Rahul Johri, the CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has confirmed that discussions are currently underway for the Indian T20 League to take place post-monsoon in the presence of both Indian and international players. The thirteenth edition of the tournament was initially scheduled to start on March 29 but was then shifted to April 15 due to nationwide lockdown amidst COVID-19 fears, before being suspended till further notice.
However, the above rests heavily on the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket Australia’s decision to postpone the 2020 T20 Cricket World Cup, originally scheduled from October 18 to November 15, to a later date for the COVID-19 situation. The ICC board is scheduled to meet on May 28, after which, a clearer picture of the entire situation will be visible to all the stakeholders.
Mr Johri believes that cricket is a leader in India and Indian T20 League would be a win-win situation for both the sponsors and the players involved. However, whether the much-awaited league will take place in empty stadiums amidst the pandemic fear is something that will be governed by the guidelines of the Indian Government.
The tournament’s importance before the T20 World Cup
All the teams who have qualified for the 2020 T20 Cricket World Cup, were looking to sharpen their skills on the gruelling Indian T20 League stage, where they would face world-class players and stiff competition. But, at a time, when the health of players, staff and fans are of the highest importance amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, there remains a question mark on the return of cricket.
From Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli to England’s Jos Buttler, all believe that the Indian T20 League would be the ideal way to prepare their squads for the World Cup, given the competitive nature of the league. It will also give the national cricketing bodies a better look at their squad and find out the players who are in form, apart from discovering fresh talents. This is all the more important for India, as the BCCI selection body was expecting this edition to be the starting point to ready their World Cup squad. Hence, all eyes rest on May 28 and the decision of ICC.
12 years of absolute dominance
Considered as the most popular domestic cricket league in the world, the journey that began in 2008 has been one to savour for both the die-hard cricket fans in India as well as abroad. Starting with eight teams in its inaugural season, the Indian T20 League for the first time brought all the stars of cricket together on the same field, representing the same team, alongside the talents of the domestic circuit.
For the first time, the world lay witness to players like Rahul Dravid, Mark Boucher, Virat Kohli and Dale Steyn, MS Dhoni, Muttiah Muralitharan, Matthew Hayden and Stephen Fleming, Herschelle Gibbs, Adam Gilchrist, Shahid Afridi and Rohit Sharma, Virender Sehwag, AB de Villiers, Glenn McGrath and Tillakaratne Dilshan, Yuvraj Singh, Mahela Jayawardene, Brett Lee and Kumar Sangakkara, Sourav Ganguly, Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting and Brendon McCullum, Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, Shaun Pollock and Lasith Malinga, and Shane Warne, Graeme Smith, Shane Watson and Younis Khan sharing space on the same teams and clashing against their own national teammates for the ultimate prize.
The Shane Warne-led Rajasthan team won the inaugural season beating the MS Dhoni-led Chennai to open the floodgates of more memories to be made over the course of the next 11 years. Mumbai till date are the most successful franchisee in the Indian T20 League with four championship titles to their name, followed closely by Chennai who have three and Kolkata who have two.
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