The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a been a box full of mysteries and uncertainties, right from its initial days. Apart from the myriad of strange and bizarre things in the IPL, longevity of certain things has set the template right throughout the basic working of IPL. Like seeing a Virat Kohli in a red Royal Challengers Bangalore Jersey (RCB) or seeing a MS Dhoni in a yellow-clad Chennai Super Kings (CSK) jersey, has been a common sight and inadvertently we have taken these for granted and have forgotten that all good things comes to and end. In this article, we list down 5 things which we might be witnessing for the last time in IPL 2021.
Presence of MS Dhoni
Very few people will disagree if we say that MS Dhoni is the biggest name of Indian Cricket. A fair share of IPL’s craze and popularity can be attributed to MS Dhoni’s immense popularity and charisma. We have witnessed MS Dhoni right from season 1 to season 13. He has represented CSK for 11 seasons and had worn Rising Pune Supergiant’s sleeves when CSK were banned for a couple of years. However, MS Dhoni is in the twilight of his career and he has already hung up his boots from international cricket. Though during the toss of CSK’s last game in IPL 2020, MS Dhoni reassured everyone that he will be playing again in 2021, this well might be the last time we shall witness Dhoni in the IPL.
The IPL Governing Council (GC) had announced on 7th March that IPL shall be taking place in neutral venues this year. This was majorly done to nullify the disadvantages to Punjab Kings (PBKN), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) as these teams would not get any home venues if IPL did not take place in neutral venues. The GC had previously announced that this year, matches would only take place in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi. However, this might be the last edition where neutral venues are in place as from IPL 15, we all can expect the grueling pandemic to get curbed down.
The IPL in its entire tenure has had 8 teams on most occasions. However, in 2011, there was a 10-team tier and two new teams were added. We saw the presence of Pune Warriors India (PWI) and Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) in IPL 2011. While PWI were defunct after 2013, KTK were defunct after 2011 itself. Since then, we have always had 8 teams in the IPL. However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had announced in its Annual General Body Meeting, that there will be 10 teams in the IPL from 2022. This well might be the last time we witness 8 teams in the cash-rich and lucrative IPL.
Umpire’s call in the IPL
The Umpire’s call decision has been the harbinger of a lot of controversies and disagreements over the past few months. The umpire’s call says that the on-field umpire’s decision stays if there is a benefit of doubt. It uplifts the status of the umpires and time and again, both the batting team and the fielding team have fallen on the receiving end of this dreaded rule. Recently, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) wrote to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to scrap off the Umpire’s call. If ICC decide to scrap it off, we might well not see Umpire’s call in the IPL too. Cricketers and fans would be elated as cricket would become a tad simpler.
Absence of fans
Fans have always been an integral part of the IPL. They create an electrifying atmosphere in the stadium and cheer for their favourite players and favourite teams. Time and again, various cricketers have extended their gratitude to the fans for showering their unwavering love for them and have unofficially labelled them as the “12th man”. However, since IPL 2020, fans have not been allowed in the stadium because of the dreaded Covid:19 pandemic, that has rocked the entire world. This year too, there will be no fans in the IPL and matches will be played behind closed doors. However, if we are successful enough to overcome the COVID-19 threat, this might be the last year we will witness the absence of fans.