Some of the top Indian administrators who governed world cricket over the last decade dreamed of a two-phase Indian Premier League (IPL).
The second round of the 14th edition begins on Sunday in Dubai with a match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, but the conditions leading up to it have not been ideal.
After the second wave of Covid struck in early May, the first phase was called off, and the BCCI had to use all of its resources to persuade boards to send their players for the remainder of the competition.
Bubble fatigue: one of the biggest concerns
Despite this, prominent players such as Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals), Johnny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad), and Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders) have withdrawn for personal reasons, with bubble fatigue being one of the major concerns.
Bubble life is taxing, and these players, except Stokes, are most likely thinking about the T20 World Cup, which will begin in the United Arab Emirates shortly after the IPL.
For many others, though, the IPL is a fantastic warm-up tournament for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Many talented Indian cricketers returned from a tour of England
Several talented Indian cricketers have just returned from a tour of England, and many of them may not recall the last time they played on slow tracks against quality spinners.
The IPL will give players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and others a chance to get adjusted to the tempo and bounce of the worn UAE tracks, where scoring runs isn’t as simple as it is at the Wankhede or Chinnaswamy.
While the batsmen and spinners should take advantage of this opportunity coming up to the T20 World Cup, it will be the fast bowlers who will feel the pressure.
Mumbai Indians’ chances of winning rests on players like Bumrah
Mumbai Indians are in desperate need of a superstar like Jasprit Bumrah who has been away from cricket for the majority of the summer in England.
If Mumbai Indians are to have any chance of winning their third straight title, Bumrah will have to perform consistently.
Trent Boult of Mumbai and Mohammed Shami of the Punjab Kings will have to offer everything they’ve got while still staying in shape for the big game.
IPL a huge test for Hardik Pandya this time
The IPL, on the other hand, will be a huge test for one player, Hardik Pandya, who will be in action on Sunday.
After being scrutinized for quite some time now, the bowling fitness of Hardik Pandya has been questioned.
The Mumbai Indians bowler still gets the nod over CSK’s in-form Shardul Thakur because he has assured selectors and team management that he is fit to bowl at least four overs every game.
Whether or not the all-rounder is up to the task will be revealed within the next month.
IPL will serve as a litmus test for India’s other T20 World Cup spinners
The IPL will serve as a litmus test for India’s other T20 World Cup spinners, including Rahul Chahar, R Ashwin, Varun Chakravarthy, and Axar Patel. In contrast, players like Shardul and Shikhar Dhawan will try to make a message.
They were both passed over for the championship event, and now they’re determined to prove their omission was a mistake. When the Covid threat is around the corner, a few strong performances can open doors for the underdogs.