Saddened by the defeat of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, Dr. Vijay Mallya secretly summoned a group of scientists to build a Time Machine, to see when they would ever win an IPL. And Bleacher Report's most charming reporter, yours truly, got an invitation yesterday to tag along for the ride!
People, it pays to have connections.
And so abandoning my insignificant task of scribbling down a preview to the ICC T20 World Cup, I accompanied him into the future, to the year 2032 AD. And what a year to travel to folks: the 25th anniversary of the IPL!
We went to Mumbai, where IPL XXV was being held. The last time IPL was held in India was the first IPL, because after the success of IPL 2: South Africa, they decided to hold it exclusively outside India!
Cricket as we know it, has changed so much in 2032 AD.
First of all, all the teams in the IPL are owned by Dr. Mallya. They were going to change the name to "Mallya's Premier League", but his numerologist advised against it!
And there are 120 teams in the IPL now! No, not teams from 120 cities, no way, silly! But teams owned by 120 sponsors!
Today's match is a clash of the titans! Champions for three years running, Cheerleaders XI, against the eternal underdogs Knight Riders.
(Cheerleaders XI is a team consisting entirely of cheerleaders, and my good friend and idol, Shane Warne is their coach. Yeah, they don't bat too well, but they sure know how to "bowl teams over".)
Since I was with 'the boss", I got the best seat in the stadium. I was barely done celebrating the fact that my seat had the best view of the cheerleaders, when someone in a soft, sweet voice greeted me good evening and took the seat next to me.
It was Sachin Tendulkar. Turns out, he quit cricket somewhere around 2023, after setting records so high no human being could ever dream to break them, and then entered politics, and is now the Prime Minister of India. Dr. Mallya, kind and wonderful as he is, had invited Mr. Tendulkar to the IPL final as well.
So, the two team captains along with the match referee arrived and I thought it was time for the coin toss, right?
Wrong! These days, there is a different type of toss!
The cheerleaders of the respective teams perform a difficult maneuver, and whoever impresses the judge, wins the toss. Danny Morrison has the been the judge for the past 10 years...and while he's there, we need not worry about the cheerleaders...errrmmm...I mean, the toss.
The Cheerleaders XI are pros, and no doubt they won the toss and chose to bat first.
Oh, by the way, its not a Twenty20 match! Its a Five-5 match. Test cricket is played once a decade to "remember" the game, while ODIs and T-20s have become obsolete. Who has time for 20 overs these days?
I see the umpires taking the field. They are dressed weirdly though...why is that?
*someone whispers something into my ear...*
Oh! I am told they read "a certain article on b/r" and now they have introduced helmets, shoulder-pads, knee-pads, and all for the umpires now for their protection from hard-hitting batsman...
So, the Knight Riders take the field. And the new ball is given to... Ajit Agarkar.
Yes. He is still playing for the Knight Riders, and is still getting selected. He is their most consistent performer for some years now, not on the basis of batting or bowling mind you, but on the basis of being "consistently" selected!
First ball is way outside the off-stump. The umpire calls it a wide. Agarkar is not satisfied.
Disputes these days are settled not by going to the Third Umpire, but by having an on-field "sledging contest". Ricky Ponting is the Knight Riders coach, and they have no problems winning that contest and the wide decision is overturned.
And...we go to a "strategic time-out".
Yes, these days, after every ball, there is a three-minute long strategic time-out, during which teams discuss strategies, and sponsors bombard us with their commercials.
But before you can know it, the match is on again! Agarkar bowls a short delivery and Anna (a Russian recruit of the Cheerleaders XI) hits the ball to the cover for a single.
*someone whispers something into my ear...*
Wait, its not a single. Its a "Vodafoner"! Yes, a single run is called that, a double is called a "Kingfisher-er", a three is called a "Gillette-er", a four is a "McDonalds-er" but the six is still a DLFer.
Some things never change. The bowling and fielding of the Knight Riders is the same as it was 24 years ago—extraordinarily terrible. Even the Cheerleaders XI which is known to be a terrible batting side have posted a total of 100 runs in the allotted five overs.
And suddenly I see all the people in the stadium screaming and running away or taking cover. Some of them climb trees, some hide below the chairs, and some even leave the stadium. Even I am told to cover my ears.
Why? Well, as a half-time tradition, some singing superstar is brought along to perform during the break. Today, Akon cancelled on them, and unable to find a suitable replacement, they agreed to let Mandira Bedi sing today for 20 minutes....
I was whisked away to safety by Mallya. And we decided to take a lunch-break.
I was just roaming around aimlessly when I noticed someone quite surreptitiously working on a laptop. Slyly, he was smiling, as he typed.
I walked up to him, and was absolutely shocked! "YOU?" I said looking towards him, "...so you are the Fake IPL Player??? That notorious blogger who is leaking team secrets over the internet...."
Five free beers later, my conscience convinced me that I had a hallucination. I went back to the game.
Great! I had missed so much! Ganguly who had announced in 2012 that he would retire the minute he gets a fifty in IPL, finally scored the fastest fifty in the IPL!
And now the Knight Riders needed one run off the last ball.
But suddenly the weather got worse, and it started raining. That was an unfair advantage to the Cheerleaders XI.
I mean, imagine, with just one run needed, all the fielders of Cheerleaders XI were inside the circle. They had pure white tops as their team uniform, and it starts to rain!
I do NOT blame the Knight Riders duo who got a "little distracted" by what they saw, and got run out.
It was a tie. But in 2032 ties are not settled by a super-over. It's settled by a wrestling match between the mascots.
So, it was on! I was chugging down the beer, as I watched the Cheerleaders XI mascot—the Bunny, fight it out against the Knight Riders mascot—the Tiger.
And the tiger won hands down! Knight Riders won the IPL! Miracles do happen!
There were celebrations everywhere. Even in the Cheerleaders XI camp, where Shane Warne was busy consoling the cheerleaders in his own way....
I absolutely wanted to...console the cheerleaders myself...but that's when Mallya informed me that it's time to go back to boring 2009.
Frustrated, I knew, I had to agree. I just took one little souvenir from 2032 and came back to our time. And now I wrote this article.
Thanks folks, for reading this long article. I have so much more to tell you about the future....
But Anna is waiting for me....ay!
DISCLAIMER: All events mentioned above are ficticious, and this article has been written for humorous purposes ONLY! No offense in a direct or indirect way is meant to anyone, or anything.