Spinning dreams, embracing drama...

Indian Premier League: Entering 10th season, the event has served up plenty of entertainment and controversies

Spinning dreams, embracing drama...

The Indian Premier League established itself as the most-talked about T20 competition in the world in a very short span of time. With less than 48 hours left for the start of the 10th edition, DH looks back at 10 big moments that have stood out in the journey of the richest cricket tournament in the world.

1. TV deal: While Jagmohan Dalmiya had shown where the money is in cricket, Lalit Modi, who conceived and implemented IPL, took it to another level by selling IPL rights for 10 years in 2008 for a whopping US$918 million to the Singapore-based World Sports Group. Modi later recast the contract before the 2009 edition and MSM agreed to pay another US$1.63 billion for the next nine years.

2. Players payments: For the first time in the history of cricket, players were sold to franchises through auction where team owners splurged mind-boggling amounts on cricketers of their choice. The likes of MS Dhoni and Aussie all-rounder Andrew Symonds attracted as much Rs 6 crore. The players’ earnings since 2008 have gone through the roof, changing the face of cricket. It changed players’ priorities and raked up debate on commitment to country vs preference to money. It eventually forced the most cricket boards to rejig their international schedule to allow their players to participate in the tournament.

3. McCullum’s ton: Brendon McCullum’s blistering innings in the first ever match of the IPL in 2008 set the perfect tone for the bang-bang version of cricket. Playing for Kolkata Knight Riders against hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, McCullum hammered 158 off just 73 balls which included 13 sixes and 10 fours. Bigger and faster knocks have been registered since but this one remains fresh in the mind of IPL fans. 

4. Slap-Gate: The inaugural edition of the league had its share of controversies and Harbhajan Singh slapping S Sreesanth in a fit of anger after the game between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab was the biggest of them all. The Kerala paceman was left teary-eyed after the incident and Harbhajan was banned for the entire tournament.

5. Rajasthan’s fairytale win: Not many had given Royals a chance in hell at the start of the inaugural IPL. While the legendary Shane Warne sat at the helm, Rajasthan didn’t boast of any star power. The Royals though scripted history by winning the first edition by defeating the Chennai Super Kings in the final and showed the world that the format gave equal chance to succeed for any team.

6. IPL caravan moves to SA: The universal popularity of the league and the organising capacity of the BCCI was on show when the event was moved to South Africa in a span of a few weeks of notice after the Union Government refused to provide security due to general elections that clashed with the league in 2009.

7. Modi’s ouster: The South Africa move proved to be costly affair for the maverick administrator who earned the ire of the then Indian government. He was expelled from the BCCI in 2010 after being accused of breaching the laws by rigging bids during the IPL auction and attempting to conduct rebel leagues in England without informing the Indian and England cricket boards.

8. Gayle phenomenon: Unsold in the auction before the 2011 edition, Chris Gayle was roped in by the Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement for the injured Dirk Nannes and the rest is history. The West Indian hammered a blistering 102 off 55 balls in the first match he played for RCB and he hasn’t looked back since then.

9. Kochi-Pune exit: Pune Warriors India and Kochi Tuskers Kerala were evicted from the league for defaulting on their payment. While the Kochi franchise were held responsible for breaching the terms and conditions of their agreement by not producing a bank guarantee within the stipulated deadline, Warriors suffered the same fate when Sahara failed to pay the franchise fee.

10. CSK-RR suspension: Following numerous spot-fixing and match-fixing scandals, the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were handed a two-year ban by the RM Lodha committee. Gurunath Meiyappan – a former team official of CSK – and Raj Kundra – the co-owner of Rajasthan — were handed life bans.

The players allegedly involved in spot-fixing, Ajit Chandila and Sreesanth, were banned for life by the BCCI. Though the court dropped charges against them later, the BCCI has stood by its ban.

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