The entire country is busy analysing the first anniversary of Narendra Modi's government that came to power on May 26 last year after the BJP achieved a single-party majority in the Lok Sabha. A parallel talk is also being held about Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's 100 days in office. Supporters of the two leaders are seriously debating who did better during their respective terms?
We just saw the end of 91-days of cricket since February
But not many are giving a thought to the 91 days of super cricket that ended on Sunday with the conclusion of the final of the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). We just had two back-to-back high-profile cricket tournaments, the ICC World Cup and the IPL, and the players and fans had a lot to take from them.
Australia won WC for the 1st time at home
Looking at the World Cup that kicked-off in Hamilton on February 14 when hosts New Zealand took on Sri Lanka, it was a unique edition of the quadrennial tournament in various aspects. This was the World Cup which saw Australia lifting the title for the first time in home conditions (the Aussies had won four titles before this but none at home; incredible, isn't it?).
4 Asian sides made WC quarter-finals outside the sub-continent
It also saw four Asian sides making the last eight in a World Cup being played outside the subcontinent for the first time. It saw India remaining unbeaten till the semifinals where they lost to the eventual champions.
Spirited performance by the minnows
It saw some spirited performance from minnows like Ireland and Afghanistan who, through their game, warned the ICC to think about reducing the number of teams in the World Cup in the next edition in 2019.
New Zealand made their 1st WC final
And last but not the least, it saw New Zealand, a team which doesn't have much to show as success in terms of winning trophies, making the finals without losing a match before going to down to their Trans-Tasman rivals by 7 wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
SA's semifinal exit, Pakistan and West Indies' ordinary performance disappointed
There were also bits of disappointment. The nervous failure of the South African side in the semifinals and a tearful exit, ordinary performance by the Pakistanis till Wahab Riaz's brilliance in the quarter-final against Australia and the two-time champions West Indies' filling up the numbers were instances where a genuine cricket lover was left dejected.
Controversy over India-Bangladesh quarter-final; Clarke wins WC in his final ODI
The controversy over Bangladesh's loss to India in the quarter-final and Zimbabwean media's shocking attack on an Irish playe after the African side lost a close game and was eliminated from the tournament were moments of dullness in the tournament. But the fitting farewell to Micahel Clarke, who gave Australia their fifth World Cup in his final one-day international, was perhaps the best conclusion to the tale.
Then came IPL: From nationalism to professionalism
Ten days after the clashes of nationalism got over, cricket returned to India where professionals locked horns. Many of the players who were opponents in the World Cup became team-mates and a new form of cricket as a culture hypnotised us. It was again a long summer on the cricket field as eight teams locked horns over a period of 47 days and 60 matches.
The Mumbai Indians, who had a horrendous beginning to the tournament, ended up as the eventual champions by beating MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings, who were playing their sixth final.
MS Dhoni's luck didn't favour him: A semifinal loss in WC & loss in IPL final
There was no change in luck for MSD, who despite being one of the best finishers in world cricket today, couldn't really put the finishing touches to his mission. His Team India lost in the semifinals of the World Cup while the CSK too tumbled at the final hurdle.
But all the West Indian players impressed in IPL
But a surprise package of this edition of the IPL was the performance of the Caribbean players. It was unique to see the West Indies perishing in the World Cup because it failed as a unit. But when one sees the individual brilliance of the Caribbean players who played in the IPL, one really struggles to find out why the West Indies overlook some of its tremendously gifted players for the national duty.
The incredible catches taken by CSK's Dwayne Bravo, the all-round performance of Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) Andre Russel, the mystery bowler Sunil Narine (KKR), the mighty hitting by MI's Llendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard and Royal Challengers Bangalore's Chris Gayle and the commendable batting by CSK's Dwayne Smith will remain alive in the memories of the IPL lovers for long. Why can't these same players do the same for their national side? Too much politics?
The just-concluded 100-days of cricket have given the cricket lovers immense entertainment. It is time for some normal cricket to take over (Test matches, bilateral series). The euphoria will be surely missed till the time IPL 9 arrives.