In 2008 BCCI came up with an idea of a T20 league based on the format of English football where players from different nations come together and play for the same side.
In 2008 BCCI came up with an idea of a T20 league based on the format of English football where players from different nations come together and play for the same side. Not too many people tipped this to be successful and their reasons were quite understandable. For years, cricket was seen as gentlemen’s game and suddenly, we had teams being sold and players being bid for. Amid criticism, the IPL finally started and in the inaugural match, Sourav Ganguly’s Kolkata Knight Riders took on Rahul Dravid’s Royal Challengers Bangalore.
With the ball in hand were two Indian fast bowlers, Praveen Kumar and Zaheer Khan while on strike was New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum. The crowd at M Chinnaswamy stadium had no idea what they were going to witness. McCullum smoked the bowlers all around the park. He was the synonym of destruction that day smashing 13 sixes and 10 fours and raced his way to 158 runs from 73 balls. For the first time, the crowd was cheering as two Indians were being thrashed by an overseas batsman. The importance of that innings reflects in the fact that second highest individual score of that match was 20 by Ricky Ponting.
The elder generation had seen the likes of Sir Vivian Richards and Gordon Greenidge, the younger generation had heard the legends of Sanath Jayasuriya and Shahid Afridi but neither of them had seen something as fascinating as Brendon McCullum’s knock on that day. The Sachin Tendulkar style straight drives were missing, he didn’t play any typical Brian Lara cut shots and there were no Azharuddin flicks either yet that innings was very special for different reasons. To hit the ball so hard for so long and with such precision was special. It was a unique innings by the former Kiwi captain.
Suddenly, India had the entire world’s attention. The cricket boards who opposed this idea wanted their players to be a part of it, the experts who criticised IPl were sitting in the panels and the players who thought of giving it a skip kept reducing in numbers. The Indian Premier League opened doors for many other tournaments of the same format. However, none of them could replicate the success.
The thrill and excitement of IPL is unparalleled and unmatched. Even the thought of watching Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli open the batting followed by Ab De Villiers is enough to make you sit right at the edge of your seat. As we enter the 10th season of IPL, a lot has changed in terms of strategies, players’ approach and team combinations but the impact this tournament has had on cricket is unbelievable.
IPL deserves some credit for more 400+ scores in ODIs and a far more aggressive approach in Test cricket. These days even 350 score is not considered safe in 50-over format and it has to do a lot the way batsmen bat in T20s. All of this and a lot more changed when Brendon McCullum took stance on 20th April 2008 and decided to go all out. That one knock certainly changed cricket forever.