IPL 2020: Suspense over fixtures likely to end today
Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, has finally given an indication that the fixtures would be out on Friday.
Staying true to their style, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) kept everyone in the dark over the schedule for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
With less than three weeks to go for the start of the world's richest T20 league in a bio-secure bubble, there has been no official word yet on the schedule for the tournament.
But Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, has finally given an indication that the fixtures would be out on Friday.
No, the former India captain did not use his official Twitter handle to make that announcement.
Nor has he used the official social media platforms of the BCCI.
But it was during an interview with ABP News in India that the Prince of Kolkata revealed that the BCCI was finally ready to release the schedule.
"We understand schedules are delayed. It is almost on the verge of getting final and should be released by Friday," Ganguly told ABP News.
The 2020 edition of the IPL was scheduled to start on March 29 with the opening game between last year's winners Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. But it fell prey to the Covid-19 pandemic that brought the entire sporting world to a standstill. Now that the IPL bandwagon has reached the UAE shores after the BCCI managed to salvage the money-spinner, it remains to be seen if Mumbai and CSK will play the opener on September 19 in the 53-day tournament that will see 60 matches.
So who gets the first match? Will it be the state-of-the-art Dubai International Cricket Stadium? Or the magnificent Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi? Of course, starting cricket's biggest tournament outside the World Cups at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium could be an alluring prospect.
An ode to a venue steeped in history could be a wonderful gesture. After all, it's a stadium that brought cricket to the desert and elevated Javed Miandad and Sachin Tendulkar to mythic status following the feisty Pakistani's last-ball, match-winning six against India in 1986 and Indian maestro's Desert Storm in 1998.
But whichever city gets the chance to set the ball rolling, let's not forget that it's the UAE that would be holding the centre stage, giving a ray of hope to people grappling with the menace of coronavirus.
"The IPL happening in the UAE is absolutely superb because it's the human soother, it's a like a pain reliever in the time of pain and anger," Ranjit Barthakur, chairman of the Rajasthan Royals, had told Khaleej Times during a recent interview.
Of course, it was soothing to see the likes of Virat Kohli and Ab De Villiers finding their peace in the nets after they completed the six-day quarantine in Dubai.
And it was refreshing to see Chris Gayle walking out to hit a few big ones in a Kings XI Punjab net session after the end of his own six-day quarantine, having emerged unscathed from a party in Jamaica that left sprint king Usain Bolt infected with coronavirus.
Now, once the BCCI brings an end to the suspense over the schedule, we can take our seats to enjoy a cricketing race in the desert.
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