In 2008, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the formation of a Twenty20 league which followed the patterns of the NBA and the Premier League. This concept came to be known as the Indian Premier League. 8 teams representing 8 cities of India would compete against each other during the season of summer. Legends of the game would come together, rub their shoulders with young cricketers, and battle for the title of champions.
The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Kumar Sangakkara, and many such luminaries were up against each other while some played together for a franchise. The thought of this coming to life was intriguing, exciting, and personally, a dream come true.
The teams had a perfect mixture of experience, talent, and passion. The players as well as the fans waited with bated breath to explore this league as they were unsure of what was coming their way. The season lasted for about two months and almost every game kept people at the edge of their seat. Records were made, unorthodox strokes were executed with perfection, and game-changing/magical spells were bowled. Rajasthan Royals led by Shane Warne were crowned as the first champions of the Indian Premier League.
In short, the first season of IPL was whimsical and memorable. Hameer Singh Jhala claims that his IPL moment stems from the first season of the league. When we spoke to him he said, “the first season for Rajasthan Royals has to be my IPL moment. The captaincy of Shane Warne was a pure and perfect example of the importance of leadership, instilling belief and teamwork. It was a Leicester City moment for me!”
The beginning of the IPL was historic and for Ayan Chakrabarti, the concept and unfolding of IPL remain very dear to him. While stating that nothing can be bigger than IPL, he says, “IPL as a concept and the start of the league is my moment. There are three reasons for this. One, IPL made cricket a profession for many. Two, it has taken Indian cricket to another level; IPL has given our young cricketers an opportunity to play and interact with highly experienced players – something that the previous generation of players missed out on. It also gave them the freedom to play at a stage where they could showcase their talent and gain experience at a young age. Three, IPL has not only benefitted cricket but has been a big boon to other sports as well. Sports like Kabaddi, Badminton, Football and more have adopted this concept and have introduced leagues similar to IPL.”
Since 2008, there have been many franchisees who have emerged as champions and this tournament has produced several cricketers who have appeared in the squads of their respective countries. 13 years later, this league has been and continues to be life-changing.
Reported by Shriya Rajachandra
Featured Image Credits: PostToast.com
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