The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is scheduled to start on March 29th, it has been revealed, with the defending champions getting things underway in front of their home fans in the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The early start date means that any franchises which have big stars from Australia, England, or New Zealand, could be deprived of their services for the opening matches of the season, because of scheduling conflicts. Australia and New Zealand are due to play a T20I series that does not finish until March 29th, whilst the England Sri Lanka test series ends even later on March 31st.
The news is unwelcome for the franchises affected, which would prefer that the IPL start the season later, and use double headers to catch up on any backlog of fixtures. However, that seems unlikely as the IPL’s Governing Council are looking to minimise the number of double headers, which have proved not to be popular with television viewers.
In other news proposals by the ICC (International Cricket Council) to make four day test matches mandatory have met with a mixed response. The idea is based on the fact that, in a crowded cricket calendar, the traditional five day test just takes up too much time.
There are many reasons why the ICC wants to free up more time. They themselves want to stage more gloval events, domestic T20 leagues continue to proliferate around the world, and the IPL is considering starting a mini-version of the tournament in the autumn period. There is also the cost of hosting a five day game to be taken into account.
Four day tests are by no means a new idea- England and Ireland contested one earlier this year, whilst South Africa and Zimbabwe also played one two years ago.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly is reserving judgement on the matter for now saying it is too early to decide on its merits or otherwise. The ECB (English Cricket Board) are said to be in favour of the idea, but there are traditionalists arguing against it, saying that test cricket is the oldest and purest form of international cricket and should not be sacrificed to allow shorter formats of the game to take its place.