Former India cricketer Ravi Shastri has recalled the first day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 and said that the kind of people that came to support the league it looked like the entire nation was united to come there and watch the match.
Fifteen years ago, the world of cricket was transformed forever with the birth of the IPL — a league that captured the hearts of fans across the globe with its incredible drama and unforgettable moments.
From Brendon McCullum’s historic 158 not out off 73 in the inaugural match, to the rise of young talents like Ravindra Jadeja, the IPL has provided a platform for both established stars and up-and-coming players to showcase their skills on the biggest stage. As the IPL marks its 15th anniversary, this league has had a profound impact on the sport of cricket.
It has not only revolutionised the way the game is played but also given a golden ticket to countless young cricketers who have gone on to achieve incredible success at the highest levels of the sport.
In a chat with Star Sports, the official television broadcasters of the IPL 2023, on the ‘Stars on Star’ show, India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja spoke on how his experiences in the IPL have differed over the years, from winning the inaugural edition in 2008 with Rajasthan Royals to becoming a multiple time winner with Chennai Super Kings.
“IPL 2008 was the first year, so there was a lot of excitement with the new and big tournament and we U19 players used to think about Indian team players who will be a part of this IPL like MSD, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh etc. So I was excited thinking about which team I’ll go and play,” says Jadeja.
“But in IPL 2018, it was an emotional moment for us in CSK, because we came back after a break of two years. Fans were also waiting for CSK to come back and play in Chepauk Stadium. So winning the tournament after the comeback was something very special. CSK fans who waited for us and even supported the team in those 2 years even when we didn’t play, that gave us a lot of motivation,” he added.
From the electrifying atmosphere in the stadiums to the fierce rivalries between the teams, the IPL has become an integral part of the cricketing calendar, drawing in millions of fans and spectators from around the world. And with each passing year, the league continues to raise the bar, pushing the limits of what is possible and providing fans with unforgettable moments that will be cherished for years to come.
“I remember that day very well, I was backstage, I was with the governing council, and I knew what was happening behind the scenes. How are players being signed, and how much interest was there? India won the World Cup in 2007, so because of that, the amount of interest that was created was unbelievable.
“And the one thing that I saw that never happened in other formats of the game, the kind of people that came to support it, it looked like the entire nation was united to come there and watch the match. The advertising industry, cricket fans, Bollywood, Kollywood, Tollywood, you name it, everyone was there. And the quality of cricket that was seen from the first game itself, there was no substitute for that,” said former India head coach Shastri, while reminiscing the first day of the IPL.
Shastri also spoke about what made the league one of the powerhouses of world cricket.
“And if you look at all the players who played a part in this, the quality of cricket was so good that it took off. But the final stamp on the IPL came when we went to South Africa. To go there and to see that South Africa saw the IPL with the same interest as India, that shocked the world. Because by that time, people around the world had started picking teams. What you see in football now, that had happened in the IPL from the second season itself,” the noted commentator said.
“The EPL has been going on for years, teams like Arsenal and Manchester United, but here in two years fans in IPL had their teams — Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings or Royal Challengers Bangalore,” he added.