The Much Awaited IPL Is Back This Season
The sporting world is slowly springing back into action amidst these turbulent times. Football leagues all over the world have restarted and the NBA is ongoing as well. These new developments raised questions amongst cricket fans all over the world as they began to wonder about the possibility of their favourite sport resuming soon as well.
Although the beloved sport took some time to restart, the good news is finally here! On the international front, the West Indian cricket team flew to England to take on the hosts in a 3 match test-series. Unfortunately, while the World T20 series aka the Twenty Twenty (T20) World Cup was supposed to be held in Australia later this year, it has now been pushed to next year. However, celebrated domestic league, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been given a go-ahead by the ICC to finally schedule its matches.
The news of the IPL's resurgence comes as a relief for cricket fans not only in India but for fans all over the world who love and view the league from all across the globe. The popularity of the league is abundantly evident with it breaking all viewership records, with a whopping 462 million viewers last year, who tuned in to watch the 12th edition of the sporting event!
IPL is expected to start on September 19th (subject to approvals from the government authorities) and will continue till November 8th, the day of the finals.
This year, however, the league will be played without the fans observing from the stands in the stadium for obvious health and safety reasons, although, the BCCI is hopeful to allow fans towards the latter part of the season. Additionally, the league this year, will be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The tentative schedule is the same as was released earlier this year in the month of February before the league was postponed, and the 8 teams will play 14 matches each.
Board of Cricket Control In India (BCCI) is yet to finalise the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the tournament, but a meeting has been scheduled on August 1st to finalise the details post which the SOP will be handed over to the franchise owners.
The rules for the upcoming league include measures keeping in mind the current pandemic and will be as follows:
Travel & Accommodation arrangements will have to be taken care of by the team owners and the BCCI will coordinate with authorities in the UAE for discounted rates.
Brijesh Patel, GC Chairman
The concept of a Bio Secure Bubble, which was being used in the recently concluded series between the West Indies and England proved to be a great success. It mandates heavily restricted movement of players, no outings and contact with visitors or family, mandatory self quarantine on landing, empty stadiums with designated pathways for players to enter the field and contactless umpiring (which includes not handing over cap, sweaters to umpires to avoid contact).
These rules will be enforced with maximum adherence to the point where even the team bus driver will not be allowed to break the bubble. The players will have to download the UAE's contact tracing app and will have to go through 4 rounds of testing - 2 in India before departure and 2 in Dubai after arrival - in order to be cleared.
BCCI has left the decision to allow wives and family members to travel entirely to the franchise owners. The decision on whether or not to allow fans into the stadiums is yet to be taken with the UAE cricket board leaving the onus of the decision to the BCCI.
With the league finally coming back, its time for all the fans to wear their favourite team's jerseys proudly and get ready to cheer! Stay tuned to this space for all the upcoming details.