One of the truest clichés of the IPL is that each edition is more open than the last one. For example, the playoffs spots in the last four seasons were determined only on the last day of the league phase. But in 2020, a new twist in the form of a pandemic has made this most lucrative of tournaments even more unpredictable.
The majority of players in each franchise haven’t played competitive cricket since March. The tournament itself is being played at three neutral venues, nullifying the players’ familiarity with Indian conditions. The absence of crowds, a natural source of energy in sport, will be deafening in the empty desert bowls of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Cocooned inside the bubble for more than a month now, the players have been restless to play. Franchise owners are banking on this being the most-watched IPL ever. It is being sold with the promise of being a panacea for the pain caused by Covid-19. Under the gaze of millions of eyeballs, can this IPL deliver on that promise?