More teams, more games and more rides. The Indian Premier League, the golden goose of Indian cricket, is back home even as the sporting world takes small steps towards normalcy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 10-team IPL 2022 marks the beginning of a new era as the next generation of superstar cricketers compete to become the faces of the league.
It’s that time of year when the cricket stars dominate prime time. 40 overs cricket and entertainment every day while allegiances switch and social media is dominated by fan fights. With 70 games played in the league stages, 14 more than last year, there is plenty to do for cricket fans around the world.
IPL 2022: Full Coverage | Full program
Over the years, the IPL has evolved and, despite the cricket overdose, has found new audiences. It will be interesting to see the league take its first steps into a new era as players who were figureheads of the moneyed T20 league stand in the shadows of their careers while young stars wait to make it big.
10 TEAM BATTLE
For the first time since 2011, IPL will have 10 teams. The two new franchises, Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants sold for Rs 5625 crore and Rs 7090 crore respectively when the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) flaunted the T20 league’s high rating. For exampleThe owners of the iconic Manchester Untied also wanted a piece of the IPL pie but lost out on the bidding table to RPSG group and UK-based CVC group.
There was no shortage of talent as both Gujarat and Ahmedabad have managed to field impressive teams Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul as their captains.
With 2 new teams, the IPL has moved away from the two-legged round-robin format. There are two groups of five teams each.
IPL 2022: New format explained
While the Mumbai Indians lead Group A, the defending champions Chennai Super Kings lead the group. The BCCI has divided the teams into two virtual groups based on the number of IPL championships won, followed by the number of finals they have played.
CROWD IS BACK
When the first leg of the 2021 IPL took place in India, it was strange to see the empty grandstands. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the sport in many ways while taking away the atmosphere the crowd has created, particularly in India over the years in the IPL.
The BCCI has decided to allow 25 percent capacity for all league phases of the 2022 IPL as the country’s Covid-19 situation appears to be under control.
The BCCI has decided to host the entire league stages in only 4 venues – 3 in Mumbai and 1 in Pune to limit the chances of Covid-19 infection for players, coaches and other stakeholders. The decision was made to avoid air travel between the venues.
DHONI, KOHLI TAKE BACK
No more dhoni kohli bromance on throw (courtesy BCCI)
How strange will it be not to see MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli walk to the draw, sharing a warm hug and friendly banter for the draw when Chennai Super Kings take on Royal Challengers Bangalore? The two superstars, along with Rohit Sharma, have been the protagonists of the IPL blockbuster over the years.
However, Virat Kohl resigned as RCB captain last year. While speculation has been rife that the former skipper will return to the top job after giving up the Indian captaincy, RCB has named Faf du Plessis captain of the Bengaluru-based franchise for the 2022 season.
in Chennai, MS Dhoni gave up the captaincy, 2 days before CSK’s opening game. He passed the baton to Ravindra Jadeja who is confident of leading the team as Dhoni is still part of the Super Kings squad.
While CSK emphasized that Dhoni will continue to represent the franchise “this season and beyond”, it remains to be seen how the legendary “Thala” will fare in the coming season.
Cricket fans will also miss two of the IPL’s most decorated stars – AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle, as the big names have decided not to take part in the mega auction. While de Villiers retired from all formats of the game after IPL 2021, Gayle did not participate in the bidding process.
PRESSURE ON ROHIT?
Rohit Sharma is undoubtedly the most successful captain in IPL history. But will there be any pressure on the Mumbai Indians captain considering he is heading into a season for the first time after becoming India’s full-time captain in all formats?
Questions have been asked about Rohit’s fitness in the recent past but the influential captain has said he is looking forward to playing all matches for MI in the midst of a busy cricket season.
NEXT GENERATION CAPTAINS
Meet the first-time captains of the IPL 2022
With the role of heir to the throne of Rohit Sharma in the senior team up for grabs, IPL 2022 offers a good platform for potential candidates to showcase their class.
Shreyas Iyer, who led the Delhi Capitals to their first-ever final, was sidelined as captain with a shoulder injury. He decided to participate in the auction again, and KKR paid big bucks for his services. Iyer has shown rich form for India lately and he hopes to carry that into the IPL and inspire KKR to their third title.
The spotlight will also be on Ravindra Jadeja as he heads to the draw and leads CSK on Saturday. The all-rounder has reiterated he will look to Dhoni for guidance as he prepares to continue the legacy of the men in yellow.
Hardik Pandya’s progress will be closely followed throughout the IPL. After losing his spot on the Indian team due to his inability to bowl regularly following back surgery in 2019, Hardik has a point to prove as he takes on a new role as captain of the Gujarat Titans. Having spent time with the Mumbai Indians’ winning teams in the past, Hardik hopes to instill a winning mentality into the new franchise.
Meanwhile, KL Rahul also needs to inspire a fledgling unit at the Lucknow Super Giants. Lacking success as captain at both Indian and IPL levels, the opener will eye another productive season with the bat, apart from leading an exciting group of cricketers.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant will look to continue his good run at the Delhi Capitals. It will be important for the wicketkeeper batter to continue his good run with the bat in the IPL.