The glorious uncertainty of the 13th IPL
The T20 game is unpredictable. But the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which begins on September 19, promises to be particularly unpredictable. Consider the unknowns.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 05:42 IST
The T20 game is unpredictable. But the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which begins on September 19, promises to be particularly unpredictable. Consider the unknowns. All IPL teams were assembled keeping home conditions in mind; for example, Kolkata Knight Riders is packed with fast bowlers and big- hitting batsmen who like taking on pace and bounce because of the nature of the Eden Gardens pitch. How will they cope with the low and slow pitches of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? Data says that T20 scoring rates in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, two of the three venues for this season (the third is Sharjah), have lower scoring rates than any of the Indian venues, except Chennai.
Data also suggests that it’s much harder to hit sixes on the UAE pitches than on Indian grounds — will this give someone like Virat Kohli, whose strength lies in anchoring an innings rather than exploding from the first ball, an ideal platform to excel? How will the pitches hold up to the sheer volume of matches? Each venue will host roughly a game every second day for two months.
How will the players cope without crowds? Will it drop the intensity of their game, or help them focus better? And what about the fact that a majority of the players are coming off a very long layoff? What will it do to their fitness and their match endurance? Finally, there is, of course, the inglorious uncertainty of playing while a pandemic rages in the background, threatening to breach the sporting “bio-bubble” at the slightest slip-up.