IPL Throwbacks, first part: 2008 to 2014
Indian Premier League has come a long way since its inception. Nobody could imagine how huge it would be in the next few years. In 2008, world cricket was still new to the T20 format of the game. India had just won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and it had seen some senior cricketers opting out of the same just for the format. And, now T20 has become the most viewed format of the game. And IPL has had a great influence over the years.
IPL 2008 started with eight teams in a franchise-based model. The initial eight teams were Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Deccan Chargers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals, and Kings XI Punjab. The team owners had all high-profile business tycoons and film stars. It was clearly an amalgamation of sports and showbiz. The tournament also started with a bang, thanks to a massive 73-ball 158 by Brendon McCulluam from Kolkata Knight Riders against the Bangalore team in the opening match of the IPL. There were many star-studded teams, and all expected one of those to win the first trophy of the league. However, Shane Warne-led Royal Challenger Bangalore proved all wrong. The Royals had no big-name as such and was full of fringe players. They were the underdogs of the IPL 2008 that shook the nation by the rise. The league had its share of controversies too. One match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab saw a furious Harbhajan Singh from MI slapping Sreesanth Punjab side after the match. Harbhajan was banned from the rest of the tournament.
In the next year, due to General Elections, the IPL had to be moved outside of the country. The dates were clashing, and there was no chance of the Elections getting postponed for sure. So the second edition of the IPL became the first overseas IPL, and a full season of the league played outside India for the first time. The Bangalore team got a new captain in Kevin Pietersen, followed by Anil Kumble, the Indian veteran. Kolkata Knight Riders were also seen trying multiple-captain theory but ended with heart-breaking results. They finished in the eighth position of the tournament. It was a rare final of the history of the Indian Premier League that saw Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers making it to the final. Deccan Chargers finally won the IPL trophy in 2009, and to date, this was the only time that the Hyderabad franchise won an IPL trophy. To add to the spicy nature of the tournament, a blog named ‘Fake IPL Payer’ made an appearance and became famous in no time. It was witty and controversial. Later a certain Anupam Mukherji revealed himself as FIP and assured that he was just making up stories.
In its third season, i.e., in 2010, the Indian Premier League became the first cricket tournament to be streamed live on YouTube. No wonder it was historic and paved the way for the multidimensional digital era of cricket content. It gave birth to a revolution that made cricket watching across the globe accessible and easy for the fans in years to come. Finally, in this season, Chennai Super Kings won their first IPL title. Moreover, the final match was between Chennai and Mumbai, which meant a battle between Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar. While Dhoni won as the skipper, Tendulkar yet again impressed one and all with his cricketing skills. These two sides beat the finalists from the last edition in the semi-final matches and went on to make it to the finale. After one or two controversial headlines over the last first two seasons, IPL got its biggest controversy in 2010. The Indian cricket board suspended Lalit Modi, the foremost architect of the league for “alleged acts of individual demeanors. There were multiple charges of rigging of bidding process in 2010, charging an unauthorized facilitation fee for broadcasting rights, potential ownership of Rajasthan and Punjab franchises as well as leaking classified BCCI information.
In 2011, two more franchises were included in the system. Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala. This time the icon players were not bought by the home teams like the inaugural season. As a result, multiple Indian cricket stars had to feature for a different team. Interestingly, while the Bangalore team let go of a few key players like Dravid, they retained only one player in Virat Kohli.
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders and Deccan Chargers released all. Rahul Dravid was roped in by Rajasthan Royals, whereas Sourav Ganguly was taken by Pune Warriors. However, Ganguly went unsold in the auction at first, and then he replaced the injured Ashish Nehra in the side. VVS Laxman, the legend from Hyderabad, went to play for Kochi. The tournament started within a week of India’s second World Cup triumph. The ambiance was electric, and Dhoni was the man of the season. Virat Kohli lit the league with his brilliance and emerged as one of the high scorers along with the Universe Boss Chris Gayle. The final saw two of India’s World Cup stars fighting for the title as Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings went on to beat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore to become the only team to defend their title. Till 2014, Chennai remained the only team to win the IPL trophy twice. Later the Tuskers were disqualified from the league following a payment issue with the board.
This year IPL had nine teams, eight from first seasons and Pune Warriors from IPL 2011. After years of hard work finally, Kolkata Knight Riders won their first IPL in 2012. The Kolkata franchise has been one of the most talked-about teams in the history of the Indian Premier League, not just for its players but for its charismatic owners too. Shahrukh Khan, one of the most popular Bollywood actors, co-owns the Knight Riders, and no wonder that adds extra value to the franchise’s fandom. However, sadly for the side, Khan was banned from entering Wankhede Stadium following a dispute with the security. Chennai Super Kings made it to the final this time, too but failed to defend the title.
On the other hand, Royal Challengers Bangalore, the other finalists of the 2011 season, ended at the bottom of the Points Table. Meanwhile, a sting operation found the involvement of more cricketers in the spot-fixing. Deccan Chargers were terminated by the Board on Control for Cricket in India for breaching the contract. The Hyderabad city later in 2012 got a new franchise and new name too- Sunrisers Hyderabad.
2013 was undoubtedly the most controversial year in the history of the Indian Premier League. The second half of the season saw things turning bitter. Three of Rajasthan Royals players were arrested for spot-fixing. S Sreesanth, AjitChandila, and Ankeet Chavan were later handed life bans. Moreover, the co-owner of the franchise, Raj Kundra, was also barred from all cricket-related activities. However, the biggest headline of the edition was when three days before the final match, Chennai Super Kings principal GurunathMeriyappan was also arrested with other bookies. Meriyappan was the son-in-law of the then BCCI President N Srinivasan. The president was asked by the court to resign from the post in 2014. After the match-fixing saga of the 90s involving Mohammad Azharuddin of Indian cricket, this was the second biggest fixing controversy that shook world cricket. Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings as the latter won their maiden IPL title. Pune Warriors, meanwhile, could not pay the fee and had to withdraw their name from the tournament.
Yet again, due to another General Elections in India, the Indian Premier League matches had to be taken outside of the country in IPL 7. However, this time only opening 20 matches were played in the UAE. Once again, IPL was played with eight teams- Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals, and Kings XI Punjab. This season’s auction saw a few new rules, including introducing Indian uncapped players in the auction. The situation was tense off-field for Chennai Super Kings, but the court allowed auction as per schedule. The group stage saw Kings XI Punjab topping the chart, followed by Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, and Mumbai Indians in second, third, and fourth positions. Eventually, Kolkata would win their second title of the Indian Premier League as Kings XI Punjab would make their first and last appearance in an IPL final to date. WriddhimanSaha became the first player to score a century in an IPL final.
Numbers to remember:
(Highest Wicket Taker)
|2008||Rajasthan Royals||Shaun Marsh (616)||Sohail Tanveer (22)|
|2009||Deccan Chargers||Matthew Hayden (572)||RP Singh (23)|
|2010||Chennai Super Kings||Sachin Tendulkar (618)||Pragyan Ojha (21)|
|2011||Chennai Super Kings||Chris Gayle (608)||Lasith Malinga (28)|
|2012||Kolkata Knight Riders||Chris Gayle (733)||MorneMorkel (25)|
|2013||Mumbai Indians||Michael Hussey (733)||Dwayne Bravo (32)|
|2014||Kolkata Knight Riders||Robin Uthappa (660)||Mohit Sharma (23)|