The Indian Premier League is a domestic T20 cricket league that is based in India, however has immense recognition and appreciation all over the world. Since its inception in 2008, the IPL has made quite a name for itself, attracting some of the biggest names in cricket who take part in one of the most action packed leagues. The league is governed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and was conceptualized by former commissioner Lalit Modi.
The much-anticipated tournament is set to begin on 23rd March, as confirmed by the BCCI. The tournament will end on 12 May but no official schedule has been released, as the 12th edition of the IPL will coincide with the general elections.
The Indian Premier League was formed after the dissolution of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) which did not have the recognition of the BCCI and was branded a “rebel league”. The formation of the IPL was officially announced on 13th September 2007, with the first season beginning from 2008.
Over the years, the IPL has gone on to establish itself as one of the biggest domestic cricket leagues in the world while also being extremely lucrative and cash-strapped. The brand value of IPL in 2018 was US$ 6.3 billion, according to Duff & Phelps. According to BCCI, the 2015 edition of the IPL contributed ₹11.5 billion to the GDP of the Indian economy.
The IPL always follows the round-robin format of tournament, where each team plays with every other team twice, one match at home and the other away. The four best placed teams from the table qualify for the playoffs. The first and second placed teams get two attempts to reach the final.
However with the elections in mind, the matches will not be played on a home and away basis. Instead a certain number of matches will be played on neutral venues for security reasons on the day of voting.
A total of eight teams will be playing in IPL 2019, similar to the last edition. The teams are: Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The former franchise of 'Delhi Daredevils’ was renamed to 'Delhi Capitals’ for the new season.
There were several doubts regarding the hosting of the IPL amid the general elections in India. As a result, rumors flew around that the IPL 2019 could be held in South Africa or UAE, as had been previously in 2009 and 2014 respectively.
However, the BCCI confirmed that the entire tournament will be held in India alongside the elections. Instead of the home and away basis of matches, they will be played on neutral venues on certain days to avoid conflicts. A set of 20 venues have been decided upon by the organisers. Further information on the venues will be released after the dates of the general elections are revealed.
Players to Watch Out For
Sam Curran, the English all-rounder who became the most expensive foreign player of the IPL 2019 auctions, will definitely grab eyeballs. He shone in the Test series against India India and was named one of the five breakout stars in men’s cricket by the ICC in 2018. He will be playing for the Kings XI Punjab. His compatriot Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad) is also expected to be dangerous.
Shimron Hetmyer (Royal Challengers Bangalore) is another foreign player who did exceedingly well against India, playing for the Windies in their Tour of India. An explosive batsman, he will look to partner up with IPL veteran AB de Villiers.
Among the domestic players, surprise package Varun Chakravarthy who bagged a price of ₹8.4 crore in the auctions, will be looking to shine for the Kings XI Punjab.