The Indian T20 League 2021 is less than a month away and there’s plenty of buzz already around the best domestic T20 league in the world returning to India. After a successful season in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it was imperative that the organisers brought the league back to where it belongs – the home of T20 cricket, India.
The Indian T20 League is scheduled to begin on April 9 2021, as Team Mumbai and Team Bangalore would fight it out in the season opener at Chennai. Here are all that you need to look forward to this season.
INTRODUCTION OF CLUSTER CARAVAN
This season will see an introduction of a completely new format given the conditions the world finds itself currently in. They call this format the ‘cluster caravan’ format. It means that teams play plenty of games in specific venues to begin with, and then the ‘caravan’ moves to the next venue.
Six different cities will be used to host the Indian T20 League 2021. Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru will host 10 matches each, Delhi with host eight and the world’s largest stadium in Ahmedabad will host 12. This format means that there won’t be any home and away games yet again. No team will have home advantage this season and the matches will be played in neutral venues, the first of its kind in India in the history of the competition.
SCHEDULE BREAKUP EXPLAINED
The tournament kicks off in Mumbai and Chennai. There’ll be 10 games in both the cities and then, the caravan moves to Delhi and Ahmedabad. Thereafter, it’ll be rounded off with 20 games split between Bengaluru and Kolkata. The playoffs have been kept at Ahmedabad as no team originally hails from that city, so it becomes the only neutral venue possible given the scheduling.
The biggest issue which this format tackles is that the teams don’t have to travel as frequently as they would have in a normal season. Travelling in these circumstances increases the risk and the organisers have done well to reduce this. Each team has to travel only three times and that’s a relief for most of the franchises.
CROWD OR NO CROWD?
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that the initial period of the tournament will be played behind closed doors. Given what happened recently in India vs England T20I series where the city saw a spike in COVID-19 cases, it was important that the Indian T20 League 2021 goes without hiccups.
NEW CHALLENGES UP FRONT
The way the teams will adapt to the different tracks they will play on will be a fascinating challenge to witness. The majority of the teams are set up to be bullish in their home games which gives them a head start when it comes to the qualification to the playoffs. Teams like Chennai who love packing their side with spin would suddenly find themselves on fast and bouncy tracks in Mumbai. On the other hand, defending champions Mumbai who backs their fast bowlers and usually plays two overseas ones now will have to bolster their spin department to be competitive at the Chepauk Stadium, Chennai.
The league will demand versatility from the teams and that’s why the Indian T20 League is the toughest cricket league in the world. It promises to be a fascinating season ahead and hopefully, things go according to plan and the tournament is conducted flawlessly.
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