The Indian Premier League, indeed all Twenty20 cricket, was designed to thrill – thrill, but from the batting point of view. As if cricket wasn't skewed in favour of batsmen anyway, T20 took things to the next level where bowlers were merely sideshows. Bring in a Hindi movie parallel, and bowlers would be akin to the hero's best friend or the bumbling fat man who brings on the laughs. Someone has to bowl those 20 overs.
If you look at the IPL though, almost imperceptibly, a revolution of sorts has taken place since those early days in 2008. When it started, the bowlers seemed to have accepted their fate. The four-over workday seemed to suit them, and even IPL captains seemed okay with easily conceded runs. Matches, after all, were won and lost by batsmen.
But as is so often the case, practice confounds theory. Bowlers can make a big difference, and it's only after the first couple of seasons that this reality started hitting home. Sure, 'experts' now claim to have known all along that this is how it would pan out, but they were surprisingly quiet through all the churning. Take the case of Sunil Gavaskar, who told me back in 2008: "The IPL will work because fans like nothing better than big sixes and lots of fours. And the acrobatic fielding will certainly get the fans excited."