After more weeks than is worth counting, the end of the IPL is once again upon us. Which means we go back to not knowing what to do with our evenings. On that depressing thought, we bring to you Wrong ’Uns, My Kolkata’s weekly awards that promises to honour the brilliant and the bizarre (often one and the same) during the IPL season.
For our eighth and final instalment of 2023, we launch a new award (more like a tribute), retain our most prolific categories and send the White Cap outside India, hoping its wearer will not have to declare his embarrassment at customs.
The Socrates Award for Best On-Field Dialogue
Even as their teammates were busy tracking proceedings in Bengaluru, Tilak Varma and Cameron Green found the time to reflect on the latter’s magnificent hundred that gave the Mumbai Indians (MI) a crucial victory against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Sunday. Commenting on the fantastic support enjoyed by MI at the Wankhede Stadium as well as how Green coordinated with Suryakumar Yadav to ensure the former got to three figures, this is another heartwarming post-match chat between players who may never have known each other were it not for the IPL.
The Yudhishthir Award for Unfiltered Honesty
For the first time in the history of Wrong ‘Uns, a pitch curator wins this category, thanks to some no-nonsense articulation of facts. Following KKR’s elimination from the IPL, captain Nitish Rana complained how every team in the competition gets home advantage “except KKR”. This provoked a winsome response from Sujan Mukherjee, the pitch curator at the Eden Gardens, who said: “IPL isn’t played on home advantage, and the captain may say anything he wants… Does IPL have a clause where it is written that pitches have to be produced according to the wishes of the IPL franchise?”
Most Startling Statistic of the Week
With an eighth placed finish this season, the Punjab Kings (PBKS) have now failed to qualify for the IPL playoffs for the ninth successive time, the worst record for any side in IPL history. The last time PBKS were in the running during the knockouts was in 2014, when they finished runners-up to Kolkata. In fact, out of their 16 total seasons in the competition, Punjab have only made it to the last stage twice, with the other occasion being the inaugural edition of the IPL.
The Most Outlandish Kit
In a rather tacky example of cross-franchise solidarity (read marketing), the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) took to the Eden Gardens against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) decked in maroon and green in what appeared to be a tribute as much to their owner as to the fandom of Kolkatans for Mohun Bagan (which is apparently also a Super Giant now). Even though their cricket on the night was full of poise and elegance, their kit lacked taste in more ways than one.
The MSD Award for MSD Things
Yes, we got carried away. Yes, we named an award after a man with the explicit intention of giving him the same award. Yes, we admit that our intuition tells us that this same man has won across more categories than anyone else in the history of Wrong ‘Uns. And so, for what is possibly the last time ever, we acknowledge Mahendra Singh Dhoni for something only he could do against the Gujarat Titans (GT) in the first qualifier. With Rashid Khan the only barrier between CSK and a spot in the IPL final, Dhoni asked Devon Conway at deep extra cover to move ever so slightly to his left ahead of the third ball of the 19th over from Tushar Deshpande. The result? The next delivery found Conway exactly where he was placed. Rashid was back in the pavilion and Dhoni had proven his genius once more.
The Sachin Tendulkar Award for Shot of the Season
There have been better, bolder and more breathtaking shots than this one in this year’s IPL. But something about Shubman Gill smashing a six straight past the bowler to end the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) hopes for the playoffs screamed impact. Not least because it came on a night that seemed to belong to Virat Kohli, before Gill produced an even better century to upstage RCB’s talisman, something that would have made Sachin Tendulkar very happy for a number of reasons!
The Easter Award for Remarkable Resurrection
When KKR lost Andre Russell at 120 for five against LSG at the Eden Gardens, the home team still needed 57 runs off 26 balls. LSG were cruising to victory but for the presence of one man. That man, so often the saviour for KKR this season, was Rinku Singh, who pulled out the big guns one last time in IPL 2023. Rinku’s belligerent knock of 67 off just 33 balls brought KKR within one run of a sensational victory. In the end, LSG prevailed by the narrowest margin possible, but not before Rinku had resurrected some much-needed pride among the KKR fans.
The White Cap
Barring a century at Eden, Harry Brook has had an IPL to forgetTT archives
How much is a run from Harry Brook worth this IPL? The answer is a mind-boggling Rs 7,00,000. After being roped in for Rs 13.25 crore at the auction, Brook could only muster 190 runs in 11 innings at a modest strike rate of 123.38, with no more than four sixes to his name. If you set aside his century at Eden, he averages less than 10 in his remaining innings. Suddenly, his brash comments after his Eden exploits do not sound particularly wise. Either way, at least Brook can take something back from his maiden IPL adventure apart from disappointments — our unenviable White Cap, which, unlike most Indian students going to the UK, should come back to home soil. In time for next year’s awards.