After the thumping success of the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League last year, many people in India have just one thought on their minds right now: Is there any way to up the 1000 bucks per couple we charged last year for unlimited warm beer, vulcanized chicken tikka, and service with a smile when customers leave? Because when I say people, I mean the guys who run that bar at Phoenix Mills in Worli, Mumbai. The rest of us, however, are already beginning to dust off our team jerseys from last year, ready to once again support our favourite franchises. Unless of course we have just moved from Mumbai to Delhi and recently found the missus, an ardent Daredevil fan, browsing this on the web:
Now we are sooo into the Daredevils, it is not funny I tell you.
But what can one expect from the next season of the IPL? Will the Rajasthan Royals once again surprise everyone by emerging as underdogs and winning the tournament? (No. Because technically now that they have won it once already it shouldn't be that surprising if they do it again no?) Or will the Chennai Super Kings finally listen to the pining of their ardent fans, rise to the challenge and get a team kit in a colour other than "Supernova Lemon Rice"? Or will the Deccan Chargers impose their cricketing superiority on... Ok wait, we can't even type that with a straight face.
So we here at Domain Maximus spent the last many days and nights analysing every element of the second IPL from administration to team structures to even the current state of global cricket. We are pleased to say that we have drawn up a stunning, audacious list of detailed predictions for what is going to transpire over the course of IPL 2009. While every effort has been made to make up virtually every single point in the predictions, readers are encouraged to take these forecasts with utmost seriousness.
Remarkably detailed and individually dated predictions for IPL 2009:
April 3rd 2009: During a press conference to unveil the second edition of the IPL, Chairman Lalit Modi is suddenly attacked by a masked assailant who, screaming the words "Saale illegal monopoly businessman! Mere joote da jawab nahin!", hurls shoes at the cricket administrator before tearing out of the conference room and disappearing into the the crowds outside. Questions are raised about Modi's popularity amongst the media and cricketing fraternity as the assailant was able to throw over 11 pairs of shoes at Modi before members of Rajasthan Cricket Association pounced upon the guards who had come to pounce upon the assailant. Kapil Dev expresses surprise and concern at the development when media ambush him at a Bata showroom a few hours later. Thankfully Modi is able to duck almost all of the shoes except the last four.
April 10th 2009: Cricket fans all over India wake up in shock to see the Bangalore Royal Challengers on top of the Indian Premier League 2009 league tables. And then everyone laughs sheepishly when they realize that the tournament hasn't started and the team names have been displayed in alphabetical order.
The inaugural match of the tournament is between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Chennai Super Kings. For a long time it looks like the Knight Riders have a solid chance of winning before the Super Kings finally arrive from the airport after a delayed flight and beat them by 73 runs.
April 12th 2009: On the same day as a Rajasthan Royals vs. Mumbai Indians match, rebel cricket league honcho Kapil Dev shrewdly convenes a press conference to divert attention. At the conference he outlines ICL's strategy to overtake and crush the IPL to the assembled press, namely, one Mr. Parthasarathi Kalasalingam from Anna Nagar Weekly. After Dev's address Mr. Kalasilangam asks the following question: "Mr Kapil Dev, can you kindly direct me to the room where the vegetarian buffet is being served?"
Dev breaks down.
April 16th 2009: TV viewers have a treat today as Aussie great and senior Chennai Super Kings player Matthew Hayden joins the commentary and analysis crew looking bootilicious in a tight sports t-shirt and low waisted denim jeans. Hilarity ensues when the star-struck Bollywood starlet, hired to add sex appeal to the crew, goofs her lines all night and keeps saying "sirf Sex Matt par! Deewana bana de." with longing glances at Hayden.
April 17th 2009: After the first week of fixtures the league is intriguingly placed with the Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, and Delhi Daredevils all sharing first place. Bringing up the rear is the Deccan Chargers who are yet to find their groove in the tournament. So far the tournament has surprised everyone with its success. Stadiums are full of people and the cricket has been of a consistently high quality.
To celebrate, BCCI president Sharad Pawar organizes a celebratory parade for Lalit Modi on top of an open-top BEST bus from Wankhede Stadium to Bandra in Mumbai. The turnout is abysmal and Modi reaches Bandra in thirty-five minutes flat. None of the players come along to join in except Andrew Flintoff and Yuvraj Singh. However both players turn back in minutes when organizers clarify that they did not mean "topless bus parade" in that sense.
April 23rd 2009: With sponsorship money dwindling Vijay Mallya decides to step up promotional and brand building activities for the Royal Challengers. In an internationally televised exhibition match the Kingfisher Calendar girls take on the Royal Challengers in a Twenty20 match which the models win by 32 runs. Monikangana Dutta takes 5 for 17 in a spell Laxman Sivaramakrishnan describes thus: "Oh... yeah... oh yeah... baby... throw that ball.. throw that ball to daddy..."
April 24th 2009: Vijay Mallya replaces the entire Royal Challengers with models from the Kingfisher Calendar. The cricketers are spun off into a B-team called Royal Challengers Red which will play without uniform, cricketing gear or any catering. However tickets to their matches costs only Rs20 each (taxes and fuel surchages extra. Conditions apply).
May 1st 2009: In a controversial but innovative move Lalit Modi announces that all Third Umpire decisions will henceforth be decided by the public via real-time SMS polls. The system is first tried out during a Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils match. JP Duminy tries to take a quick single when a direct throw from Gautam Gambhir rattles the stumps. The umpires immediately signal for an SMS poll by using a brand new gesture: they hold up a mobile phone. After three minutes of hectic SMS polling, with millions of votes coming in from West Bengal and the North-eastern states, Debojit Saha is once again chosen as Indian Idol.
May 3rd 2009: Something happened to the Kings XI Punjab today. But it did not involve Preity Zinta. So nobody cares.
May 5th 2009: Shahrukh Khan announces to the media that due to an uproar from knight riders all over the world, the name of his team was being shortened to just Kolkata. This however has no impact on the performance of the team which loses its fourth straight match and slumps to the bottom of the table just above the Deccan Chargers and the Kings XI Punjab.
May 6th 2009: Just when everyone thought they had seen all the crisis they could handle in IPL 2009, a new one erupts at the Wankhede Stadium. As the Mumbai Indians walk back to the pavilion after beating the Kings XI Punjab, Harbhajan Singh is caught on camera whispering something to Sreesanth's ear and shaking his fist in the sensitive Malayali's face. Sreesanth is soon in tears. Lalit Modi orders an immediate enquiry.
May 12th 2009: A crisis is averted. In the course of the enquiry Harbhajan's case is explained by Sachin Tendulkar who was standing right next to the pair as the incident happened. Sreesanth is represented by the CPI(M) Politburo. Tendulkar goes on to explain how the whole thing was a misunderstanding. He clarifies that Harbhajan was not abusing Sreesanth. Instead Sreeseanth misheard a word while Harbhajan Singh was, in fact, singing the old Punjabi classic: "Tutak Tutak Tutak Tootiya."
The impartial arbitrator, Vinod Kambli, accepts Tendulkar's explanation and dismisses the case. The CPI(M) immediately calls for a nationwide strike in West Bengal and Kerala.
May 16th 2009: Driven to desperation Vijay Mallya sells the entire Royal Challengers operation via online bidding to Bollywood heart-throb Shakti Kapoor. Kapoor, in classic private equity style, dismantles the company into parts and sells everything except the cheerleaders part of the business.
May 19th 2009: The season is building into a tremendous climax. The Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers have made it to the final four. Oh wait. Scratch that. I can hear my wife coming down the hall. When I said Deccan Chargers I mean Delhi Daredevils. These four teams have qualified for the finals.
And it looks like the Delhi Daredevils will win IPL 2009. I cannot reiterate this point enough.
May 23rd 2009: After the semi-finals, champions Rajasthan Royals and challengers Delhi Daredevils stand firm. Both teams have lasted through a gruelling season of Twenty20 matches and fans are all set all over the country for the thrilling finale scheduled to take place in a few days time...
May 25th 2009: ... when disaster strikes. This morning a personal fax is received by media outlets all over the country from the desk of Lalit Modi. In this fax he says that for the last seven years there have been irregularities with the finances of the Indian Premier League and the league was no longer in a position to continue. The tournament would have to stop with immediate effect. He apologized to all the players and the viewers and said that things had gotten worse and worse and it was like "a lot of money just kept coming into my account and I just never knew when to stop and get off."
When the news breaks, the Sensex immediately crashes 23%. However it bounces back sharply later in the day ending on a slight positive on the back of fresh FDI inflows, strong currency markets and good volumes in open interest.
May 26th 2009: Madhur Bhandarkar announces his newest film project at a press meet in Mumbai. The movie will be called "Cricket". One of the assembled press, Mr. Kalasalingam from Anna Nagar Weekly asks him: "What will be the theme of your movie this time Mr. Bhandarkar?"
Disclaimer: Everything in this blogpost is meant to be satirical. So don't send me hate mail. I love IPL. Also Test cricket.