COVID-19 pandemic has halted many sporting activities across the globe and cricket is no different from it. Lots of bilateral series are postponed or cancelled due to the lockdown imposed worldwide. Even ICC has postponed their marquee event T20 world cup which was scheduled to be played in August this year. Now they have announced that the tournament will be played in October-November this year with all safety protocols in place. Innaugural edition of Euro T20 blast and Asia cup is postponed to next year. Now the situation is slowly getting normal and England has resumed their cricketing activities. They have hosted a 3-match test series against West Indies and currently, they are hosting Ireland for three-match ODI series. After this ECB will be hosting Pakistan for full-fledged tour comprising tests, one-dayers and T20. Talks are going on full swing to conduct the scheduled ODI series against Australia but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Meanwhile, cash-rich Indian premier league was about to happen in March and April this year but due to pandemic and followed by countrywide lockdown has led BCCI to postpone the cash-rich event indefinitely. Now they have officially announced that the tournament will be played in UAE in September-October. This is not the first time the tournament is being played outside India. In 2009 it was played in South Africa due to general body elections and in 2014 first half of the event was held in UAE. This year the entire tournament will be played in UAE with all safety protocols in place. There are lots of practical difficulties in conducting the event outside India particularly at this pandemic situation.
A big challenge awaits in the name of practice resources:
Almost all the countries were in lockdown and players are not involved with cricketing activities. So it is difficult for the team management to bring them back with perfect match fitness. So organising them and arranging proper practice facilities is a difficult task for the franchise. Also getting enough resources like practice bowlers training resources will be a difficult task for them. The tournament is quite long and it will be played for nearly two months. So arranging these resources will be a tough task for the franchise.
Playing with the proper squad is almost difficult. Because franchise will need more players but due to safety restrictions having proper support staff coupled with the extended squad will be the difficult thing. So if the player got injured then the team management of the respective franchise will find it difficult to replace them. So IPL governing council is expected to face these kinds of headaches from franchises.
As an average Indian cricket fan, everyone will tend to watch a cricket match with a packed crowd. But playing in an empty stadium will not bring them the perfect audience experience. So the broadcasters should engage in other activities to make the audience engaging. Also, UAE security secretary has said that the pandemic curve will get flatten during September. So having 30-50% of the crowd is possible. But we have to wait for official confirmation.
The hunt begins:
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