have lured in 66 overseas stars (plus Bangladesh's Abdur Razzak) but he's now going all Idi Amin on us. All the big news agencies will not cover the event because the IPL is barring agencies from supplying photographs to cricket websites (sorry folks, anyone know a cartoonist in Chennai?)

5) THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

It's on Setanta and unless you fork out about £15 a month to watch a diet of poor Premier League games, Inner City Sumo and Foxy Boxing you won't see it. They do have the Calzaghe fight though. He's fighting a bloke who was born shortly after the war (that's Civil, not Second).

6) ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

The Chennai Super Kings feature a guy in their side named Napoleon Einstein!! An 18-year-old right-handed opening batsman who was part of India's winning side in the under-19 World Cup. He's a relatively good player (do you see what we've done there).

7) IT'S NOT VERY ENGLISH

England will have only one representative and he grew up in Australia. Dimitri Mascarenhas will not actually take part until the end of the month when he joins up with Jaipur-based Rajasthan Royals. Last week Surrey turned down an approach for the "Bushey Bradman" Mark Ramprakash from the Rajasthan Royals.

8) IN 4 MONTHS YOU WON'T REMEMBER WHO WON OR WHO PLAYED FOR WHO!!


3.30PM UPDATE!!

The Knight Riders are batting but more importantly are batting in crazy gold pads which make Sourav Ganguly and Brendon McCullum look like extras from the Wizard of Oz. The first ball in IPL cricket from the Bangalore Royal Challengers' Praveen Kumar is a very old fashioned leg bye - follow the match with our Live Scorecard

4.15PM UPDATE!!

McCullum confirms his status as the best pub player in the world by blasting 58 off the opening ten overs including four sixes - Hof's mob are 87-1 at the halfway point. Ravi Shastri has confirmed it was "the best opening ceremony he'd ever seen". He's obviously never been to the Highland Games.

5PM UPDATE!!

We're not sure if you can justify earning £350,000 for 16 days work but McCullum has done about the best you can by blasting 13 sixes in a 73-ball 158 - the highest score ever in Twenty20 cricket. The Redskins cheerleaders haven't a clue what's going on but they just can't stop shaking their booty. The Challengers need a whopping 224 to win.

6.25PM UPDATE!!

In the end there was a hair's width between the teams. A Darrell Hair's width as the Challengers are skittled for 82. Cowers is off to the pub as it has a hot date with Moustapha pint - back on Monday.

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THE INAUGURAL RIDICULOUS MENTIONED IN DISPATCHES FOR AN ENGLAND RECALL AWARD GOES TO: Usman Afzaal nominated by the Daily Mail's cricket correspondent Paul Newman for a comeback after a ton on his Surrey debut.

THE INAUGURAL THAT'S A CRANKY PLACE TO GO ON TOUR AWARD GOES TO: India A who will play against an Invitational XI featuring players from a number of countries, including Adam Bacher, yes Adam Bacher, in Israel.

TALKING POINT: What do you think of the IPL? Is it good for cricket, is it a threat to the Test game or is it just a bit of slap and tickle. Give us your feedback and who is your adopted side?

COMING UP: Seven Championship games are up and running - VISIT THE LIVE SCORES HERE and if you come back after 3pm, we will post a couple of updates on the IPL owner.

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