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IPL 2020 Could Be Played With Virtual Crowds and Cheerleaders

There has been ample amount of cricket at the global scale over the past couple of months, including the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League.

IPL 2020 Could Be Played With Virtual Crowds and Cheerleaders
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The Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to commence on the 19th of September in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Games are scheduled to be played across Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi respectively. The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) has established a biosecure bubble in partnership with the IPL teams to make sure there are no coronavirus outbreaks within the camps.

This also means there’s no scope for audiences to be present for the matches, effectively meaning that players will be playing IPL matches at empty grounds for the first time. While several senior players are used to playing with barely any crowds during test matches, the environment is usually pretty electric during IPL games. 

This unprecedented situation has now led to the IPL franchises thinking outside the box to get some kind of crowd involvement in the matches, but from a safe distance. As per a report by ANI, some franchises are looking into playing pre-recorded footage of the crowd as well as cheerleaders at big screens across the stadia. 

Also read - IPL 2020 Schedule Announced; Mumbai Indians To Face CSK In Opening Match

“The stadiums will be empty as everyone is looking to ensure that health protocols and bio-bubble regulations are strictly followed. So, it was decided that while some teams will record the reactions of cheerleaders, which will be played out for every four, six or wicket, other teams have decided to create small videos of fans cheering for them and those will be played out while the cricketers are battling it out in the middle," an IPL official was quoted as saying by the ANI.

“It will actually work both ways if you see. While fans will feel they are getting to be a part of the action in their own little way, players will know that they are being closely followed by their fans even though they are not present live in the stadium. There is nothing more special for cricketers than to see fans cheer them on and motivate them,” the official added.

It’s unclear at this point as to how the BCCI will make this work, as the details are still being ironed out. It’s likely that the authorities will leverage social media platforms as well as the official IPL app to help fans voice their support virtually. Though it’s unclear how the players will react to fake crowd noises during matches. 

At the end of the day, professional cricketers who represent their franchises are expected to be prepared for any eventuality, including playing in front of empty stands. While it’s certainly new for everyone, international cricketers over the past two months have shown that this is possible. 

There has been ample amount of cricket at the global scale over the past couple of months, including the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League. All eyes are now set on the IPL given that it is one of the marquee cricket tournaments in the world.    

Defending champions Mumbai Indians are expected to take on the 2019 runners-up Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2020 opener on September 19. The finals will be held on November 10.

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