ADMITTEDLY, it is early days, but so far the IPL has been a roaring success. Certainly the novelty will wear off, but this form of the game has all of the attractions and none of the disadvantages of a one-night stand, and they show little sign of falling from favour. All sorts of long-forgotten fuddy duddies have condemned them (T20 matches, that is), but the crowds have spoken and the cricket has been exciting. Somehow, the matches have managed to be both light-hearted and weighty, not unlike George Clooney. But even T20 is mere smoke and mirrors without a high standard of cricket. Modern crowds demand the best and ignore the rest. They see the top notchers on TV and it makes lesser fare seem dull. IPL grasped that point and set out to sign the best players around and to pit them against each other in a reasonably meaningful contest. Really there is no other way to hold a large audience. On Wednesday night, viewers were offered Matthew Hayden, Harbhajan Singh and Jacob Oram and company or Manchester United and Barcelona. Although the choice might have been easy in some quarters, at least the game was putting up a fight.