New Delhi:Jaw-dropping action, nerve-wrecking thriller, high glamour quotient and song-and-dance to boot, the Indian Premier League is threatening Bollywood's popularity across the border, according to Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik.
Popular Hindi movies have traditionally, and often stealthily, managed their ways to the other side of the Line of Control. But of late, the Pakistanis have discovered a new source of wholesome entertainment in the form of the ongoing IPL, said Malik.
"People there have lapped it up like movies. It's like enjoying a cinema with popcorn. The three-hour duration (of the matches) also helped to create the craze," Malik, part of the IPL Delhi Daredevils squad, said on Thursday.
Along with the rest of the people in Pakistan, Malik and his team-mates were also hooked on to IPL matches even when they were playing against Bangladesh in the just-concluded ODI series.
"Even when we were playing Bangladesh, we saw the IPL matches in the dressing room," he said.
Malik had no qualms admitting that the IPL's standard was higher than that of Pakistan's recent series against Bangladesh.
"The competition is definitely tougher (in IPL). So many international players are involved and each team can have only four foreigners, so the competition is naturally intense."
Malik rates his team among the top three strongest sides of the IPL and seemed in awe of his captain Virender Sehwag.
"I saw the first match of the team on television. The team has got great combination. Our fielding is superb and if you can save 20-25 runs in a match, that makes a hell lot of difference. As batsmen, Delhi players are naturally hard-hitting and we have a quality bowling attack as well."
On Sehwag, who butchered the Deccan Chargers with a buccaneering unbeaten 94 off just 41 balls, Malik said, "He would have gone on to score 160-170 that day. But we soon overwhelmed the target. I was padded up for I was supposed to go out next."
"When a player was in that form, it gives a lot of confidence to the next man in. Sehwag is a great player."
On his part, Malik said he has not left any stone unturned in his preparation for the Twenty20 extravaganza.
Stressing on the need of improvisation in this slam-bang format of the game, the Pakistani captain said, "I have been practising the scoop shot to perfect it and whenever I get the chance, I would play the shot."