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The fourth season of the Indian Premier League is beginning on Friday, within a week after the ICC's Cricket World Cup got over. The World Cup 2011 proved to be a tournament of high emotions and huge amount of money, earned and spent by respective parties. Are you ready for the T20 matches, often dubbed as high voltage dramas?
After a long wait of 28 years, India finally won their second cricket world cup title last week. The final match played between two of the hosts, India and Sri Lanka, was watched live by over 13.5 crore viewers in the country. After everyone celebrated the win, the euphoria associated with the cricket world cup win can still be found at some places, including the media. (Watch how every channel is telecasting views of cricketers about the 'Bharat Ratna' demand for master blaster Sachin Tendulkar).
When you may be still exhausted emotionally after the month long cricket fever, comes the Indian Premier League (IPL). The fourth season of the IPL, which is fast cricket played in 20 overs for each side (T20 format), will begin on Friday at 8pm with last season's winner Chennai Super Kings (CSK) taking on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
This season there are two new teams, Sahara Pune Warriors (SPW) and Kochi Tuskers (KT) taking the total number of teams to ten. At the same time, there will be fewer matches this time. Over the next 51 days, all 10 teams would play 74 matches, compared with 94 matches played between eight teams during the previous seasons. It includes three playoff games and the final. All teams are divided in two groups of five teams each, and would play one league match each against four teams of other group and two more against the fifth team selected randomly.
Another interesting thing is the churning of players, both domestic and international. Gautam Gambhir, who was associated with Delhi Daredevils (DD) team since the beginning of the IPL will lead KKR in this season. KKR bought the southpaw for a whopping Rs11.4 crore, the highest amount offered to any player in IPL-4. Similarly, Yuvraj Singh, who was declared Man of the Series in the recently concluded ICC World Cup, will play for Pune Warriors instead of Kings XI Punjab. Adam Gilchrist and Kumara Sangakkara, would replace each other at Deccan Chargers (DC) and Kings XI Punjab, respectively. Yusuf Pathan, who played an important (explosive!) role in Rajasthan Royals (RR) win in the first season, will leave his team and join KKR.
Five teams out of the eight have retained around 12 players. While CSK retained their skipper Mahindra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and South African Albie Morkel, Mumbai Indians-the runners-up during the last season retained their captain Sachin Tendulkar, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, West Indies' all-rounder Kieron Pollard and Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga, whom the Mumbai locals affectionately call 'Slinga Malinga' due to his sling bowling action.
Rajasthan Royals retained their skipper Shane Warne and Shane Watson, while DD and Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) decided to hold back Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli, respectively.
All available players from Pakistan remain unsold during the action for the fourth season of IPL. Pakistani players played during the first season in 2008. However, after the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai, many teams preferred not to use any Pakistani player in the playing XI during the second and third season. In the fourth season, not a single team showed any interest in buying a Pakistani player.
There are few players like England's Paul Collingwood (RR), Sri Lankan Angelo Matthews (SPW) and Australian Ben Hilfenhaus (CSK), who have been ruled out due to injuries. Australian players Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Mitchel Johnson have also decided to pull out from the IPL.
There are two names that everybody is likely to miss during this season, Sourav Ganguly and Lalit Modi. Ganguly remained unsold during the auction.
Later KT shown interest in buying him, but was stopped from doing so by other teams. Lalit Modi, the pioneer and commissioner of IPL was removed from all posts by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) due to alleged corruption and financial irregularities. Chirayu Amin has been appointed as the commissioner for IPL. While Ganguly may be visible as a commentator on TV, Modi would definitely be available on social networks, mainly on Twitter.
The matches would be played at 12 venues and would be telecast on Set MAX at 4pm and 8pm. So get ready for another dose of adrenaline, you cricket lovers!
IPL 2011 Schedule
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