After the Twenty20, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most sought-after cricket match, whose popularity increases after each game.
The IPL may be an Indian tournament, but the reach of this league has been enormous. Many leagues have come up around the world wanting to emulate the success of IPL, but they have not been able to match it in stature. The elected officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that runs this league have also been removed and it’s being run by a body appointed by the Supreme Court, yet the progress of this tournament has not been dented.
All international cricketers around the world now look forward to being picked by the different franchises to play in the league. The remuneration that they can get for the display of their skills is the highest among all leagues around the world.
The crowds that turn up to watch the league at different venues, as well as the television viewership, have shot up every year. The result has been that the television broadcasters are willing to pay a huge amount to telecast IPL rights.
But what makes is special this year? Here are the 5 factors.
New team for players
Following the 2018 IPL auction, for the first time, all the teams will have fresh players. Most of the players who were associated with a particular franchise will be playing for new teams and cricket fans are eagerly waiting to see how their favorite cricketers will be performing wearing new team jerseys. The retention policy had resulted in most teams never releasing their top players but that trend has now changed.
All team has focused on building a strong squad taking into consideration the utility of the player and his ability to play in all their matches. The introduction of mid-season transfer has also added to the excitement. A five-day transfer window between Match No.28 and 42 allowing teams to transfer players may help some players who were confined to benches to get an opportunity to exhibit their skills too.
Return of Chennai, Rajasthan
The return of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals who were suspended from the league for two years will stage a comeback. Though it was the wrongdoing of these teams that resulted in the suspension, the fans are ready to back them. The return of Chennai has generated huge expectation from the fans.
This team, which has always qualified for the playoffs, have got good players like in the past. The video from their star player Mahendra Singh Dhoni saying We are back! We are back as a whole team has become very popular. The return of Royals to has created a huge impact in the social media and fans believe that their team will make it a ‘Royal’ return through their performances.
Innovation in broadcasting
This edition of the IPL will be a television viewers’ delight. Technology will be introduced extensively to make the matches more exciting. Star India will bring the matches on the Virtual Reality platform via the Hotstar app. This app will allow users to select different camera angles and change the commentary language. VRT cameras will be installed in the stadiums which will shoot the game from all the angles.
The event will be exclusively broadcasted by Star India in six different languages – targeting a reach of 700 million viewers across TV and digital formats. The broadcasters have claimed that it will be an immersive experience for the cricket fans. Star India, foreseeing the increasing popularity of the league, acquired the IPL’s global broadcasting and digital rights for $ 2.55 billion for a period of five years.
Introduction of Decision Review System
Cricket fans are eagerly awaiting to see how much the Decision Review System (DRS) that will be in use for the first time in the IPL add to the excitement. Since the DRS has reduced umpiring errors in all three international formats of the game, it is likely that DRS may help IPL too. Each team will be allowed one review per innings.
It is a fact that IPL had seen some poor decisions by umpires in the previous seasons. Teams are likely to use the DRS intelligently and in a crucial moment of the game, unlike early years when the decision of the umpire was final. The IPL will thus become the second major T20 league to introduce DRS after Pakistan Super League which has availed its service for their matches.
New talents in IPL
Cricket fans are eagerly expecting not only the star players to deliver but also the new talents. Many Under-19 players have turned into overnight millionaires with franchises picking them up for huge money during the auction. All eyes will be on Kamlesh Nagarkoti, the India Under-19 pacer who has become the costliest under-19 player in the 2018 auction when Kolkata Knight Riders got him for Rs 3.2 crores.
Kolkata also picked India Under-19 vice-captain Shubman Gill. Prithvi Shah, the Indian under-19 captain, has been picked by Delhi Daredevils. Another Under-19 player, fans are waiting for is Afghanistan’s Mujeed Zadran who is already creating waves and will play for the Kings XI Punjab. It was through IPL that players like Shreyas Iyer, Rishab Pant, and Washington Sundar have reached the Indian team.
So, are you ready for the new season? Stay tuned for the IPL schedule.