IPL 2020 to be conducted between September and November, said the headline. Initially, it felt strange because IPL is a tournament played during the hot summers in India. But as time passed, the idea of witnessing a T20 tournament towards the latter half of the year was all too familiar. I say this because from 2009 to 2014, the cricket fraternity was pampered with the Champions League Twenty20.
During September and October, the top T-20 league teams from the major cricketing nations would compete against each other in this tournament. For Indians, this was a mini version of the Indian Premier League and for cricket fans around the world, this was another opportunity to witness the magic this format of the game beholds.
In 2013, the CLT20 Finals were played between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. It was a plethora of blue at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium (now known as the Arun Jaitley Stadium). While the infectious excitement of the fans reached every household, some fans held back their tears as the legends of the game – Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid walked onto the field and geared up to have a final face-off. Sachin was going to play another test series for India but for Dravid, this was a final adieu to the 22 yards. This final was a rollercoaster ride as both teams had a fair chance to win until Harbhajan Singh’s spell put Mumbai in the front seat. Mumbai Indians emerged winners and placed the trophy in their cabinet. While congratulations and celebrations were exchanged among the Mumbai fans and in the Mumbai Indians dressing room, some shed a tear as the last brick was placed on Dravid’s wall and the Rahul Dravid era had come to an end.
Anshuman Chandrachud, an ardent Rahul Dravid fan recollects – “My IPL or CLT20 moment was the CLT20 finals between RR and MI in 2013. Two legends Sachin and Dravid playing for one last time on the field and against each other! What a sight. Being a hardcore Dravid fan, somehow I thought this would be it, the swansong that Dravid deserved, winning the trophy and ending it on a high. But once again, it ended with him in the shadows, the spotlight now dancing on someone else. There he was as stoic as ever and accepting defeat with equanimity. He deserved more. But then, that would have been someone else’s story.”
Reported by Shriya Rajachandra
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