Heavy rain failed to dampen the spirit of ‘City of Joy’ as a dazzling Bollywood-style opening ceremony kick started the eighth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket after a one and a half hour delay at the decked-up Salt Lake stadium here on Tuesday.The event was a little subdued compared to the galas of the previous editions but the cine stars still managed to put up a show, enthralling the thousands of drenched fans who were glued to their seats.
It no more matters how the Indian team fared in the Test series against Australia or the tri-series. Their half-hearted performance against Australia in the World Cup semifinal will be forgotten too. The stars have been spared. It is in this very league that players appear more loyal to their club than country. Many West Indian stars won’t be seen in action when their team locks horns with England in a two-match Test series, which clashes with the IPL.
Another interesting aspect of this game would be how Punter, as Ponting is fondly known, goes about his role as a coach after being on the other side of the fence for the past two decades as a player. He showed the hunger and passion for his new role during MI’s practice sessions, constantly trying to guide the youngsters. He stressed on starting well, and what plan he gives Rohit & Co. to begin with will give an idea of how the think-tank will work going ahead in the season.
“Rain or shine the celebration will continue that’s how we love our cricket. Now we have a new season apart from monsoon, summer, winter and spring and that’s the season of IPL,” the anchor of the show, Saif Ali Khan, said in his opening address. The Omkara star called out the captains of the eight franchises as the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, JP Duminy and George Bailey walked onto the dais.
Umbrellas were out in large numbers across all the stands and electronic equipments were being quickly covered with rain getting heavier by the minute.