While the cricketing activities have been slowly returning into the zone amid the COVID-19 pandemic, fans are gearing up for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), starting from September 19 in the UAE.
The cash-rich T20 league was earlier scheduled to take place in March but it didn’t take place due to global pandemic novel COVID-19 and the lockdown imposed for this. However, all the teams have already been gearing up for the league and have stayed in a strict, bio-secure ‘bubbles’ after reaching UAE.
Notably, the campaign will begin with the game between the defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi on September 19. Meanwhile, the games will be played behind closed doors across three venues and also there will be no opening ceremony this time. Even there will be no dancing cheerleaders too.
Sourav Ganguly hints 30% crowd to fill up the stadiums during IPL
To restrict the spread of the virus, players are only allowed to access only a few areas under strict BCCI health safety protocols. The tournament has already seen 13 members of Chennai Super Kings franchise have tested positive for the deadly virus. To make things worse, Chennai key players Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh have pulled out citing personal reasons.
Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly has said that the 13th edition of IPL will see a surge in viewership.
“They (broadcasters) are actually expecting the highest rating of IPL this season because they believe if (people) don’t turn up in the ground, they will be actually watching on their television sets,” said Ganguly. “There is a positive in everything.”
Along with this, Ganguly further added that there is a possibility of crowd returning to the stands in the later stage of the tournament. The 53-day tournament will conclude on November 10.
“Because of the Covid and infection, you don’t want people to be too close to each other, but very soon you will see there will be 30 percent people in the ground with social distancing,” he again shared. “They are properly tested and allowed to enter the ground. But I think that is going to happen over a period of time.”
We are craving for normalcy: Robin Uthappa
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Royals batsman Robin Uthappa has also said that the tournament will be a welcome sign for everyone after a crunch time of COVID-19.
“Most definitely, it is going to be really special this year, simply because of what we all have gone through as a human race,” Uthappa revealed in a video posted on the IPL’s official website. “I think in this unpredictable time, we were and are craving for normalcy and this tournament and sports, in general, brings about that feeling of normalcy back into our lives.”