As IPL gets underway, it’s time to celebrate the accomplishments of the modest men who have a lot to be modest about.

The Indian Premier League is the greatest show on earth for the has-beens, could-have-beens, some-day-will-bes and never-will-bes of cricket. It’s a dazzling menagerie of the mediocre with a profusion of guest appearances from overpaid champions, fading movie stars, screaming commentators and export-reject cheerleaders. The real heroes of the IPL are the Swapnil Asnodkars, the Rajat Bhatias, the Bharat Chiplis, and the Shadab Jakatis who nudge, edge, slash and reverse sweep their way out of adversity using clunky techniques shackled only by the limitations of their limitations. Without the underwhelming cameos of these unsung players, nail-biting matches will become a monotony of wham-bam-whack-thwacks. Here’s our little ode to the underdogs of underperformance.

The Man Who Scored The First Duck

Pioneers are rarely appreciated in their lifetimes. Van Gogh sold just one painting when he was alive. Galileo was placed under house arrest for his discoveries. Middle-order batsman Balachandra Akhil of RCB runs the risk of suffering the same fate as he did the unimaginable. The intrepid young man scored the first-ever duck in the first-ever match in IPL when he nicked one to the slips rewarding Agarkar with a surprise wicket. Many have emulated Akhil’s feat but none showed the courage to embrace the cipher when it mattered. For his historic knock, we bestow the ‘Alan Naught’ title on the Bangalore bloke.

The Man Who Leaked The Most Runs

Light has no value without darkness. Goodness can never be treasured without evil. Life feels hollow without death. Likewise, a great batting performance can never exist in a vacuum. Someone must bowl pathetically to make the good appear great. Varun Aaron of Delhi Daredevils bore the cross in IPL5 when he selflessly gave away 63 runs in 4 overs to help CSK coast to victory. He was particularly generous to Murali Vijay and Dwayne Bravo who milked 41 runs from his death overs. For leaking like a sieve, we gift Varun Rodney Aaron, the ‘Sieve Waugh’ award.

The Most Expensive Buffet Bowler

Cricket is a violent sport. Imagine getting pounded seven times in a space of 5 minutes, with a brutish bat weighing 1.4 kilos, swishing at a dangerous speed of 60 kilometres per hour. That’s what Prasanth Parameswaran experienced in IPL4 when he was smacked for 37 runs by a raging bull named Chris Gayle. The Kochi Tusker was belted for 6,6,4,4,6,6,4 from a no-ball tainted over. For being roasted and toasted, we shall crown Prasanth with the ‘Alistair Cooked’ award.

The Man With The Worst Economy Rate

You can solve the Rubik’s Cube in 5.66 seconds but you can never guess the holder of this record. It’s not R.P. Singh, Siddharth Trivedi, Mashrafe Mortaza or V.R.V. Singh. It’s not even the spray artist Agarkar. The credit for delivering18 runs an over goes to the one and only Virat Kohli. He managed this against CSK in IPL5 when he gave away 36 runs from 2 excruciating overs. For achieving a higher economy rate than Dr. Manmohan Singh with a humble ball, Virat deserves the ‘Dennis Silly’ Award.

The Man Who Bowled The Longest Over

It takes German-like precision to do exactly the same thing over and over again. Munaf Patel pulled this off in IPL5 when he bowled 10 balls in one over! Representing Mumbai Indians, Munaf displayed his robotic streak by repeating the fourth delivery an incredible four times by unleashing a Wide, No Ball, No Ball and Wide. For prolonging his agony in pursuit of perfection, Munaf is hereby knighted as ‘Sir Henry Oh Longa’!

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