Virat Kohli
File picture: India's Virat Kohli hits a six to win the match against England in the second T20I, at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. Image Credit: REUTERS

What does IPL mean to you?

IPL means a fairy tale to me, which was born in 2008 when dreams were sowed by Lalit Modi, the man whose brain child IPL was. The fruits of that were borne by players, coaches, support staff, BCCI, team owners and everyone associated with IPL.

It's a two-month carnival, which will be in its 14th edition starting from April 9 this year, when the world will come to a standstill and follow their super stars and their favorite franchise with passion and fervor. It's the biggest franchise league in world cricket, where upcoming Indian players are able to rub shoulders and share the dressing room with the very best.

Anis Sajan

Every year, we see a new star born and with every passing year the standard of cricket in IPL gets better and better. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the IPL was a big hit with the TRP ratings breaking all records, and it won't be a surprise if the trend continues this year too.

Which team are you supporting this year? And why?

I generally support all teams, but this year I am backing the Royal Challengers Bangalore and hoping them to win their first ever IPL. There are many reasons to it, first and foremost Virat Kohli, the King Maker, has a point to prove to everyone doubting his credentials as a T20 captain for not winning even once this coveted IPL trophy in its history of 13 years.

Secondly, with the T20 World Cup happening in late October this year, Virat Kohli would know at the back of his mind how much confidence he would get, if he wins the IPL heading in to the World T20 in front of his home crowd. Virat has got in to great form against England in the recently concluded T20 bilateral series leading from the front and also making a statement that he would also be opening for RCB this year, along with Devidutt Padikkal who scored five centuries in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy. 360 Degree Player AB De Villiers, X factor and Showman Glenn Maxwell along with young Mohammed Azharuddeen and all-rounder Shabaz Nadeem makes the batting order very imposing.

Moreover, RCB has got KYLE Jamieson of New Zealand, who along with Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini and Daniel Sam to boost the bowling. Finally, the biggest plus is that RCB won't be playing at the small ground of M Chinnaswamy Stadium, where defending a total was a big headache for Virat’s bowlers in the past and it will give his spinners the extra cushion playing on other grounds. Hence, I believe and back Angry Young Man Virat Kohli’s team to lift their first title this year.