A feast ahead for the Indian cricket fan. The long awaited DFL Indian Premier League is all set to get off to a rousing start in my hometown of Bengaluru.

Bangalore’s Royal Challengers takes on Kolkatta’s Knight Riders in the inaugural match on April 18. The match will be preceded by a lot of fanfare including the Washington Redskins providing the cheerleading.

The tournament sees 8 teams play 56 matches to be followed by two semi-finals and the grand finale at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on June 1. See the fixtures here.

The 8 teams are:

  • Bangalore Royal Challengers
  • Kolkatta Knight Riders
  • Mumbai Indians
  • Chennai Super Kings
  • Mohali’s Kings XI Punjab
  • Rajasthan Royals
  • Delhi Daredevils
  • Hyderabad Deccan Chargers

What makes it most exciting. The big money. 47 % of Australian cricketeres are reported to be willing to give up their international cricket careers for playing in the IPL. Many have said that for 6 weeks work they would earn more than they would in a year. The New Zealanders haven’t seen so much money ever paid to their cricketers. The English are peeved that they cannot participate in this and perhaps the next edition. The lure of big money is going to change the game for ever.

While T20 is largely seen as a batsman’s game, in financial terms the bowlers are probably better off. The wicket keeper has to keep wickets for all 20 overs. The batsmen have no restriction regarding the number of overs they can bat. The bowlers are restricted to bowling 4 overs per match. Even if a bowler bowls in all 16 matches, he would bowl a total of 64 overs. This translates to 384 balls, not counting no balls etc 🙂 If you are statistically inclined, reach for your calcy. and check how much 19 year old Ishant Sharma would get for every ball he bowls at his contracted price of $ 950000.

Money talks and how. Even those who said the schedules were too crammed are up and running to be fit. Those who were half way into retirement have jumped back into the game. Some have actually come out of retirement to play for fees absurdly low compared to their old cronies.

The next few weeks should be fun. The Indian spectator is the person who will decide how successful this new experiment is.

I, for one, believe it will be a great success. We’ll see some terrific games but I am not sure if the owners of the teams will make as much money as they expect. They have spent a bomb on the players. It is now for them to deliver.