IPL 2020 is all set to kick-off under a month in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The 13th edition of the league will take place from September 19- November 10. All franchises have already landed in their respective cities in the UAE and undergoing their mandatory Quarantine period before they start preparing for the upcoming season.
However, the BCCI is still yet to announce the official schedule of IPL 2020. Each day all cricket fans anxiously wait for the announcement but the cricket board has kept everyone waiting. The main reason for the delay of IPL 2020 schedule has finally been revealed. Due to the ongoing pandemic as the board is finding a way to keep the schedule productive.
With England and Australia starting their limited-overs series in September, there is still no clarity over the quarantine protocols for the players of both teams. A few weeks back BCCI had already laid down strict customs that stated, the players have to be in quarantine for seven days and test negative for COVID-19 thrice before the league kicks off.
Why BCCI Hasn’t Announced IPL 2020 Schedule?
As through the protocols, around 19 players from both countries are not going be featuring in the first week of the league this year. But also a few sources have suggested that since Australia and England players will already stay in a bio bubble during their series and quarantine may be reclined for them.
“The first week of the IPL could possibly see the English and Australian players missing, because post the conclusion of the white-ball series in England, the players will land in the UAE only around September 17 or 18 following which a week’s quarantine will come into effect. So there is a possibility that matches in those first three or four days can be allotted to teams not majorly dependent on players flying over from the UK”, a source told Times of India.
“If a player of a team is tested COVID-19 positive during the tournament, can that team play on those six days? Possibly not. But the tournament will go on, so it’s necessary to work on the possibility of keeping a schedule flexible enough where matches can be brought forward and delayed, as and when necessary”, the source added.
Meanwhile, the second week of every IPL season is extremely crucial in terms of viewership. While preparing the schedule, the organisers have to keep in mind that they keep the viewers glued to the action even in its second week as well.
The numbers are usually at the peak in the first week and the third week due to the playoff qualification situations and the league reaches close to its climax. Also, this year more doubleheaders are likely to take place from the second week of October.
“A thorough build-up to the IPL every year often results in the first week of the tournament being a hit and getting lapped up by the viewers. The second week becomes important because the emphasis then is to ensure the same kind of enthusiasm remains because from the third week onwards, teams are already starting to battle for the playoffs and the points table becomes a talking point”.
“So, structuring the second week of the tournament while keeping flexibility in mind is necessary. The first schedule was prepared early this year keeping the March-April-May window in mind, but now with the change in destination and the months, there’s an effort to try and schedule as many double-headers from the second week of October onwards so that the afternoon matches are played in better temperatures”, sources close to the IPL further said.