Ladies and Gentlemen, Get your seat belts locked in, the second edition of the cash-rich Indian Premiere league kicks off in Cape town from Friday, with four matches scheduled over the weekend. As i said before here, it was heart-beaking to see the tournament shifted to South Africa, but i am elated that atleast it is happening this year. Just seeing the Gala Parade on TV this evening by all the eight participating teams, i am damn sure it is going to be as exciting and fun filled as it was last time around. I have some fantastic memories to cherish from last year Matches in Delhi. The crowd, the atmosphere inside and outside the ground, Akshay Kumar's stunts at the Kotla, the merchandise items of Delhi Team, and offcourse, a fantastic company of friends and cousins to boast of. Alas,i am going to miss all that this year !!
PVR multiplexes (may be a few others too!) are planning to show the IPL matches in the cinema halls from this weekend. Reason is simple, Due to the ongoing tussle between the Producers association of Indian film Industry (and not, Bollywood :D), they are not going to be any movies released during April, so it is better for them to show the IPL matches. I Hope, the entry tickets are not exorbitantly priced, so that its possible for any common man to go and watch the matches. Anyone from Delhi, interested in doing the same, let me know, we can plan out something for the Delhi Daredevil matches !
As per last analysis done after the IPL auction, a lot of changes have occured in the squads of each of the team. But as per my say, i still fancy these four teams in the semi-finals - Delhi Daredevils, Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. But, my gut feeling says that with five South african players in their ranks, Bangalore royal Challengers can be a dark horse in this tournament. And as the advertisement on the Max says - Have You chosen your side this IPL season?. If not, take the pick now, and let me know !!
Just for the Cricket purists, the 2011 World Cup qualifiers will also culminate over the weekend with Last round of matches scheduled for tomorrow at different venues of South Africa. Read here, One match left for each team and all to play for. My only genuine interest in keeping touch with these matches is the final result of the Afghanistan Team. For a war-torn country, who actually started playing official cricket only 6 years back, getting the official ODI status for the next 4 years will be a big boost. Getting into the 2011 World Cup to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and possibly Pakistan, is an additional bonus. Most members of the team were introduced to the cricket, when they heard the celebratory fire shots in the refugee camps when Pakistan won the world cup in 1992.The team has overcome war and poverty to get where they are today. Most in the team have lost family members to war. They have learnt the game by practicing (with a tennis ball) in the dusty refugee camps borne out of US invasion after 9/11. And as one of their players said during the interview to a TV news channel, with tears in his eyes - "I have seen people die and I have not shed a tear. But there is something about cricket that gets me here. And then pointing towards his heart, he said, Cricket is our chance.Probably, our only chance to show the world what Afghanistan can do." Sigh !...Its a tremendous triumph of human spirit. Its a win for the underdog, however small or big it is going to be in the end. Its a triumph of the message of Peace and harmony, we so desperatly want to implement in today's world. I wish them all the best for the weekend matches.
PS: Last week, i finished reading The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet Union, from the mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan to the rise of Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Very touching, extremely sophisticated and sensitive portryal of the characters. A must Read for everyone.And now, I am Planning to watch the movie now with the same name !!