Fans root for mystery IPL blogger’s identity, vote in thousands

By Anik Basu, IANS,

New Delhi : Even as the general elections head towards a climax, there’s another poll unfolding – in cyberspace.

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Between Saturday and Monday evening, nearly 29,000 readers of – an Indian Premier League (IPL)-related blog that has spawned a cult following within the country and the Indian diaspora – have cast their vote to decide whether the mystery writer should reveal his identity or not.

The unknown blogger may not have turned out even once for his Kolkata Knight Riders team owned by actor Shah Rukh Khan, his rib-tickling posts have endeared him to thousands of fans, and attracted coverage by prestigious newspapers such as Britain’s Telegraph and Independent.

“You rock, dude”, is one of the most common refrains among fans, an overwhelming bulk of whom now wants to know who the cricketer-writer is, or if he is a cricketer in the first place, given his “mastery” over the English language.

Interestingly, the poll process has been initiated by the blogger himself, who goes by the moniker FIP (Fake IPL Player) and describes himself as a no-hope bench-warmer in a team that is at the bottom of the IPL heap with three measly points from 10 outings.

The voting follows a May 9 post headlined “It’s decision time folks”, where FIP wrote: “I had mentioned (in an earlier piece) about my decision to reveal my identity at the end of IPL… Whether FIP’s identity should be disclosed or not, or how it should be taken forward, is as much as your decision as mine. I am putting up a poll on the right side. Pls take a few seconds to make your decision.”

Alongside the post, FIP put up six categories, against any of which the blog’s fans are required to mark their votes:

Yes, stick to your word man (to reveal his identity)

Yes, I’d like to see your a** kicked

No, let it (identity) remain a mystery

No, I fear for your safety

No, I want this to continue

Who cares a f**k?

Till a little before 8 p.m. Monday, nearly 19,000 blog fans or 64 percent of the total “voters” till then had plugged for the faceless writer’s identity to be revealed.

Wrote a fan under the pseudonym “Anonymous”, echoing thousands of others: “of course! want your identity to be revealed. be a sport man! ppl wl love u all the more!”

There are others who noted his “celeb status”, and advised him to hire a consultant to guide his career post-cricket, while another – clearly a die hard groupie – appeals rather plaintively: “If you reveal your identity and get your a** kicked, how can you do this next year?”

The popularity of the posts, most of which have attracted over 500 comments, stem from FIP’s wicked wit, tongue-in-cheek sexual innuendoes, juicy details of players’ drinking binges or womanising, and outrageous nicknames for fellow cricketers, the support staff, team owners including Shah Rukh, and IPL bosses and commentators.

Wrote he after a particularly humiliating loss that fuelled talks of staff sackings: “While our fielding coach was busy browsing, our Throwing Coach accusingly glared at our wicketkeeping coach every time Skipper and Buddhiman Baba (Brendon McCullum and Wriddhiman Saha, both wicketkeepers) had their slip-ups in the outfield.”

Then, not contented with taking a dig at these two coaches, FIP went for chief coach John Buchanan, referred to as “Bhookha Naan” in the blog: “I am waiting for the day Bhookha blames global warming for our performance.”

Understandably, FIP’s team management is livid, but the readers find the blog “awesome”. Little wonder that the online edition of Britain’s Telegraph newspaper ran a story under the headline “Fake IPL Player lights up Kolkata Knight Riders camp in South Africa”.

And light up it has, and promises to do so for at least four more days – when polling ends.