497 days - that is the longest wait ever, for an IPL season. This is the first time that fans have had to wait for over a year for an IPL season to begin, from the date of its previous season’s final. A few months ago, there were doubts about the tournament happening at all in 2020. The announcement of the 13th season of T20 cricket’s greatest league comes as a jubilation for everyone at Rajasthan Royals. The IPL will be held from 19th September to 10th November in the United Arab Emirates.
The middle-eastern country is no stranger to the highly competitive tournament. In 2014, when all of India was in the middle of general elections, the first half of the IPL season was held in the UAE. Three of UAE’s international grounds in Sharjah, Dubai & Abu Dhabi hosted 20 exciting matches.
This year will be a bit different from 2014 though. We are yet to have any official statement on spectators at stadiums and the safety protocols which could include a bio-secure bubble for the teams. However, the Royals will be keen to follow all safety measures to ensure our players, support staff and team management stay healthy at all times.
This is the first time the IPL is being staged in the latter half of the year. The tournament is set to happen towards the end of the UAE summer. The entire tournament will be played in the country. The last time an entire IPL season was played abroad, was in 2009 when the league was played in South Africa. Rajasthan Royals skipper, Steve Smith is confident that the Royals have a squad that can adapt to any condition at hand. “Conditions in Dubai can be similar to what you get in India, or it can be different. It’s about adapting on the run to what the condition suits.”
While it is indeed disappointing that we won’t be playing on either of our home-grounds, the SMS in Jaipur or the Barsapara in Guwahati, our fans come from all corners of the world and we look forward to their support. The most important thing is that IPL 2020 is about to happen.