Kevin Pietersen has proposed a condensed IPL season played across three secure venues as a solution to ensure there’s a 2020 edition of the tournament. He spoke of the prestige of the competition, explaining that every player wants to be a part of it. The current Indian Premier League season was due to get underway in late March but has been delayed by the BCCI in line with the country’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The former England international has plenty of involvement in the IPL having represented Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils and Rising Pune Supergiants during his illustrious playing career. In total, the South African-born batsman racked up over 1000 runs for the three franchises across 36 matches at a strike rate of 134.72. Pietersen gave his thoughts on the 13th edition of the competition to the Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
He said that the IPL should happen in July/August the earliest and that he believes it will mark the kick-start to the cricket season. He went on to say that he thinks every single player around the world is now desperate to play the IPL. The 39-year-old is in favour of a condensed tournament played across three “safe” venues without fans in the stands. Such a solution could be the way forward for global sports leagues in the near future.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians will aim for IPL glory once more. They won the fourth title in just seven years with a narrow win over CSK in the 2019 final. South Africa star Quinton de Kock blasted 529 runs across the season while Jasprit Bumrah led the way with the ball, taking 19 wickets in 16 matches.
Given their firepower with both bat and ball, Mumbai are likely to be frontrunners with the bookmakers once more. Popular IPL betting sites already have a host of pre-tournament markets on offer including the overall winner, top-two finish, last-place team and more. New Mumbai signing Chris Lynn is expected to be a popular choice for Top Batsman, given his incredible striking ability. His previous domestic T20 appearance saw Lynn smash an unbeaten century for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League.
Lynn’s former team Kolkata Knight Riders made a splash at the IPL Auction, making Australian all-rounder Pat Cummins the most expensive overseas signing in the competition’s history. KKR paid 15.5 crores for the 26-year-old who was named Test Cricketer of the Year by the International Cricket Council in January. Cummins last appeared on the T20 scene in India when representing Delhi in 2017.
Fellow Aussie Glenn Maxwell was also a big-money buy in the auction, signing for Kings XI Punjab for 10.75 crores. Piyush Chawla was the most expensive Indian player sold during the process (excluding retained personnel) after CSK acquired his services. Chawla is an experienced player in this format, having played 157 times in the IPL during his career to date.
Former India international Sanjay Manjrekar has given his opinion on the IPL and agreed with Pietersen’s solution regarding the upcoming season. He feels that the economic benefits of the tournament taking place can’t be understated.
The 54-year-old said that when they receive clearances from all the authorities that matter, that the IPL should follow, only because it will kick start the economy. Because when you talk about the IPL, it’s not just about the Mumbai Indians, or a Dhoni or a Virat Kohli, there are a lot of people out there who are making their living through the IPL.
Since retiring from cricket, Manjrekar has been working as a cricket commentator, including working on previous Indian Premier League seasons.