A new turn in IPL 2020
A new turn in IPL 2020

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a professional Twenty20 cricket league in India contested during March or April and May of every year by eight teams representing eight different cities in India. The league was founded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2008. The IPL has an exclusive window in ICC Future Tours Programme.

The 2020 Indian Premier League, also known as IPL 13 is scheduled to be the thirteenth season of the IPL, a professional Twenty20 cricket league established by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2007.

The tournament was originally supposed to take place on 29 March 2020 but was suspended due to the pandemic. After the Indian PM announced that the lockdown in India would last until at least 3 May 2020, the BCCI suspended the tournament indefinitely. But, on 2 August 2020, it was confirmed that the tournament would be played between 19 September and 10 November 2020 in the United Arab Emirates.

The BCCI IPL governing body faced daunting criticism for deciding to retain the Chinese sponsors for the 2020 IPL including the title sponsor VIVO, even amidst the border situation between India and China. Many cricket fans and others including Swadeshi Jagran Manch showed their opposition online through the boycott IPL hashtag.  On 4 August 2020, VIVO pulled out as the title sponsor of the IPL for this year’s edition.

There were a number of concerns raised by the franchise owners regarding the tournament’s arrangements. “In all these years of IPL, the responsibility of accommodation, hospitality, travel, etc – during the IPL – has been of the team owners. Nothing is going to change this year. The only change will be in the SOPs with regards to COVID,” GC chairman Brijesh Patel said, also confirming the dates for the meetings, in a report to TOI.

The BCCI shared their plans for UAE among which were:

Bio-secure bubble: Strict protocols being put and it is being made sure that each franchise would be in its own bubble in which the team will only be interacting with the limited number of people allotted to them by the BCCI. A similar bubble would be created for BCCI and the IMG staff, broadcasters, etc. No one would be allowed to interact outside the bubble.

Revenue pools: As all 60 matches would be played in 51 days, there would no change in BCCI’s central revenue pool distribution.

Travel & accommodation: Franchises will have to figure their own travel arrangements and accommodation in UAE. BCCI will coordinate with UAE authorities to ensure “discounted hotel rates” and share it with the franchises. It will then be the franchise’s discretion to settle for options provided by BCCI or make their own arrangements. Franchises will fly their players to UAE and back, as is the case during IPL in India every year.

Medical assistance: Franchises will arrange for their own medical teams and the BCCI will arrange a central medical team. Once players & support staff land in UAE, the onus of testing will be on the franchises, who will in turn coordinate with BCCI’s medical team on a 24×7 basis. Each franchise’s medical team will stay with their respective teams within the security bubble.

Player replacement & loaning: There will be no change in the player policy and the franchises will be free to travel with extra players so as to avoid last-minute travels. The board and GC are working on thorough details to prepare a draft on these policies that will be discussed at Saturday’s meeting and then be shared with the franchises. “Once we share what we do with the franchises, we know there will be questions. We need to be thoroughly prepared,” said Patel.