Tuesday, 3 April 2012

IPL5 set for majestic start, opening formal procedure begins in Chennai

India Tours -It is so as to time of the year when cricket meets Bollywood as the Indian Premier League (IPL) razzmatazz began on Wednesday - albeit devoid of the "feel good" factor of Indian cricket. A lot has changed in the last 12 months since India lifted the 2011 World Cup, April 2, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
IPL5 set for majestic start, opening formal procedure begins in Chennai
 Since then the World Champions have struggled to keep pace with the top teams in the world. India Travel of England and Australia and an early exit from the Asia Cup have rob Indian cricket of much of its glamour.The IPL, cricket's the majority profitable Twenty20 tournament, now offers the ideal smash from the rigours of international cricket that had taken its fee on the Indians.This time the cash-rich Twenty20 league also wears a new look. Only nine teams characteristic this season, after the scrapping of Kochi Tuskers last year on charges of default payments.

The opening ceremony in Chennai Tuesday is a festival affair, featuring American pop star Katy Perry, Amitabh Bachchan and a bevy of Bollywood stars. Nine teams will be playing a total of 76 matches - 16 each on home and away basis - to make a decision the top four, who will proceed to the four-match play-off stage.
This season could be making or break for IPL, which has had its split of controversies in the last 12 months. In 2011, the TV ratings fell; Kochi Tuskers were barred after its owners failed to pay the bank assurance and then Sahara, the owners of Pune Warriors and chief sponsor of the Indian cricket team, in danger to sever its ties with the Indian cricket board in February.
IPL5 set for majestic start, opening formal procedure begins in Chennai
 IPL's newly chosen chairman Rajeev Shukla, who took over last year, credited the dip in last year's TV ratings to "cricket fatigue"."IPL is a different tournament. Twenty20 is fun for fans, and India's performance will not have an impact on the tournament. Last year's fall in TV ratings were due to the bad timing, as the IPL was held immediately after India won the Cricket World Cup in the 50-over format. There was cricket fatigue," Shukla said last week.

"This year is different. Besides, the IPL spectators is growing in numbers every year. In 2008, we had 102.4 million TV viewers in the IPL and last year it went up to 160.2 million. We have a grand opening ceremony plus a whole range of entertainment activities lined up for IPL-V. It's going to wow the fans," he said.

The title backing deal with realty major DLF is up for regeneration after this edition and IPL has decided to splurge to keep all its sponsors happy. As the tournament starts Wednesday, the attention will be on Sachin Tendulkar, who last month got his 100th international century, West Indies' Chris Gayle and South African sensation Richard Levi.

Tendulkar has also stepped down from the captaincy of Mumbai Indians, which will now be led by Harbhajan Singh. The feisty off-spinner also led Mumbai Indians to their title triumph in the Champions League Twenty20 last year.Fans, however, will be missing star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who is currently undergoing treatment for lung tumour. In the absence of Yuvraj, former India captain Sourav Ganguly will be leading the Pune Warriors. Australian captain Michael Clarke has joined the team as a cover for Yuvraj, who was man of the tournament in the World Cup.
IPL5 set for majestic start, opening formal procedure begins in Chennai
 Details of IPL teams:
Chennai Super Kings will be chasing a hat-trick of titles in the Indian Premier League (IPL) that starts Wednesday. But the other seven franchises too can spring a surprise. The following is an analysis of all the nine teams taking part in the fifth IPL:

Mumbai Indians: 
They look the most complete team and will be keen on winning their maiden IPL trophy. Sachin Tendulkar has been declared fit for the tournament and will bolster an already formidable batting line-up of Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, and latest T20 sensation Richard Levi.

Delhi Daredevils: 
Things can only better for the side, which finished last in 2011. The Virender Sehwag-led unit is stronger with the inclusion of batting stars in Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Englishman Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor from New Zealand. 
Pune Warriors: 
They will be determined to make a mark after having been in the news for off-field reasons, which at one point saw them pulling out of the tournament. Australia captain Michael Clarke has been brought in as a replacement for Yuvraj Singh. Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal was signed recently. Sourav Ganguly will lead a batting line-up that has Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Jesse Ryder (New Zealand) and Angelo Matthews (Sri Lanka).
Deccan Chargers: 
The 2009 champions look one of the weaker teams. Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara has the challenge of bringing out the best from the young-looking team. Bowling remains their strength despite the withdrawal of fast bowler Ishant Sharma due to ankle injury. South African pacer Dale Steyn will be the one to look out for.

Chennai Super Kings: 
The most successful team in IPL starts as the favourite again. Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be spoilt for choice in both the batting and bowling departments.

Chennai have brought in all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and Australian pacer Ben Hilfenhaus. Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and Subramaniam Badrinath form the batting chunk. Michael Hussey will be available after the Caribbean trip. Hilfenhaus joins compatriot Doug Bollinger in bowling with Ravichandran Ashwin being the leading spinner.   
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 
Last year's runners-up can hope to go the distance with the presence of the explosive West Indian batsman Chris Gayle and the in form Virat Kohli. These two should get ample support from South Africa's AB de Villiers and Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Kings XI Punjab: Captain and coach Adam Gilchrist will have the task of making the best use of the limited resources. The team does not boast of many big names. Australians David Hussey and Shaun Marsh are the prominent names in batting. Praveen Kumar, Ryan Harris and Piyush Chawla will have to do the job with the ball.

Kolkata Knight Riders: 
Gautam Gambhir and his men have enough fire-power to build on their fourth place finish in 2011. The Australian fast bowling duo of Brett Lee and James Pattinson can trouble most batsmen.  The team also boasts of top-all rounders - Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan and South Africa legend Jacques Kallis. West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine and Iqbal Abdulla are likely to be the regular spinners. Other batsmen include Brendon McCullum, Eoin Morgan and big hitter Yusuf Pathan.
IPL5 set for majestic start, opening formal procedure begins in Chennai 
Rajasthan Royals: 
Royals heavily depend on its batting to progress into the knock-out rounds with the likes of Rahul Dravid, Brad Hodge, Shane Watson, who is available only after April 27, Brad Hodge, Owais Shah, Dinesh Chandimal and the young Indians players like Ajinkya Rahahe and Ashok Menaria.

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