IPL 2012: Old is still Gold!

Sachin in action against CSK in the opening match of IPL 2012. The stunning six, a cover drive that was a sheer moment of genius!

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be the blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.”

-Abraham J. Heschel

Cricket has always been the religion to a land called India where it has millions of followers.  Its players are often deified and the cricket stadiums have a fervour similar to that seen in the temples across the country. An Indian victory in the first edition of the shortest form of cricket , T20,  created an everlasting enthusiasm among its young, middle and elderly viewers for the youngest format of the game. The enthusiasm filled over and led to creation of two major cricket leagues, first the Indian Cricket league and now the Indian Premier League or IPL in short.

It’s a league where players are bought and sold for millions, it is a platform where young talents are asked to take center stage, it is a place where Bollywood and Cricket come together, it is a league that pushed India a step ahead in the world of cricket. In the end it’s all about three “Es” – Entertainment, Entertainment and Entertainment.

Since its birth in 2008, the IPL  has not only become a platform for young players to hog the limelight and attract the attention of those who matters but it’s also a place for the old and retired crusaders to show that they still have it in them to give the young players a run for their money,literally.

And how! In the fifth version of the world’s second highest paying league, the class of the past seems to have pushed the aggression of youngsters behind.  The story so far is that the experience of the old fighters has the edge over enthusiastic younger generation.  In fact three of the nine IPL  captains have already retired from International cricket.  Saurav Ganguly (Dada), Adam Gilchrist (Gilly), Rahul Dravid  (Jammy) are three who are almost 40 but yet they give no sign that they are spent forces.

Take a look at the ages of some of the performers in this years league matches so far!

Player Team Age
Brad Hodge Rajasthan Royals 41
Adam Gilchrist(C) Kings XI Punjab 40
Muttiah Muralitharan Royal Challengers Bangalore 39
Sourav Ganguly(C) Pune Warriors India 39
Rahul Dravid(C) Rajasthan Royals 39
Herschelle Gibbs Mumbai Indians 38
Sachin Tendulkar Mumbai Indians 38
Jackques Kallis Kolkata Knight Riders 36
Brett Lee Kolkata Knight Riders 35
Ajit Agarkar Delhi Dare Devils 34

The recent matches in the IPL give evidence of the importance of these players for their respective teams. Their presence in the team is not because they are crowd pullers to team owners, they are the high performance commanders who led from the front when it comes to the crunch. Sachin, Kallis, Gilchrist, Dravid, Sourav have often  been the front-runners for the Orange Cap in the previous four versions of the IPL.  The previous editions of the IPL have proved old is indeed gold.

mumbai indians vs chennai super kings opening ipl t20 match in chennai Sachin Tenulkar off drive stunning
Sachin in action against CSK in the opening match of IPL 2012. The stunning six, a cover drive that was a sheer moment of genius!

Rahul Dravid has already shown that he can turn up the heat as and when required! The dour batsman of test cricket,who couldn’t get bat to ball in Australia, has already given great starts to his team, the Rajasthan Royals in both their games so far this IPL. The renaissance man, Saurav Ganguly, has shown that his mind is still the best in Indian cricket, when it comes to strategies as he out thought Harbhajan Singh in the low scoring game between the Pune Warriors and Mumbai Indians a couple of days ago!

One wonders, why Muttiah Muralitharan retired from international cricket at all? His performance the other night when the batsmen couldn’t play him at all, showed that age has made Murali more wilier and that he can produce the goods when he wants to!

It was considered to be a young man’s sport. It was predicted  that the older players will struggle to make an impact. It was called a league where power matters not the technique. It has not gone the way it was called or predicted. In short, IPL which was initiated to give Indian cricket a new dimension, has now transformed into a platform which shows the young that technique and experience matters in any form of the game and has redefined the aged based misconceptions about the game.

This is a Guest Post by  Adarsh Ashok. Ashok is a First year student at Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal. He is pursuing civil engineering. (The post was edited by Dr. Vishaal Bhat).     

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