Mumbai Indians welcoming back Chennai Super Kings- who had emerged the champions twice, and admitted back into the cash rich T20 format cricket after serving a two year ban on match fixing charge. The bidding by the teams in contention (eight) for the best talents is a spectacular prelude to the IPL season every year.
Foreign and India, the teams vie to buy the best-pinch hitters, unplayable bowlers, combination of both in the form of all rounders and the best fielders.
Although a few other ICC member countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh have kicked off their own T20 domestic league versions and some foreign players figure in them too, IPL remains the most colourful because it is here that they have to give off their best as the pay packets or base prices are much more.
The IPL has come as a big career booster for Team India stars as well as the younger talents waiting for an opportunity to represent the country. For, the IPL has as its philosophy encouragement of up and coming talent.
But pause for a moment and rewind to the era of 70s and 80s when Indian cricket had some great talents both with bat and ball, capable of the temperament and technique required to turn a game around even in limited overs format including the 20 overs a side game.
For instance any team would love to have in its dug out (late) C K Naidu, Mushtaq Ali who believed that a ball is meant to be hit after it leaves a bowler’s hand-speed or spin. Fail and fooled you may be, but smack the ball past the rope or over the ground.
Vijay Merchant, Polly Umrigar and Farokh Engineer
A Vijay Merchant, Polly Umrigar would have adapted themselves to T20 IPL cricket too. So would have Budhi Kunderan-even more so, in fact. Here was a batsman who would tear a bowler apart with contempt and make runs with aplomb.
And then his successor as wicket keeper batsman in the Indian team in the 60s and mid 70s, another dashing Mumbai cricketer Farokh Engineer.
He would too take delight in despatching the ball to the ropes and even risk his stay at the wicket to send the white ball over the boundary.