All-star match, no-ball um­pires - IPL re­turns with up­grades

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Mumbai, In­dia - For the first time, a one-off all-star fix­ture, com­pris­ing play­ers from all the eight fran­chises, will pre­cede the IPL. The match will be played three days be­fore the tour­na­ment's open­ing match, which, as re­ported in De­cem­ber, is will be played on March 29. Both the open­ing match and the IPL fi­nal will be played in Mumbai, the home base of de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Mumbai In­di­ans.

ESPNcricin­fo un­der­stands that the two teams for the al­ls­tar match are likely to be formed with play­ers from the four fran­chises in the north and east of In­dia - Kings XI Pun­jab, Delhi Cap­i­tals, Ra­jasthan Roy­als and Kolkata Knight Rid­ers - and the four teams in the south and west - Chen­nai Su­per Kings, Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore, Sun­ris­ers Hyderabad and Mumbai. No venue has been fi­nalised for the match yet.

It ap­pears that the idea of the all-star match came from BCCI pres­i­dent Sourav Gan­guly and IPL govern­ing coun­cil chair­man Bri­jesh Pa­tel. Both were present at the govern­ing coun­cil meet­ing on Mon­day in New Delhi where the de­ci­sion was made.

Timings of evening matches un­changed

One of the key points dis­cussed at the meet­ing con­cerned the start timings for the evening matches, an is­sue both the IPL and host broad­caster Star In­dia have been dis­cussing over the past few years. It is un­der­stood that Star wanted an ear­lier start than 8pm IST, be­cause many matches stretch past mid­night. How­ever, sev­eral teams pointed out that start­ing early could hand the ad­van­tage to one team be­cause of dew.

Con­se­quently, the IPL de­cided to leave the tim­ing for the evening matches un­changed.

Gan­guly also said that there would just be four dou­ble-head­ers [days with both an af­ter­noon and an evening match] in the 2020 IPL, con­tin­u­ing with the trend es­tab­lished over the past few years to re­duce the num­ber of day matches with the tour­na­ment be­ing played in sum­mer.

The IPL did not an­nounce the main tour­na­ment sched­ule even though the tour­na­ment is start­ing in two months' time. BCCI of­fi­cials did not re­veal the rea­son for the de­lay, but it is learnt that the sched­ule is likely to be out later this week. One plau­si­ble rea­son could be to the late ar­rival of the Aus­tralia, Eng­land and New Zealand play­ers. As per the avail­abil­ity pe­ri­ods listed pre-IPL auc­tion, play­ers from these three coun­tries will ar­rive af­ter March 31, as they would be busy with var­i­ous bi­lat­eral se­ries as well as the Sh­effield Shield fi­nal.

Four teams for women’s T20 ex­hi­bi­tion matches

Tak­ing another step for­ward to­wards a women’s IPL, the BCCI has de­cided to add another team to the women’s T20 ex­hi­bi­tion matches it has been con­duct­ing over the last two IPL sea­sons. In 2018, two teams - Su­per­novas and Trail­blaz­ers - con­tested a one-off ex­hi­bi­tion match, which fin­ished in a last­ball thriller. Last year, a third team - Ve­loc­ity - was added with four matches hosted in Jaipur, which ran par­al­lel to the main IPL play­offs.

For the 2020 sea­son, a fourth team, not named yet, has been added to the mix. It is un­der­stood there will be seven matches, in­clud­ing the fi­nal, that are likely to be sched­uled once again around the IPL play­offs.

No-ball um­pires get the nod

The IPL has also de­cided to let an off-field match of­fi­cial to su­per­vise no-balls. The move is bound to be wel­comed by the play­ers con­sid­er­ing the er­rors by on-field um­pires over the years that have left many cap­tains fum­ing.

Last IPL, Vi­rat Kohli, lead­ing the Royal Chal­lengers in a cru­cial match against Mumbai, called the um­pir­ing stan­dards ‘ridicu­lous’ and club stan­dard.

In­ci­den­tally, the no-ball de­liv­ered by La­sith Malinga went un­de­tected by S Ravi, one of the on-field um­pires.

Tak­ing cog­nizance of the play­ers’ com­plaints, the IPL had dis­cussed the is­sue last year, with Pa­tel say­ing that an exclusive match of­fi­cial, sep­a­rate to the TV and fourth um­pire, would be in charge of su­per­vis­ing noballs. Late last year, the ICC opted to rein­tro­duce the no-ball um­pire on a trial ba­sis. The ICC, how­ever, had en­trusted the job to the reg­u­lar TV um­pire.

Con­cus­sion subs to be in­tro­duced

The IPL govern­ing coun­cil also ap­proved the move to al­low con­cus­sion sub­sti­tutes from the 2020 edi­tion. The match ref­eree will be the fi­nal author­ity on who could come in as a sub­sti­tute with the op­tion of dis­al­low­ing re­place­ments if they are deemed not to be like-for-like.

File photo of Vi­rat Kohli (left) and MS Dhoni

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