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The Champions League can't do without Don Corleone


The Godfather: Don Corleone

Imagine how 'The Godfather' would pan out if Don Corleone played by Marlon Brando was killed off right in the beginning. Before he can make an offer that can't be refused, 'the Godfather' is shot. Who would tell Johnny to 'act like a man?' Who would teach him that a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man? Without all these values enunciated to the audience in a hoarse yet calm voice, the movie wouldn't hold as much gravitas. It would still be good, but not as good.

The IPL contingent in the Champions League is the Corleone family. The champion of the IPL season becomes Vito Corleone, the head of the family. The Champions League is the mafia war with the other teams enacting the roles of Luca Brazi et al. Kolkata Knight Riders were knocked out of this tournament. If one were to extend the metaphor, it would mean Don Vito Corleone was assassinated pretty early. Due to poor planning, foreign conditions and a few of the Don's henchmen being woefully out of form, the champion of the IPL has been knocked out before the actual war begins. Next in line for the throne is Michael Corleone, the son. In this case CSK is the prodigal son. They are known to be slow starters just like Michael, who at first does not want to step into the family business but eventually folds and becomes the best freakin' Don of all time. Unfortunately CSK too had a bad tournament.

The Delhi Daredevils is Robert De Niro. The young, dynamic and fearless past of the Godfather. They are the only IPL team which has secured a win albeit against another IPL team. Following the script of the movie, this team is supposed to be destined for greatness. They have good batsmen and bowlers who know how to extort the pitch of every ounce of movement. Alas! The semi-final proved too much for them.

The Mumbai Indians shouldn't even be part of this CLT20. But they have something the other teams are fighting for – the Champions League trophy. The Mumbai Indians would be akin to Connie Corleone. The Don's feeble daughter who falls in love with the wrong guy. She's the reason the war begins in the first place.

There has been a lot of debate about the inclusion of four teams from the IPL while champions from other nations play qualifiers. However, without this family, the war isn't as interesting. The other boards realize this and have no complaints. They should simply enjoy the green that is headed their way for sending teams. From the cricketing point of view, it isn't unusual that the IPL teams are losing. With the matches being held in South Africa, the Indian batsmen were never going to find it easy. They would have been hoping their foreign players made up for the inefficiency against seam and bounce. To be fair, Suresh Raina did play a handy knock in CSK's first game. But none of the Indian batsmen have been able to prove that the IPL is a real test of cricketing skills.

It begs the question though, what happens to the league if the IPL teams under-perform, as is the case this season. Will the league manage to captivate the interest? Are the other matches currently getting as much attendance and viewership? Every cricket board knows that the success of the Champions League depends on the responsiveness of the Indian market. Without Indian teams, a favourable response is highly unlikely. Yet there are too many parties involved for such a huge tournament to simply fade away. As is human nature, something will be done to adapt and make the Champions League more interesting. It only remains to be seen what and when...

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