The cash-rich Indian Premier League in UAE will not be the same as fans are accustomed to. Due to the pandemic, the customary opening ceremony ahead of the tournament opener will also not be held. In 2019 as well, the opening ceremony was canceled as the Vinod Rai-led Committee of Administrators (CoA) decided to donate the fund to the families of CRPF personnel, who lost their lives in the Pulwama terror attack.

“We will not have any inaugural function for the IPL and the money budgeted for that goes to the martyrs’ families,” CoA chairman Rai had said.

This year the tournament will be held behind closed doors at three venues including Dubai and Sharjah. The opening match will be played between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians at Sheikh Zayed Stadium at 7:30 pm.

It will also be the first time that cheerleaders would not be there at the venues during an IPL match. Yet, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has assured that IPL 13 will be a huge revenue earner for broadcasters as all the fans would tune in to their TV sets to watch the matches.

“They (broadcasters) are actually expecting the highest rating of IPL this season because they believe if (people) don’t turn up in the ground, they will be actually watching on their television sets,” said Ganguly who also called it a ‘positive’ thing.

Ganguly said crowds could even return to the stands later in the 53-day tournament, which ends on November 10.

“Because of the Covid and infection, you don’t want people to be too close to each other, but very soon you will see there will be 30 percent people in the ground with social distancing,” the former captain said.