The upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be an unique experience for the cricketing world. IPL 2020 is set to be played in the UAE in front of empty stands due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of the biggest attractions of the IPL is the jam-packed crowds but the spectators are unlikely to be allowed to enter the stadiums this year due to the pandemic.
And as the cricket world gear up to see how IPL looks like without the crowd, Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith has expressed his disappointment over the tournament not being played in India. The Australia superstar stated that while adapting to conditions is a part of professional cricket, he could not hide his disappointment over the new venue.
“Part of being a professional cricketer is being able to adapt to any condition. That’s going to be a pretty key message. Conditions in Dubai can be similar to India, it can be different. It’s about adapting on the run. A couple of players have experience playing there. Guys are going to be jumping out of their skin to play cricket. Disappointing it is not in India, but the important (thing) is to perform,” Steve Smith said in a media interaction on Thursday after a special screening of “Inside Story: A season with Rajasthan Royals”, a documentary on the team’s tough 2019 season when they ended seventh.
Well, this is not the first time that the IPL has moved out of the country. In 2009, the entire competition was played in South Africa before UAE hosted a part of the tournament in 2014 due to general elections. Steve Smith was a part of the Royals’ camp in 2014 too.
The teams will be confined to a bio-bubble this time and it can take a toll mentally on the players. Preparation for the 51-day league after months of non-action will also be a challenge. Speaking about that, Steve Smith said:
“It will be difficult for anyone being away from their loved ones for an extended period. You kind of get used to it playing international cricket. You do spend a long time apart. You find a way to make it work.”
“A lot of people haven’t played any cricket, or have little games under their belt. So, it’s sort of an even contest. Everybody is going in with the same sort of preparation. It has been incredibly difficult this time. Guys are trying to get their cricket fixtures any way they can,” he added.