So, the IPL has finally started. And with a bang, Brendon McCullum making the highest score ever in a major Twenty20 game.
It wasn't a huge surprise; as McCullum showed recently in New Zealand, he can do things like that. No, what was more significant was the fact that McCullum's knock, and the massive total it led to, emphasized one of the central weaknesses of T20 cricket - when the side batting first makes a really big score, the side batting second rarely gets anywhere near it and usually collapses in a heap as their batsmen try to score at a rate they simply can't cope with. And if you wanted to be mischievous you could suggest that if your opening pair is Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer (one great player and one rare timer but two players with somewhat uneven records in limited-over cricket) you're probably going to find it even harder.
Still, I'm sure everybody enjoyed it. And a quick glance at the sides illustrates one of the less obvious but more valuable aspects of the league: the fact that the composition of the teams gives young players like Kohli and Saha the opportunity to mix and learn from the likes of Dravid, Kallis, Ganguly and Ponting.
Readers of some of my past posts will know that I have no problem at all with T20 as long as it its hand isn't overplayed. In fact, in an Engliah county context and watched on TV, I love it. I didn't see any of last night's game as I don't have access to the channel which is showing it it here in the UK, but my initial feeling about the IPL is that it won't mean armageddon for the game, it has value and it's here to stay (for a while at least).
Nobody can be entirely sure where it'll lead, so, for the time being, let's just enjoy it for what it is.
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