After months of drought, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to pad up to bring live cricket back for millions of cricket fans. As the newest season readies to kick off on Saturday, we speak to a few cricket aficionados, from Bollywood, about their hot favourite teams/players.
“For me, it has always been Sachin Tendulkar first, and then cricket (smiles). So, traditionally, I’ve always been a Mumbai Indians supporter, especially till the time he was a part of it. But this year, I also want to see how the ‘young’ Delhi Capitals perform. Also, let’s see if Chennai Super Kings can do it again, for MS Dhoni as many feel it could be his last IPL. Vis-a-vis players, besides the obvious ones, I want to see Pawan Negi and KL Rahul in action. I am sure the latter would want to do well, so that he could make a comeback to the Indian team,” says actor and cricket fanatic, Saiyami Kher.
For director Anees Bazmee, “more than teams, it has always been about watching quality cricketers perform well at the highest level.” He says: “In terms of players, I will be watching out for many, including the obvious biggies such as Dhoni and Virat Kohli etc. but also Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Shane Watson and Trent Boult, among others. I am crazy about cricket, so I will definitely catch up on the games when I am not shooting.”
Filmmaker R Balki, too, looks forward to “watching some top talents in action.” He explains: “More than backing any particular team, if a Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, or Dhoni-Watson are playing well, I am all for witnessing such brilliance. But one player I really forward to in action is Sanju Samson. He is a really talented guy and I hope he can shine through this year.”
Actor Saqib Saleem, who has had a stint with professional cricket, counts Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings as his “favourites for various reasons such as Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Dhoni (respectively).” “Also, MS has retired (from international cricket) so I am sure we would all want to watch him in action. Delhi Capitals also looks very good this year with a young team,” he says, adding: “Among players, I am looking forward to watch youngsters such as Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Riyan Parag and Shubman Gill in action, among others such as Rishabh Pant.”