Keeping an eye out for the moments that truly matter in the IPL

The National offers an irreverent, I-Spy approach to viewing the wildly popular Twenty20 competition

Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Virat Kohli plays a shot during the Indian Premier League match against Kings XI Punjab at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on May 2, 2012. Manjunath Kiran / AFP
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With as many as 40 cameras at some venues, an aggregate of more than two million spectators last year and, according to the official statistics, an accumulated TV audience of 2.6 billion, not much goes unnoticed in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The interminable programme of matches can make for a “cricketainment” overload. To maintain the interest on those slow days – maybe when Yuvraj Singh is batting out a maiden or two – we have created a Spotter’s Guide based on the children’s game I-Spy to get armchair supporters through.

Score points dependent on the rareness of the sights seen in that day’s action, as per the chart here.

The highest score wins.

Pencils at the ready …

Tweet tweet

A tweet by Lalit Modi referencing the fact he has been greatly wronged, the current buffoons have no idea what they are doing, that this really is his shindig anyway, and that he will be back one day to reclaim his throne. One day soon. You just watch – 1 point

Tattoo tally

Just before the bowler starts his run, Kevin Pietersen hoists up his already short sleeves to show biceps covered in Maori tattoos. Though not quite high enough to show his three lions etching, which recently may have been erased anyway – 1 point

No sweat

In an innings where all the bowlers have otherwise been savaged, Sunil Narine ends his four overs for Kolkata Knight Riders with figures of three for 20 and not a bead of sweat on his brow – 1 point

Captain India

MS Dhoni drags his Chennai Super Kings side from a position of seemingly certain defeat over the winning line with a last-ball six, before sauntering off as if nothing ever happened. Then conducts his post-match interviews wearing a sleeveless jumper with no shirt underneath. Because he can – 1 point

Faulkner follies

James Faulkner sends down a moderately decent delivery while bowling for Rajasthan Royals, before unleashing an ugly tirade of abuse towards the unsuspecting batsman – 1 point

Gayle force wind-up

Chris Gayle hits Faulkner into Row Z, trots down the pitch Gangnam Style before laying down to recover from the excitement – 2 points

Bleep

Virat Kohli looks all angry and has his mouth sponsored so that his occasionally choice language is obliterated from the view of sensitive lip-readers – 2 points

Hyperbole

Kohli essays a powerful-yet-elegant drive towards the boundary fence, prompting paroxysms of delight from the commentator Ravi Shastri, who recovers his composure in time to report that it was hit like a tracer bullet – 2 points

Adjustment bureau

Six games into the tournament, Ravi Ashwin unveils a total overhaul of his bowling action. For the third time so far in the competition. While wearing a long-sleeved shirt – 2 points

Feel the earth move

Sir Ravindra Jadeja does a few push-ups to warm up before the match. Not that he is really doing push-ups – in truth, he is pushing the Earth down – 2 points

Not sponsor-rific

The commentator slips up and describes a shot that carries over the boundary rope as a “six” rather than the specified, sponsor’s own “maximum”. That is quickly followed by a one-game suspension from any duties behind the microphone – 2 points

Mob mentality

A worryingly moody troupe of men heading in the direction of Yuvraj Singh’s house after he plays out seven dot-balls in a row while batting for Royal Challengers Bangalore – 2 points

Not so bright stars

Bollywood royalty leaping to ­Yuvraj’s defence, pointing out via social media that Indian cricket supporters have a lot to thank him for – 2 points

Cheered up

Cheerleaders in Dubai stationed in front of people, rather than an empty part of the ground, thereby having the chance to live up to their remit of leading the cheering – 3 points

Six-hit-none-the-wiser

A young Emirati football player on the Sharjah Club playing fields looking nonplussed when a cricket ball nearly hits him after Ross Taylor middles one while batting for Delhi Daredevils in the stadium next door – 3 points

Chemical bromance

Lasith Malinga developing a cold sore after kissing the ball one too many times at a ground where extensive levels of chemicals are used in the Miracle-Gro to make the grass lush – 3 points

Executive orders

Sunil Gavaskar calls in a perk of his new role as Indian cricket’s overlord by demanding he gets to make a cameo appearance for Mumbai Indians. He presents a straight bat during a watchful innings of 7 from 68 deliveries. It is believed the interim IPL boss’s go-slow was in protest at the excessive scoring rates in the modern Twenty20 game – 5 points

Wave the flag

An English player – 5 points

A Pakistani player – 5 points

A player from any one of the 96 non-Test playing nations – 5 points

Shades of Wrigley

The Sharjah stadium goat breaks free from its tether beside the groundsman's hut, bolts towards the centre of the ground and starts grazing on a length. Daubed on his fleecy coat is the logo of an unendorsed cola brand. The IPL's organisers rage at the craven ambush marketing and immediately issue a cease-and-desist letter to the goat. He eats it – 10 points

No review necessary

An umpire no-balls a bowler with a crooked arm and a long-sleeved shirt for throwing – 10 points

Switch-hitter

Opening the batting for Sunrisers Hyderabad, David Warner feels in such prime touch that he bats half the power-play overs left-handed, then the other half right-handed – 10 points

Javed is wild

Minding his own business after coming along to watch a match, Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach and Dubai resident, gets fished out of the crowd. He is summoned into the injury stricken Mumbai Indians bowling line-up as a late replacement under the Pepsi Injury Joker Card Rule. On account of the fact this is the UAE, the batsmen are Indian, and he is Aaqib Javed, he takes a hat-trick – 10 points

Brought to you by ...

A patch of advertisement-free real estate at the venue, the player’s apparel or on the TV screen – 10 points

pradley@thenational.ae

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