And yet when it came time to pick a player of the tournament, power-hitting Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Chris Gayle won the distinction hands down. The orange-cap owner, who struck up the most number of runs for an individual player in the tournament should be definitely lauded for his efforts, especially considering he began his run-race with a handicap of 4 matches (as he joined the tourney late). But why was the praise for pedigree fast bowler in Lasith Malinga lost in the shuffle?
Such a denoument only lends credence to the commonplace, but controversially-held belief that cricket is a batter's game, especially the Twenty20 format. Considering that in such a hotly contested arena as the IPL, Malinga remained top of the wicket-taking charts for almost the entire tournament, he should have been handed commensurate recognition: a joint Man of the Series award with Chris Gayle, perhaps.
It is a little known but important fact that in the one-day World Cup, teams which make it to the semi-finals and finals owe a large part of their success to the remarkable performances of their bowlers. Australia would not have been three-times' champions on the trot if it had not been for the menacing prowess of Glenn McGrath, while Zaheer Khan was also instrumental in India winning the global event thanks to his joint-highest haul of 21 wickets with Pakistan's Shahid Afridi.
But even on that stage, the most valuable player is usually a willow-wielder. Thankfully, the winds of change are motion as was evident in the World Cup earlier this year when an all-rounder was named MVP - Yuvraj Singh. But one wonders if IPL will ever accord the best bowlers the recognition they deserve.