The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League will begin in the United Arab Emirates on September 19, and the teams are entering the final phase of preparations as the date of the opener nears. Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians will take on MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in the curtain-raiser of the tournament.
However, the fans will be missing -- at least during the initial stages of the tournament -- owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Many former cricketers and experts have commented on the absence of fans and the adverse impact it could have on some of the players, which derive energy from crowd support.
Even as fans remain absent, the pre-recorded voices of fans cheering for the sides will be heard during the games. In a conversation with ANI, a franchise official informed on the development.
"The stadiums will be empty as everyone is looking to ensure that health protocols and bio-bubble regulations are strictly followed. So, it was decided that while some teams will record the reactions of cheerleaders, which will be played out for every four, six or wicket, other teams have decided to create small videos of fans cheering for them and those will be played out while the cricketers are battling it out in the middle," the official said.
The pre-recorded video footage of cheerleaders made an appearance during the initial phase of the Caribbean Premier League. In football matches across Europe, fan voices, chants and celebratory roars were a permanent feature in major leagues.
Fan cams were also present behind the goal-posts in England's Premier League.
The 13th edition of the IPL will take place in three cities across the UAE - Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.