Stars or not, IPL won’t be short on excitement

For the next eight weeks, the Indian Premier League will again dominate the lives of cricket fans not only across India, but in different parts of the world as well. There is something heady about the Twenty20 game that elevates the sport as a spectacle. Understandably, it is the fours and the
sixes that will appeal to the spectators, but over the years we have seen bowling tactics evolve considerably and fielding standards improve substantially, making for compelling viewing.

There is a glittering array of talent from across the globe waiting to explode sensationally. Of course, Kevin Pietersen was always a huge draw with his unique style of batting, and Michael Clarke will be missed because you need the best players to add to the quality of the event. But even without them, I am confident the IPL will continue to be a runaway success it has been for many years now.

HUNGRY TO SUCCEED

To me, the teams stack up fairly evenly, so it will all boil down to which team has more hunger and desire to win. I feel those sides that haven't won the title previously will be more resolute to go all the way. That's what will make Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, both enormously powerful sides with a wealth of talent, dangerous outfits.

Royal Challengers seem to have all bases covered, having procured a host of Indian pace bowlers to address a problem area of last season when they narrowly failed to make it to the play-offs. In Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, who will enjoy his role as full-time captain, they have an array of some of the best batting talent in the world. And if they fire in tandem, they will take some stopping.

Likewise, the Mumbai Indians, have a new coach in John Wright, who knows what it takes to get the best out of the Indian talent. Mumbai have made a smart move in buying and making Ricky Ponting the captain. Ponting has not only been one of the best batsmen of his generation but he also has led Australia to victories in big tournaments such as the World Cup and the Champions Trophy.

If, between them, Wright and Ponting galvanise the talent, then Mumbai are well capable of going all the way.

Also see: The IPL opening night in pictures

That doesn't mean the teams who have already tasted success are to be taken any less lightly. Chennai Super Kings are always a cohesive unit and Kolkata Knight Riders will be desperate to build on last year's success. Each team will have the same goal —  to hold the trophy aloft on May 26. While it can't be predicted who the winner will be, there will be no shortage of entertainment or drama along the way.

The writer is a former India pacer

(TAG: CYCSPL)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »