IPL despite a pandemic is finally upon us. There have been 10 matches played so far and each was exciting in their own right. Although there is no crowd in the stadium, the IPL experience from home is still largely the same. There is a pre-recorded crowd noise played at the stadium which gets the job done as far as creating an atmosphere for TV viewers is concerned.
The one thing that caught my eye, however, is the number of lost balls. Usually, when a ball goes for six, the crowd goes mental and everyone wants to catch the ball. With a little snatching and laughing it usually gets thrown back at the nearest fielder for the match to continue. The game goes on as usual and there is no major loss of time. In this year’s IPL however since there is no one to throw the ball back, many balls get lost, delaying the match in the process. The umpiring staff has to be ready all the time with a box of used balls so that it could be handed to the fielding team in case a ball is hit for six and is lost.
This is not something that is happening with just the IPL. Prior to IPL, players were fetching balls themselves from the stands post COVID-19. In the game between New Zealand and Australia, players were seen fetching balls from the stands after a six as there was no crowd to give the ball back.
Reason for slow over rates?
Many games in this year’s IPL have taken more time than they should. This could be mostly due to the time lost in getting balls back from the stands or changing them when one gets lost. Kohli was fined Rs 12 lakhs for slow over-rate against KXIP in their last match. Although there is no confirmation on the issue, it’s most likely a result of no crowd in the stands along with the high amount of dew.
No Significant Difference for TV Viewers
Addition of fake crowd noise had made the IPL 2020 feel similar to the past IPLs for people watching at home. There is not much difference in this year’s IPL for TV viewers as there is enough crowd noise that gives a sense of a full stadium. There were false cheerings going on at the beginning when the person in charge of the stadium-noise would press the button by mistake for even dot ball, but as time progressed, it has become better and feels more natural. A good crowd would surely be missed by the Kohlis and Pandyas of the game but for the TV viewers, a lack of crowd hasn’t made much difference.