No matter what anyone says, I firmly believe that as long as India loves cricket, IPL will continue to be a huge hit.

Which basically means forever. 

IPL crowd
Source: ESPN Cricinfo

People will always turn up to the stadiums, always tune in to sports channels and always have their loyalties fixed - to players, if not to teams.

However, there are times when I think of the first season of the Indian Premier League. 

KKR in 2008
Source: Sports Craazy

Another firm belief: Nothing can be more iconic than that mix of cricketers. It was so good, it seemed surreal.

Ganguly and McCullum
Source: ESPN

I remember when the auctions happened, my first thought was: 'So you're telling me Sourav Ganguly and Shoaib Akhtar are going to play for the same side?'. 

shoaib akhat sourav ganguly in IPL
Source: NDTV
Shoaib Akhtar with Shah Rukh Khan
Source: News 18

As in, Dada will captain Shoaib? They will high-5 each other when wickets fall?

dada and shoaib for KKR
Source: Hindustan Times

What in the world!

And that was just one of the legendary combinations. Does anyone remember Shaun Pollock and Sachin Tendulkar playing together for Mumbai Indians? What a delight it was.

sachin shaun pollock mumbai indians
Source: Batting With Bimal

Pollock - the South African icon. Sachin - well, God. Both inching towards the end of their careers, both knowing the game inside out. 

Unbelievable brilliance and 32 years of experience between the two of them.

The mix just kept getting better. For perspective, the CSK squad of 2008 included:

MS Dhoni
Ravichandran Ashwin
Lakshmipathy Balaji
Stephen Fleming
Matthew Hayden
Albie Morkel
Muttiah Muralitharan
Makhaya Ntini
Suresh Raina

Csk 2008
Source: Yahoo Cricket

I mean, would you look at that? Ravichandran Ashwin, Muttiah Muralitharan and Stephen Fleming in the same team? 

This seems like a video game where you get to choose whichever cricketer you like to build your team.

csk 2008 squad
Source: Sportskeeda

To no one's surprise, the team went to the final and was pitched as expected winners. 

However, underdogs Rajasthan Royals came from behind and registered a surprising victory in the maiden IPL.

Rajasthan Royals 2008 squad
Source: Sportskeeda

To give you an idea of how high the standards were, this team team of 'underdogs' included names like Shane Warne, Mohammad Kaif, Darren Lehmann, Graeme Smith and Shane Watson.

What to even say!

Rajasthan Royals IPL 2008
Source: Amar Ujala
Rajasthan Royals 2008 squad
Source: Sportskeeda

And who can forget, Dravid, Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and a very young Virat Kohli playing together for RCB?!

RCB 2008 squad
Source: Sports Craazy
royal challengers banagalore
Source: The Hindu

With age catching up with many of these legends, they turned towards coaching. Meanwhile some of them never played the IPL again for personal and political reasons. 

kings XI Punjab 2008
Source: Livemint
Dhoni ganguly ipl 2008
Source: NDTV
IPL 2018 deccan chargers
Source: Sportzwiki

So all in all, while IPL will always continue to draw attention, its first season was stuff of dreams and can never ever be replicated. It was something else.