When the Indian Premier League strikes to the UAE, it will be the primary time three venues shall be staging 60 matches in 53 days. The solely different event a whole IPL version was held abroad earlier than this was in 2009 in South Africa, the place eight venues shared the workload. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah had been entrusted with IPL duties in 2014, however then they’d hosted solely 20 matches. At house, IPL is performed on the house grounds of eight franchises, and typically just a few extra ones as effectively. The match share per venue goes down much more in ICC occasions.
At the 2019 World Cup, 48 matches had been unfold throughout 11 venues within the United Kingdom. In the 2016 World Twenty20, seven Indian venues had been used for 35 matches. Will the restricted UAE pitches have the ability to bear the load of so many matches in so few days?
Preoccupied with securing authorities permissions and formulating Standard working Procedures (SOP) for the IPL, the BCCI hasn’t been capable of give this a lot thought, in response to an official concerned with the staging of the league. But it can change into a speaking level because the competitors progresses says PR Viswanathan, who was in UAE throughout the 2014 IPL as BCCI curator.
“It’s not just the 60 matches, you will have to accommodate some practice matches too, even after factoring in other smaller grounds where practice games can be played,” Viswanathan mentioned. “So, it will be some 70 matches across three venues. That’s a lot.
“The weather there is very harsh. There is lot of dust accumulation and high clay content in the soil, so it’s difficult to produce a hard wicket there,” added Viswanathan, who’s now retired. “You won’t get too many 200-plus scores.”
The scores compiled within the UAE leg of the 2014 IPL again this; there have been solely two 200-plus totals, each in the identical match. Other than that, there have been 9 170-plus totals and 12 160-plus totals in 40 innings (20 matches). That was six years again, however even within the final Pakistan Super League (PSL) performed in UAE in 2018-19, there have been no 200-plus totals. The 2019 IPL noticed eleven innings that went above 200.
Teams like Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who alone put up 4 of these 200 plus totals final yr, and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB — three 200 plus totals in 2019) might have to rethink their match methods. More importantly, the house benefit shall be misplaced.
“It’s true that every franchise picks teams based on home conditions during auctions. When that changes, it becomes challenging. When IPL is played at home, you play seven (away) games in conditions you are not used to; now you will play 14 such games,” mentioned Abhishek Nayar, member of KKR help workers.
This could possibly be a low-scoring IPL, however as the ultimate final yr confirmed, that’s not essentially a foul factor if it permits an excellent contest.
“With the heat, you may see low scoring games in the latter half of the IPL. And if the nature of the wicket is slow, it’s very difficult to make it faster or flatter,” Nayar mentioned.
From his expertise as a Rajasthan Royals participant in 2014, Nayar’s studying of UAE pitches is that this: the Dubai pitch is usually gradual, Abu Dhabi may be juicy and Sharjah is as flat as a well-ironed shirtfront. That Abu Dhabi has some bounce was identified by Rohit Sharma as effectively.
“Fair bit of grass on the wicket, there was a bit of bounce. Odd balls were stopping and coming so it wasn’t true,” was Sharma’s evaluation of the Abu Dhabi pitch after the primary IPL match in 2014. The pitch at Sharjah, which carries a legacy of high-scoring encounters on shiny flat decks by the 90’s, was relaid in 2013. Subsequently, on events, the wicket takes flip as Yuzvendra Chahal discovered in 2014. “I got confidence seeing the first ball turn,” Chahal had mentioned taking part in in what was solely his second IPL recreation, for Royal Challengers Bangalore towards Delhi Daredevils. “Sharjah is the closest to Eden, but it does not have the lateral movement that we get at Kolkata. Everyone will have to make adjustments,” mentioned Nayar.
Former Australian cricketer turned commentator Dean Jones, who additionally coaches a staff within the Pakistan Super League, has a good bit of expertise with UAE pitches. “The major concern for all the teams would be that with so much cricket being played on all three venues, the pitches will get tired and that’s only natural,” Jones mentioned. “So, it might come down to who plays spin better. Some teams might pick three spinners and only two quicks. At the start the pitches will be great to bat on but there is no doubt that they will get tired as the tournament goes on.”
Former head of BCCI’s pitch committee Daljit Singh feels the position of BCCI observers shall be key. “I have been to UAE, and one thing I observed they do wrong, is heavy rolling despite the hot weather. We should definitely have our curators to oversee pitch preparations,” Singh mentioned.
Viswanathan feels there must be multiple observer stationed there.
“Once the tournament began, I was of not much help as there was a lot of travel between venues. All the work that needs to be done is between matches, not on match day. You don’t want someone using a heavy roller to kill the grass. A lot of man management skills will be needed,” he mentioned.
(With inputs from Arnab Sen)