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Buckle up, it’s time for the IPL 2021 to begin! To get us started, we have Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, taking on Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. Tonight we’ll see Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah facing off against AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Yuzvendra Chahal. If this blog doesn’t load for you, click here.
You can also follow our ball-by-ball commentary here.
Click here for the full live scorecard.
What if I told you we could put together all the awesome Cricinfo content in one place so you don’t have to go looking. And what if I told you that place is here?
Aakash Chopra has declared he will be training his binoculars to focus on a select group of players this IPL, men who can have a big impact on their teams winning the tournament.
Among the multitude of people MS Dhoni has influenced is Rishabh Pant. The 23-year-old became the fifth-youngest captain in the IPL after the Delhi Capitals appointed Pant as the interim captain this season after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due shoulder surgery. At his first toss Pant will walk out with Dhoni, on Saturday, and he has promised to expect something different.
Millions mean nothing to Glenn Maxwell, who has said he wants to be a “positive influence” on the group. But former Indian opener and IPL-winning captain Gautam Gambhir reminds Maxwell here that why it is important for him to be consistent, something he was in 2014 IPL when he won the Most Valuable Player award.
Talking about impact players, there are few who can match Kieron Pollard, who has been the key backbone for five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians, the team he joined in 2009 IPL. And it was Pollard’s knock in the final of the 2013 edition that helped Mumbai win their first title. Pollard’s 32-ball 60 is among ESPNcricinfo’s Greatest IPL Performances series.
There are also a host of expansive interviews to choose from: T Natarajan talks about his fairy tale journey since the last IPL. Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara returns to the IPL after seven years, to a format he believes is a “piece of cake”. T20 specialist Dan Christian returns to the IPL after a forgettable outing last time, and is ready to make a mark even as he will turn 38 during the tournament at the Royal Challengers.
Robin Uthappa reveals how he is coming into grips with specialist roles of a topo-order batsman that has evolved rapidly.
Also have a listen to the IPL-10 series where Shubman Gill talks about not only scoring the “most runs” but also dominating a bowler, that has been among the best bowlers in the tournament for the past few years. Others in this series include Shakib-Al-Hasan, who is back in the IPL, at Kolkata Knight Riders and wants to score a 100 and take 5-for.
Also get ready for some key changes to the IPL playing conditions: no more soft signal, cap on the time for multiple super overs, and third umpire to rule on a short run.
Finally, Alan Gardner analyses why 40 is the new 30 in T20 cricket.
It is not all normal at Cricinfo. There’s a Covid baby here. Please welcome the newest member of the family, Cricinfo Hindi. This is from a welcome note from our editor Sambit Bal. And here is the first live Hindi scorecard on Cricinfo
Technology makes it possible today to get descriptions from raw data or to create instant translation. But that would never have felt right. Communication is a deeply personal experience: it requires individuality, personality, quirks and human imperfection. Ball-by-ball commentary is the heartbeat of our site, it needs flesh and blood. Over the years, you have related to our commentators, bantered with them, sent them your affection and cursed them too. It’s a ride, and it’s very human.
So we now have a team that will bring Hindi commentary to you, with all the flavours that the language merits and you deserve. We have spent the last few weeks discussing tone and temper and words and idioms, and we have been energised by the new flush of enthusiasm in our commentary team. But now we will let their natural impulse and instinct take over. Engage with them, let them know what you like and what you don’t and we will learn together. And, while at it, you can follow ESPNcricinfo Hindi on Facebook and on Twitter.
It’s been a hard hard year/
Pushing shit uphill/
But shit happens all the time/
And I guess it always will
Now the days are getting long/
Summer’s on its way/
I can’t wait for Christmas/
‘Cause the day after Christmas is Boxing Day
You’ll know where to find me/
Ten rows back at the MCG/
Right behind the bowler’s arm/
Right behind the bowler’s arm
That is the legendary Paul Kelly’s legendary welcome to the grand occasion of Boxing Day Test in Australia. We are living a dystopian version of this song in India and in the rest of the world. It’s been a – pardon my French – shitty year-and-a-half, and I really don’t know if cricket or any sport can provide a distraction from what is going on. All I know is, any activity going on with any semblance of normalcy is a message that we need to get up and keep living and working no matter what. So here is to a somewhat normal IPL 2021
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo