IPL cricket is moving in to the final stages where we shall soon know who will reach the semi finals ,but cricket is hardly the only thing holding center stage in India’s most lucrative entertainment extravaganza. There is political scandal, the captain of one team consoling the owner of another, celebrity owners visiting religious shrines for divine intervention and denying an impending sell off and all manner of other non cricket related headlines being made.
The current one is of course the unseemly Shashi Tharoor controversy and his would be involvement and alleged personal stake in the new Kochi IPL franchise. It is the position of the minister of state that he has nothing to gain and that he is hurt by the slurs cast on his integrity by an opportunistic opposition. Apparently he wanted only to redress the position of Kerala being the only south Indian state not having its own IPL team.
Even with images of the rather glamourous Sunanada Pushkar and her involvement with Tharoor being splashed around, one is inclined to believe the minister of state for external affairs that most of this is political opportunism. And the scandal has raised larger issues of the ownership of all the IPL teams which the omnipresent Lalit Modi may now find difficult to answer.
Most of us who are watching the actual cricket have probably seen the doleful visage of India’s biggest film star Shah Rukh Khan as he watches any chances of this team reaching the semis go down the tubes. SRK who apologized to KKR supporters for the team’s continuing poor performance, is receiving solace from an unexpected quarter; it is Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne who tweeted this to SRK: "Hey buddy you're a champion and your charisma is something (that) I'm sure inspires a lot of people. Hang in there, sport is cruel sometimes."
Another dismal celebrity face to be seen in the stadium is that of Kings XI Punjab co owner Preity Zinta whose team is at the bottom of the table. Zinta, when not praying for divine intervention to change the fortunes of her team is busy denying rumours that the team is being sold. There is a strong indication that the owners are keen to sell the Mohali franchise and that star player Yuvraj Singh is also looking to exit since being deposed as captain.
As for the actual cricket, with the semifinals just days away, Mumbai Indians are the only team who are sure of a semifinal berth leading the points tally with 18 points. The other teams most likely to be in the semis are Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils. As of now no one team is fully out of the competition so things are still very even stevens and technically any of 7 teams can still make it to the semi finals.