Fans hope the cash-rich league, featuring blockbuster stars including Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli, will soothe the pain of India’s shock semi-final defeat to eventual World T20 champions West Indies.
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“It was a below par performance by Dhoni and company. I hope IPL helps us overcome the pain of the semis loss,” Kolkata Knight Riders supporter Nehal Ahmed told AFP. The ninth-edition of the franchise-based competition, which has revolutionised world cricket, will see eight teams clash in 60 matches at 10 different venues across India. “We Indian fans have a short memory. A good two months of IPL and we will forget all about World T20,” said fan Modit Dhasmana, another ardent admirer of IPL razzamatazz.
The IPL is the most popular domestic league in the world but has been plagued by controversies since its inception in 2008, with corruption and match-fixing cases often taking centre-stage. A spot-fixing scandal in 2013 led to two teams — Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals — being suspended last year for two seasons.
Despite the controversies, the IPL has attracted a host of foreign players who have shaped or resurrected their careers and in turn have become household names in India.