IPL 2020 is finally here

3 August 2020
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IPL 2020

The 2020 Indian Premier League, also known as IPL 13 and officially known as Vivo IPL, is scheduled to be the thirteenth season of the IPL, a professional Twenty20 cricket league established by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2007. The tournament was originally scheduled to commence on 29th March 2020 but was suspended until 15th April due to the global coronavirus pandemic. After Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on 14th April that the lockdown in India would last until at least 3rd May 2020, the BCCI suspended the tournament indefinitely. In July 2020, after the International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the 2020 edition of the Men’s T20 World Cup, the BCCI requested to host the tournament in the United Arab Emirates from 26th September to 8th November 2020. On 24th July 2020, it was confirmed that the tournament would start on 19th September 2020, with the final on either 8th or 10th November 2020. IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed on Friday (July 24th). 

The post-announcement reaction

The announcement has brought relief to fans, broadcasters and sponsors alike. He confirmed the schedule, although the Indian board is still awaiting a green signal from the government for taking IPL out of India. “We have written to the Indian government. We are expecting a reply soon. Once it comes in, an IPL governing council meeting will be called next week to finalise all the other details.” said the Chairman. Earlier in the week, the BCCI had zeroed in on the United Arab Emirates as the venue for the 13th edition of the tournament after long deliberations of hosting it in India had failed following the worsening of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. The Emirates Cricket Board, and SLC, had approached the BCCI with the offer of playing host to the IPL, stating that they had the required infrastructure for it. With the ICC postponing the Men’s T20 World Cup (originally scheduled to be held from October 18th to November 15th) a window opened up for IPL to be held.

Background

The BCCI released the specifics of the fixture on 18th February 2020. The league stage was scheduled to begin on 29th March 2020 with the opening match between the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings, the finalists of the previous season, at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray declared on 12th March that IPL matches can only be held in the state if they are played in empty stadiums. Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia announced that no IPL matches will be played in Delhi.

On 13th March, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI postponed the tournament until 15th April. The decision on the postponement was made by the Governing Council after consultation with the owners of all eight franchise teams. On 9th April, with India under a national lockdown, a BCCI official told that the Board was considering hosting the tournament in July or during the winter, probably behind closed doors. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on 14th April 2020 that the lockdown in India would continue until at least 3rd May 2020 and the tournament postponed further. The next day, BCCI postponed the tournament indefinitely due to a pandemic.

Sri Lanka agreed to host the tournament on 17th April 2020. On 17th May 2020, the Government of India relaxed nation-wide restrictions on sporting activities, enabling competitions to take place behind closed doors. On 24th May, Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju announced that the decision on whether or not to allow the tournament to take place in 2020 will be taken by the Government of India based on the “pandemic situation.” News reports on 17th July suggested that the BCCI was considering hosting the tournament in the United Arab Emirates between the tentative dates of 26th September and 7th November.

Full Coverage

It means that after the postponement of the T20 World Cup in Australia, the BCCI planned out a 51-day window for the IPL, the same as last year, eliminating more double-headers. Playing two matches on the same day has been a point of contention for broadcasters who are unable to exploit the afternoon matches in the same way as the late evening fixtures. And when the double-headers are scheduled, they are reserved for weekends. The same formula will be used when the timeline is eventually given shape.

The Full schedule

When the governing council meets next week, it will have other decisions to take, whether the home and away format can be retained this year or not. There are three venues in the UAE namely Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai, where matches can be staged. Dubai itself has two grounds. Apart from the main stadium, there is also the ICC academy ground where T20 internationals of Associate Nations have been staged. Also, the modalities of expenditure, how much would be borne by the franchises and by the board will have to be finalised. “All these issues will be decided by the governing council,” Patel said.

Crowd management

Crowd management

The meeting will also decide if IPL-13 can have limited crowds, now that the coronavirus health situation is a lot better there. “We will seek the advice of the UAE government if we can have any crowds,” he said. UAE opened its borders to tourism on 7th July and has no compulsory quarantine period.

Personnel changes

Captain Ravichandran Ashwin of King XI Punjab was traded to Delhi Capitals in November 2019. Ajinkya Rahane, Trent Boult and Mayank Markande received salary increases during the pre-auction trades. The players released were revealed on 15th November 2019. Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh and Chris Lynn were the most popular names among the players released. Jaydev Unadkat, the most expensive Indian player in the 2019 auction, was also released. In the 2020 transfer window, there were 12 moves between teams.

The auction of players for the 2020 season took place in Kolkata on 19th December 2019. Pat Cummins became the most expensive player purchased by the Knight Riders of Kolkata for Rs 15.5 crore ( US$ 2.2 million). The most expensive Indian player sold was Piyush Chawla for Rs 6.75 crore (US$950,000) to Chennai Super Kings.

What this means for the teams

It is expected that with every team needing at least a month to train, the franchises will be leaving base by August 20, which gives them exactly four-weeks to prepare. Good luck to the teams!

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