Why IPL 2019 might be a lackluster event
India is undisputedly the biggest market for cricket in the world. During the summer, the IPL comes into the limelight, audiences all over the world going ga-ga over it. But the 2019 edition is set to be an exception. With the World Cup to be played immediately after the IPL, all the attention will be fully focused on it.
There is also this not-so-small matter of it being staged outside India. With the general elections also scheduled to be held in 2019 at around the same time, all security personnel and forces will be preoccupied with it, thus being unable to provide necessary security cover and bandobast. Therefore it has to be staged outside India, with reports suggesting that South Africa is the most likely option. In 2009, the IPL was hosted there, while part of the 2015 edition was staged in the UAE. But with only 3 major stadiums available, the UAE is not a viable option.
Also, most boards would like to protect their players from any injuries and wrap them in cotton wool, rightly so, ahead of the biggest cricketing event. Winning a world cup remains the top priority for not just the respective boards but the players too. Players begin careers dreaming of lifting the cup one day, but very few chosen ones ultimately end up living it.
So it won't be a surprise if top players like Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Kane Williamson, Aaron Finch play little or no part in the tournament. Most of these are likely to be called up midway through the tournament to their respective national camps, if they do play that is.
The BCCI itself might be keen on managing the workload of its key players including Kohli, Dhawan, Rohit, Bhuvi, Bumrah and the likes. Losing any of them to injuries might prove detrimental to their World Cup campaign.
Two stars, however, might be available for the full length of the tournament. With the disgraced duo of Smith and Warner not playing too much competitive cricket, the Australian cricket board might just allow them to play in the high-intensity IPL as preparation for the World Cup.
An uncertain IPL 2019 looms.