The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League [IPL] will be without its usual fanfare with the Board of Control for Cricket in India [BCCI] deciding to stage the tournament in the bio-secure environment of the United Arab Emirates behind closed doors.
Playing in an empty stadium could be a daunting task for players, who thrive on the atmosphere generated by their raucous fans and so in order to make the players feel the closest to the presence of a live audience, the franchises have decided to pre-record reactions of fans as well as cheerleaders, which will be played out on giant screens during the match.
“The stadiums will be empty as everyone is looking to ensure that health protocols and bio-bubble regulations are strictly followed. So, it was decided that while some teams will record the reactions of cheerleaders, which will be played out for every four, six or wicket, other teams have decided to create small videos of fans cheering for them and those will be played out while the cricketers are battling it out in the middle,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by ANI.
“It will actually work both ways if you see. While fans will feel they are getting to be a part of the action in their own little way, players will know that they are being closely followed by their fans even though they are not present live in the stadium. There is nothing more special for cricketers than to see fans cheer them on and motivate them.” he added.
IPL 2020 will comes as a source of great relief for the fans- Hardik Pandya
Several players including the likes of Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Hardik Pandya have made no bones about the fact that they will be missing the presence of a live audience in the stadium during IPL 2020.
“We must remember that safety is paramount and if we are safe this year, we can all (players and fans) come back together again next year. Hats off to all the fans for constantly showing us support and love. Will definitely miss the fans and you cannot ignore that. But we will look to use this opportunity to divert the mind of the fans and give them joy. Even if it is on television, they will get to see their role models,” Mohammed Shami said.
“This time it will be different from the previous seasons as there will be no one to watch at the ground and cheer up the players. It does boost our confidence and morale.” Bhuvneshwar Kumar echoed Shami’s sentiments.
Hardik Pandya also reckoned that players will miss the presence of fans in the stadium. He, however, added that the IPL will prove to be a great stress-buster for fans in such difficult times.
“Obviously the fans add to the cheering part and the support. Me and my brother were talking during the COVID-19 time and we were discussing that for the fans, the IPL will be a cherry because no one has seen cricket for a while and people have been in difficult times,” Pandya said.
“So this will be a stress relief for everyone as they will sit at 8 pm and watch the IPL for two months. So, everyone will get that satisfaction that something nice is happening. The fans will enjoy it,” he added.