This is the first in a series of features where we will be taking a detailed dive into the various factors that stood out during the course of the Indian T20 League 2020 season.
"I can bet you that the Indian T20 League has been a smashing success this year, in terms of the ratings and the number of people who have watched the game," BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said at the end of Indian T20 League 2020, and there's no reason to believe otherwise. The 2020 edition of the tournament was a smashing success after uncertainties surrounding the tournament earlier in the year.
The action on the field was a spectacle by itself with so many Super Overs, superb batting and bowling performances, and outrageous fielding efforts. None of this would have been possible had the BCCI not made the courageous step to conduct the tournament of this scale in a bio-bubble.
While the governing body has received flak for several things in the past, to give credit where due, the Indian T20 League fiasco was certainly handled well.
Back in March when a major decision had to be taken regarding the Indian T20 League, the straightforward, fair choice would have been to suspend the league for the year. Instead, BCCI handled the situation well, even if it could be argued that the financial aspect of it forced them to.
Rather than immediately announcing the suspension of the tournament, BCCI sought alternative ways to conduct it. By Ganguly's own admission, even by August, BCCI weren't sure if the Indian T20 League would go on as planned in UAE.
"Unbelievable, and I am not surprised at all. When we were discussing with Star and all the people concerned – if we have to do it this year and one month prior to the tournament, we were contemplating, whether this can happen or not, what will be the ultimate result of the bio-bubble and will it be successful. We decided to move ahead with our plan because we wanted to bring normalcy in everyone’s lives and wanted to bring the game back. I am not surprised with the feedback,” Ganguly had said on Star Sports’ show Cricket Live.
While BCCI handled this well, the players also deserve credit for sticking through. Barring a couple of odd instances, players trusted the quarantine, isolation policies and obliged to the bubble and terms laid out carefully. Even when a few Chennai players tested positive for the virus before the tournament began, the players stuck through as BCCI had a proper Plan B and there was minimal fuss in the end.
Brett Lee was full of praise for the powers-that-be who made the spectacle possible in circumstances that were more than trying. "Given the way the year began, with sports a seemingly distant memory for a while, I feel it's truly remarkable that not only did the Indian T20 League 2020 got ahead but was executed so perfectly at a time when I think we all needed something to keep our minds off the world at large," gushed Lee."
The success story of Indian T20 League 2020 will also give some credit to the pitch curators. While slow, low decks like in the Caribbean Premier League were expected, the pitch held firmly and the action, as promised, was riveting at all of the three different venues, with each offering something different for the viewers.
After all, as Ganguly summed up, "this is the best tournament in the world" and it lived up to its hype.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / STRDEL