That disturbing noise you can hear in the distance is Danny Morrison and Ravi Shastri warming their tonsils up for another unbearable sustained assault on our senses. Yep, that’s right: it’s IPL time again. 267 days of non-stop T20 action, full of thrills, spills and, when Devereux is on the field at least, massive piles of vomit. To say we’re excitedly looking forward to the tournament would be about as truthful as saying Doug Bollinger doesn’t drift off to sleep every night wistfully thinking about Katy Perry’s lollipops.
But it would be unfair to say that the IPL is entirely without interest. Particularly when there’s the spectacle of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting opening the innings for the Mumbai Indians to look forward to. Or Kane Richardson sending down over after over of appalling filth. Our love for the Pune Warriors remains as strong as ever, purely because they contain some of the greats of the modern era: Steven Peter Devereux Smith, Luke James Wright, and Eklavya Dwivedi. Okay, we were lying about that last one.
It’s hard to see how the IPL can compete with the glitz and glamour of a contest between Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire at the County Ground but we will do our best to keep you, dear reader, updated of goings on. Mainly to spare you the punishment of actually having to watch it yourself. And so, without further ado, we gathered round with the first of the many cases of Gordon’s Gin that we will definitely need to get us through the next few weeks, and previewed this year’s tournament.
Who do we think will be the biggest flop in the IPL this year? Extra marks for originality will be awarded for any answer that doesn’t include Glenn Maxwell.
Nichael Bluth: I really really want to say Glenn Maxwell, but I could do with those extra marks so I’ll go for the closest thing: Cameron White. Sunrisers Hyderabad is a stupid name for a team, for a start. Plus he happens to be utter shite.
Matt H: Max Glennwell. Indeed it is hard to look past any of the mediocre Australians, but for want of anyone else, Rahul Dravid, captain of the Rajasthan Royals.
James K: Sachin Tendulkar usually stinks the place out; am I allowed to say him? Kallis as well. Guys who bat ages for 27 and then get out.
Matt Larnach: Not one person mentioned Kane Richardson. I am going to go with US$625,000 man of mystery Chris Morris. Also Ben Laughlin. Because Ben Laughlin.
And what about the biggest success? Once again, bonus points available for not nominating Shikhar Dhawan.
MH: Kula Shaker, Marlon Samuels and the Gloucestershire seamers who will literally tear Northamptonshire apart.
JK: As a left-field answer, I’m going to say Samuel Badree, the great West Indian opening bowler who’s following in the footsteps of Hall, Holding, Marshall, Ambrose et al, and who helped fire them to their World T20 win last year. Also Glenn Maxwell.
ML: If Sachithra Senanayake is actually allowed to ever play, I will go for him. Was very impressed with his bowling in the Big Bash, although admittedly it’s easy to look good when bowling to Australian batsmen.
NB: Ajantha Mendis. A complete disaster in the longer forms of the game but ideal for T20. Plus he plays for Pune, which basically elevates him to godlike status before he’s even started.
Can Pune improve on their barnstorming performance of last year (last place with 4 wins from 16)?
JK: Well last year they started awesomely and then faded away, and I think they addressed that problem superbly in the auction this time. So will start poorly and fade away instead.
NB: We were pretty clear about one of the main reasons for Pune’s rubbishness last year – Saurav Ganguly’s captaincy – and with that no longer an issue, I expect them to be a bit better. Nowhere near actually winning the tournament, but I reckon they can definitely avoid the wooden spoon.
ML: Which raises the question; with Michael Clarke in a wheelchair and Yuvraj Singh not keen on doing any actual work, is Devereux the perfect man for the Pune captaincy? One to lead them to a golden age of IPL success?
MH: Yes, yes and yes.
ML: We should point out that after this article was written Pune went and gave the captaincy to Angelo Mathews. Which proves you don’t need to know anything about cricket to run an IPL team.
Finally, assuming anyone actually cares, who do we think will win this year’s tournament?
MH: I like the look of Chennai’s squad, even though their kit is horrible.
JK: I think Rajasthan have the sort of slapstick-ally awful squad mixed with enough Owais Shahs to make them a decent side. Fancy them to surprise a few people. Agree with Chennai though too, as dull a choice as it is, particularly as they’ve cunningly sabotaged every visiting side by banning their Sri Lankan players from the ground.
ML: Have to admit I struggle remembering any of the teams who aren’t Pune. They just all merge into one big beige ball of mediocrity. I think Mumbai might do okay, because having Maxwell and James Franklin in the same squad is all sorts of awesome.
NB: Like Matt, I struggle to remember one team from another, even after watching hundreds of games. I’ll go for Delhi Daredevils, just because David Warner is the basis for every successful side these days.
Well there we are. With the preview out of the way there’s just the opening ceremony – sadly sans Katy Perry’s lollipops this time – and about a million games left. We’ll try and keep you informed, but we currently have no idea of quite how we’re going to do that. There might be the odd liveblog of Pune games, plus some sort of weekly roundup type thing. And no doubt criticism galore in our podcast. Lots to look forward to!