The wait is finally over… The next edition of IPL is here again in India to bring the whole nation to a standstill…It is time for new heroes to be born, new shots to be innovated, new underdogs to emerge champions, time to see the legends of the game play on a cricket field for one last time! IPL starts a strange season of cricket when even a Sachin’s shot may be booed at the Eden Gardens, season when commentators scream “That’s a DLF Maximum” instead of the oft-heard“That’s a huge Six”, season when an Aussie champion Shane Warne will lead a bunch of young Indian guys on to the field, season when 8PM prime time serials will lose their supremacy to the IPL, theatres telecasting matches instead of star studded movies, a season where even an “Hutch” pug will be replaced by a zoozoo! IPL also gives chance for friends a hot topic to talk over a cup of coffee, an overambitious attempt for guys to impress his manager by supporting the same team he is gonna support (*wink*) ,yet another reason for lovers to fight,depending on the franchise they have chosen to support, chance for the puritans to keep criticizing the game ,another chance for perverts to ogle Mandhira and the cheer gals, and ofcourse a chance for the world to envy our nation! Yipee…IPL is here again, to divide the nation and ultimately unite it in the name of Cricket! Cheers !

Here is a sneak peak into every team and what to expect from them this season !

Deccan chargers:

An encore??? The wooden spoon winners in the inaugural edition and the champions in the next, Deccan Chargers start as a solid bunch to defend the crown! Ironically, the best thing that could have happened to Deccan chargers is that they are not playing any match in their home ground, for the home teams have never won a match in this ground. Deccan boast of big names on paper, but Gilchrist and Symonds have not played quality cricket in the recent past and Gibbs has lost his magic touch. This leaves DC to depend very heavily on the Indian trio of Rohit, Laxman and T Suman. Deccan’s bowling was a revelation last year with RP Singh winning the purple cap and Edwards in splendid form. But home conditions have never suited RP’s style of bowling and Edwards is out of action this year.Ryan Harris inclusion in the Oz test squad must have shattered Gilly’s dream of posing a decent bowling line up! Ojha will be Gilly’s trump yet again! On the whole, given a strong top order, the bowling link has to be bridged very early in the tournament for the Deccans’ to make an impact in this tournament!

Expect the unexpected (in both the sense) from this charged up Deccan

Royal Challengers-Bangalore:

The so-called test team and the team which rose from the ashes the last IPL, under a spirited captaincy of Anil Kumble IS the team you can put your money on, this season. A team with a blend of experienced foreign players and a young bunch of Indian cricketers, who are eager to make it big in the international arena, makes Royal challengers easily the best team in the tournament. Vijay Mallya made the best bid in this year’s auction when he pocketed Eion Morgan. From cricketing point, it was a brilliant decision for Morgan will be available for the whole season and is in prime form. Mallya can continue to smile seeing Cameroon White taming the bowlers down under. The Indian likes of Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Mithun and Praveen will battle it out to find themselves in the flight to West Indies for the T20 WC. When everything falls apart, there is always a WALL to bank on and a JUMBO hearted captain who will fight till the end. With Taylor and Pietersen scheduled to join the team later, RC can only grow from strength to strength.

The hope of an Indian captain laying his hand on the beautiful IPL trophy seems brighter now!

Delhi Daredevils:

Sehwag, Gambir, Warner, AB de Villiers, Dilshan…. When you have a batting line up like this and not end up with the championship two times, then you need to blame something which is out of human control! Yeah the “chokers” of IPL were really unlucky in the past two editions, but can they end up in the podium this time??? Given a strong top order, they have a contrasting, fragile looking bowling line up. Vettori will be missed for the major part of the tournament. Nehra is mercurial, so is Mishra. The way Dirk Nannes and Wayne Parnell adapt to the Indian conditions will be huge factor for Delhi’s fortune. A legend like Glen McGrath will be sorely missed! Dinesh Karthik is in fine good form infront and behind the stumps and he must be the “X” factor for the Daredevils! On a final note, if Delhi batting riches can compensate their bowling weakness, Delhi can very well lose their “chokers” tag this season

Watch out this team for the envious batting line up!

Chennai Super Kings:

At the outset let me confess, I’m a big time Dhoni fan and no wonder I’m supporting Chennai ! May be for the first time, Chennai on paper are not as strong compared to their rivals. Plauged by injury concerns and out of form players, Chennai doesn’t start as the favourites! But when you have a captain with a Midas touch, you must think twice before you say such a statement! “We” have the likes of Hayden, Murali, Morkel who can change matches single handedly. Raina has been consistent. Badri and Vijay, with their conventional way of playing, bring the classic touch to the line up. The new acquisition Justin Kemp and Badani can be handy ! We also have a strong bowling line up with the likes of Balaji,Tyagi,Gony and Jakati who can blow up any opposition ( U see I’m a CSK fan and such exaggerations are accepted ;-) )

Afterall we have a magician named MS DHONI..Mind It !!!

Rajasthan Royals:

When someone says, ”Cricket is a team game”, just think again for this team proves it wrong time and again. Yeah they have Yusuf Pathan! He bats, bowls and takes his team to victory! I know I’m so harsh on other players in the team, but it is the reality. Even Shane Warne will accept to this in a closed room conversation! They might have been used to this tittle “Underdogs” by now and yet again they start like that! The ignominious ban on Ravindra Jadeja has given Warne lots to ponder upon. Rajasthan Royals will be sweating it out for Smith’s return from injury. Shaun Tait, Morne Morkel,Shane Warne, Munaf ,Botha gives its bowling a formidable look. Oops I still wonder how Damien Martyn can help RR??? Had Watson been available for the entire tournament, Rajasthan could have relished their dream of a semi final berth!

Can Shane Warne cast his spell, yet again, on this “Underdogs” ?

Mumbai Indians:

The only stain in the glorious cricketing career of the Little Master must be his captaincy! This IPL will seal this fact! It looks a balanced team on paper, but has never translated its talents into success. MI can boast of the best opening batting and bowling pair. Sachin and Jayasuriya at the top can put even the best bowler on earth nervous! Zaheer and Malinga form a formidable bowling pair! The new million dollar baby of the IPL-Kieron Pollard will be the cynosure of the Indian crowd for we know how entertaining he can be,courtesy the Champions league matches! Harbhajan Singh’s spin will be very handy in the middle overs! It will be interesting to see how the ICL stars Sathish and Rayadu are utilized! The presence of potential allrounders in Nayar,Bravo,Duminy gives Mumbai Indians a real chance this time around. It is time Mumbai realize its real potential and justify why they are the costliest team!

Can Sachin add another feather to his already beautiful cap!

Punjab Kings XI :

Sangakkara ascent to captaincy must have been a tough decision to make, but it makes real cricketing sense. Yuvraj has never impressed as a captain and he has been given a chance to concentrate on his batting. Kings XI is blessed with a slew of exceptional foreign players, but equally saddened with injury concerns. Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh are fighting to be fit before they start their campaign, so will be Yuvi and Irfan Pathan. James Hopes, Jayawardene and Ravi Bopara will fight for a place in the squad! It will be redemption time for Md.Kaif to prove his skills,after being flown back to India last year and did not have a good stake at the auctions also. The bowling to be led by Brett Lee will have Sreesanth and Yusuf Abdulla to compliment his efforts! The Indian spin duo of Ramesh Powar and Piyush Chawla will have their work cut out in the batsman friendly Indian wickets.

Can the kings broaden the smile on the face of the queen “Pretty” Zinta

Kolkatta Knight Riders:

The only team which I wish play the finals of this year’s IPL with Chennai Super Kings will be Kolkatta Knight Riders.. And you guys very well know the reason ;-) On a bird’s eye view Kolkatta seems to be a settled squad this time with a full time captain and a new coach in Dav Whatmore. Sourav Ganguly will be back in action as a captain and it cannot get bigger than this for Kolkatta fans! Another best thing that could have happened to KKR is that Gayle and Shane Bond will miss just the first match of the tournament. The likes of Brad Hodge and Owasis Shah will be very useful in Indian conditions. C Pujara and Manoj Tiwary,the most celebrated domestic players will finally get a chance to prove their mettle in this IPL, after missing the last one due to injury.The bowling has lot more sting this time with Shane Bond and Langeveldt in prime form. Agarkar and Ishant can be able supporters. The aging Murali Karthik and Mendis must settle KKR’s quest for spinning options!

Can SRK and his Knights script another Bollywood climax?

Now it is time to say “Let the games begin and All the best..Cheers !”


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