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The IPL Will Return with No Audience Possibly Until the End of the Season

Fans in India are delighted and so are the IPL followers who can once again place their bets on the matches.

While the Indian Premier League is official and will be back in India this year, protocols have changed and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has hinted that the whole season may take place without an audience.

On Sunday, the full schedule of Vivo IPL 2021 was announced and many are excited to see the IPL back home. Last year, despite the pandemic, the IPL was still able to push through in September but it had to take place in the UAE because of the growing number of COVID 19 cases in India.

This year, however, sports leagues including the IPL have already learned a lot from holding matches amidst the pandemic, and BCCI is confident enough to bring the league back home. Fans in India are delighted and so are the IPL followers who can once again place their bets on the matches. Surely, 10CRIC India IPL 2021 odds are already being considered by many cricket fans.

Changes This IPL Season

There will be a few changes this season but what will be noticeable is the lack of audience during the matches. BCCI secretary Jay Shah spoke about this in a statement and said, “The IPL this year at home will be played behind closed doors, to begin with, and a call on allowing spectators will be taken at a later stage of the tournament.”

Shah also pointed out that the schedule of the matches is well thought out to minimize risks. He said, “The fixtures have been mapped in a way that every team will travel only three times during the league stage, thus reducing commute and minimizing risk.

“After hosting the tournament safely and successfully in the UAE last year … the BCCI is confident of hosting the IPL at home with health and safety of players and all people involved being paramount,” he further explained.

This is what also Ganguly pointed out in an interview when talking about the matches. He said, “We've done it in clusters, and so there will be three flights maximum for every team. Hopefully, we'll manage because, see, with the England tour, India has gone to Chennai, Ahmedabad and will go to Pune.

“And also, the domestic teams would've traveled to a couple of venues - one for group stages and another for knockouts. We're trying to do it that way only. Hopefully, it'll be fine, the numbers are much less. It's a lot better but fingers crossed. It's a huge tournament. The BCCI did it successfully in Dubai and hopefully, we'll be able to get through this time as well."

In total, there will be 60 matches that will be held in the 52-day tournament that will start on April 9 in Chennai. The matches will be played in six venues including the ones in Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.

Shah did say that only the initial matches will be played behind closed doors for now but Ganguly seems to be looking at allowing the rest of the season without any fans on the stadiums. The following day, Ganguly was asked about this and it did sound like this will be the case.

Ganguly spoke to India Today and he was asked about this and said, "Don't know yet, depends on the situation.” He also explained why the IPL won’t be going the route that the bilateral series did when only several crowds were finally allowed in.

”It's [IPL] slightly different than a bilateral [series]. If you open up to crowds, teams are playing in middle. Teams are practicing outside as well. A lot of these stadiums have practice pitches outside, and teams practice there because they play every day. And so, to open it up to crowds, you expect them to get closer to the practicing teams. So, that could be a bit of a risk."

The same happened last year anyway when the IPL was held in the UAE. They announced that the matches will happen behind closed doors but maybe eventually open to crowds on the latter part of the season. However, this just didn’t happen.

"Dubai also was the same: we started closed doors and expected to open out to the crowds, but since it went so well, we didn't take the risk of having crowds back, so we'll see,” he explained.

It is becoming to seem like this year’s IPL will likely not allow fans in the stadiums the whole season and it’s completely understandable if it happens. The BCCI is just really pushing for an incident-free season because there is still a lot in store for cricket this year.

India will also be hosting the 16-team men’s ICC T20 World Cup this year. This is scheduled to start in late October and end on November 14. They simply can’t afford to have any problems occurring during the IPL. Especially that the ICC has not yet finalized the T20 World Cup venues and schedules.