IPL is back in India, and the fans could not be any less happy. Due to the corona pandemic, the 2020 edition was first postponed. It then was shifted to the UAE in September.
This year, the matches will be conducted on six different venues, with no team been given a single game on their respective home venues this time.
Before the tournament even began, cases started to rise profusely in India and have affected some players despite staying in the bubble. The likes of Devdutt Paddikal (RCB batsman), Axar Patel (DC All Rounder), Nitish Rana (KKR batsman), Daniel Sams (RCB All Rounder) have all tested positive for Covid. Kiran More, a part of the Talent Scouting team of Mumbai Indians, became the first person to be tested positive in the “bio-bubble”.
Wankhede in Mumbai, one of the six venues of IPL, is also in danger to lose out as a venue due to the rising cases in Mumbai and is likely to be replaced by Holkar Stadium in Indore or Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad.
Even with the rise in cases, it is unlikely that the event would be cancelled after its commencement. This is because last year itself, the cancellation would have cost the BCCI around $500 million. This is only the value of media rights for the year as per some estimates.
IPL IN UAE
The tournament was a huge success, regarded as one of the best editions because of the intensity of the games. Even though the fans relished the tournament, shifting to UAE did create some hollowness in their minds. It also changes the dynamics of the tournament.
The shifting takes away the crucial “home advantage” around which the franchisee build their teams. UAE is the host nation to Pakistan Cricket Team. India has not played them for almost 8 years (the last series was played in 2012-13 in India) due to political reasons. The last time Indian players visited UAE in the year 2018 for the Asia Cup and in 2014 for a brief period of IPL. Therefore the conditions were relatively unfamiliar to the Indian players.
One of the main reasons the tournament could not be held in India was lgistics. IPL is an international tournament involving hundreds of players and other staff members (both Indian and international). But due to the constant rising of cases in India, it was not possible to conduct the IPL here. UAE fits perfectly for a tournament like IPL. The primary reason is the lack of difference in both nations’ time zones. Another important reason was the distance between its 3 venues- Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and, of course, the decrease in infection rates in that country. UAE has always been a centre for tourism and major events, and it wasn’t surprising that they welcomed IPL with open arms.
The players also had the weather conditions in their favour as they did not have to play in the March-May months’ sweltering heat.
UAE has also given the Indian fans some beautiful memories. Who could forget the Little Master’s knock in Sharjah stadium against Australia? That innings is still in every cricketing fan’s mind around the world and is known as the ‘Desert Storm’.
So, readers, what is your opinion? Is conducting IPL in India a little too premature? Are we logistically equipped to handle such a mega tournament? Was UAE a safe bet?
We would love to read your views.
Written by: Aditya Paharia