Indian Premier League (IPL) is a professional league associated with the most popular sport (Cricket) in India. This franchise-based T20 cricket league develops the next level of enthusiasm among the cricket-crazy population of India. Fans eagerly wait every year for IPL to support their favourite teams and to catch some unparalleled entertainment. However, this year the wait was longer than usual for most competitive event of the shortest version of cricket. The spread of the virus (COVID-19) put the break on several activities and sports were not an exception. Now, after the delay of about four months, the biggest extravaganza of Indian sports is back finally with its 13th edition. Players are keen to hit the ground after a long yet refreshing break and to claim the trophy of IPL 2020.
The Introduction of IPL
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) introduced the IPL on September 13, 2007. The mastermind behind the idea of IPL is Lalit Modi. He was the vice-president of BCCI at that time. The first season of IPL was played in April 2008. IPL governing council is the body responsible of its functions, consisting seven-members including BCCI officials and former Indian players.
IPL is Twenty20 cricket. It is conducted every year among the eight teams. These teams represent the eight states or cities of India. For the past 12 years, IPL is successful in maintaining the same level of energy among the people. But, this year IPL brought a different level of positivity as after a delay of several months it brings a hope among people.
What were the challenges and controversies in organising IPL 2020?
For the past several months, the whole world has been facing an unexpected crisis. All the activities got slow down because of the pandemic. Many important events got postponed including Summer Olympics 2020 which were to be held in Tokyo. In this situation, conducting IPL matches was a challenging task. Earlier, the decision regarding the conducting of IPL could not be made. So, IPL faced a delay of around four months. Due to the rising corona infections in India, BCCI had to eventually shift the venue.
After overcoming many challenges BCCI announced to start IPL from September 2020. So, United Arab Emirates (UAE) got the opportunity of hosting IPL 13 , a wonderful host of cricket matches for decades.
Some controversies occurred before the start of the event. Test of few players were found covid positive. They had to quarantine themselves for about two weeks. CSK’s Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh withdrew from the tournament at last hour.
Bio-Bubble Protocol and IPL
In the situation of ongoing pandemic, social distancing is necessary. But, IPL is a kind of event that involves participation of a large number of people. It includes sportspersons, trainers, coaches, referees, umpires, commentators as well as audience. Such gathering in IPL 2020 might increase the risk of spreading the infections. Therefore, organisers decided to allow no audience in the stadium and to play the matches in the empty stands. Moreover, BCCI took additional preventive measures in the form of a protocol called ‘Bio Bubble’.
In this protocol, some guidelines were given which should be followed for the safety precautions of players.
- Players are not allowed to go for outing or to meet family and friends. They have to be isolated after every match.
- Proper testing of players is mandatory before the match.
- All the players have to self-quarantine themselves after landing in UAE before playing a match.
- Restriction on the number of persons during the match in the stadium. This means the general audience in the stadium is not welcomed. So, this year people have to enjoy IPL only through TV or Internet sources.
Title Sponsorship of IPL 2020
IPL has a list of sponsors but only one company or organisation gets the main title of sponsorship. Title sponsorship is mainly a part of the market strategy. A company can become the title sponsor by purchasing naming rights of the other company or organisation (which is going to be a sponsor). Similarly, every year in IPL there is always a title sponsor with the other small sponsors.
Vivo IPL becomes Dream11 IPL
Vivo was the title sponsor for IPL before this year. Since 2016 Vivo served as the title sponsor. In 2018 Vivo signed a fresh deal with five-year sponsorship. But suddenly withdrew it for IPL 2020. The reason for this withdrawal is not clear. Some speculations were made because of the poor market and widespread anti-China sentiment due to the ongoing border tussle, Vivo withdrew its name from title sponsorship.
Now, this year Dream11 is sponsoring the Indian Premier League and became the title sponsor of it. Dream11 is an Indian fantasy sports company. It is established in Mumbai. Users can play fantasy games on this platform for domestic and international matches of cricket, football, kabaddi, hockey, basketball, etc.
Which teams are top contenders to win IPL 2020?
Every year the IPL is unpredictable. But, based on the past performances and players some speculations can be made . In IPL 2020, all 8 teams Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Kings XI Punjab have come after a long break and sufficient practice. All the teams are ready to fight to win the coveted IPL title.
Though, every team has made some changes in their squads through IPL auction, no team can be discarded with respect to the nature of the play of T20 cricket. Nevertheless, the following three teams will be in focus because of their star-studded teams and past performances.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is an IPL franchise based in Bangalore (now Bengaluru). The United Spirits found RCB in 2008. It has never won the IPL in the past but is considered one of the strongest teams. RCB became runners-up three times from 2009 to 2016. The RCB achieved a 200+ score on 21 occasions. Since 2013 the great Indian player Virat Kohli is the captain of the team. This year, the team has well-trained players and big names as AB de Villiers, Chris Morris, Aaron Finch, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Mumbai Indians (MI) is a franchise team. Reliance Industries is the owner of MI. They won its first IPL title in 2013 by defeating Chennai Super Kings by 23 runs. Mumbai Indians did not stop winning after that and became the first-ever team to win the IPL title three times. MI continues to win fourth time in 2019 after beating CSK by just one run. They also won the 2011 and 2013 editions of Champions League Twenty20. The biggest drawback for Mumbai Indians has been Lasith Malinga’s withdrawal from the tournament this year. But with Rohit Sharma as a captain and some experienced guys with the young talent, Mumbai Indians is giving a tough competition to opponents in the 2020’s IPL.
Chennai Super Kings
If you are looking for the toughest competition, then don’t forget about the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). After serving the two-year suspension from IPL for a betting case in 2013, CSK came back with full force. This team claims the IPL title to its name thrice (2010, 2011, 2018). CSK has the highest win percentage among all teams. This type of comeback is possible because of some fantastic players and amazing leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Players to watch out for this IPL 2020
Players made any sports possible. They are the essence of sports. Similarly, in IPL players are the soul of it. We cannot conduct IPL without players. Because of the critical situation around the world players skipped their practice and have to take this year as a challenge. In IPL, players participated not only from India but from different countries of the world. This creates a difficult situation for players, as nowadays social distancing is mandatory and traveling to long-distance is dangerous.
But, the enthusiasm of playing IPL among the players breaks all these barriers and they are even more ready to play this year IPL. Even fans are more excited than ever as sports has brought some happiness in their lives amid the depressing times.
Emerging Indian Players
As, origin of IPL is in India, so it became a platform for young and emerging Indian cricket players to showcase their talent. Players like Deepak Chahar, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, etc. are have impressed everyone with their game. Some of the Indian players on which fans have big hopes during this IPL are:
Shubhman Gill made his debut in IPL in 2018. He was the part of India’s U-19 team. He is currently serving Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as a right-hand batsman. In a short span of time, he achieved a lot and was termed as the future of Indian batting.
After making his debut in IPL 2013 he gradually has become one of the most watched out players in IPL. He plays as a wicketkeeper-batsman from Rajasthan Royals. Sanju Samson is giving a neck to neck competition to all his contenders by scoring at a terrific strike rate.
In this IPL, credit for achieving great scores for Kings XI Punjab goes to Mayank Agarwal. He is playing well in the matches of this season as a right-handed batsman. He has already made a place in Indian test team as an opener but is in a wonderful form in T20 cricket as well.
IPL is the hub of many international cricket players. It has become a second home for various foreign players and Indian fans have also showered their praises on them. Players like Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson etc. are among the top overseas players came to play IPL this year. Some international players which fans are excited about are:
With the skills of fielding, batting and fiery pace bowling Jofra Archer is a complete package. He is an English cricket player but in IPL 2020, he is representing Rajasthan Royals. Jofra made his debut in IPL in 2018. He is famous for his impressive skills with the ball. He have also shown his clean hitting with the bat.
With his debut in IPL in 2010 he became the joint highest-paid player. Mumbai Indians (MI) have complete faith in his capabilities as he has been an integral part for them since years. Pollard is a West-Indies player and he is popular for his all-round skills in the field. He has played about 150 matches in the tournament and gets plenty of love from audience.
With the West-Indian strength and mind, Andre Russell is the toughest contestant in IPL 2020. Since 2012, he has proved his bowling and batting performances worth to the IPL. This year he is assisting KKR in achieving good scores. He is a right-hand batsman and follows a right-arm fast bowling style.
This season of IPL seems to create a new record of TV viewership bringing in so much positivity. Just with the success of IPL maybe we overcome this drastic situation and get some cheering moments in 2020.