Pune: A leading businessman and co-owner/Chairman of Indian Premier League (IPL) team Delhi Capitals, Parth Jindal, said that the IPL which was scheduled to start on late March but had to be postponed due to coronavirus should be held as it is essential for the country’s morale.
Speaking in a live video chat over Instagram and interacting with the franchise’s fans, Jindal talked about the possibility of this year’s IPL being played behind closed doors and gave the example of how countries which have been hit harder by the virus than India have started to resume significant football leagues, such as the Bundesliga in Germany and the Premier League in England.
“COVID-19 has put the live sport in a difficult spot, especially in terms of fan engagement. The need for the live sport has never been felt in this way before, and it’s vital to bring it back to heighten the morale of the population. Globally, there are countries worse affected than India who is gradually resuming their national leagues – like the Premier League in England, and Bundesliga in Germany. Talks have begun on the NBA’s comeback in America too. I feel the IPL has a huge role in uplifting the spirits of the country,” Jindal said.
He said that it would be unfortunate not to have fans in the stadium, but this could pose an opportunity for teams and franchises along with the broadcasters to re-invent the fan experience.
“There can be no substitute for live sport. Fans may not have access to stadiums this year, but that will allow the franchises and broadcasters to innovate their fan engagement even more,” Jindal added.
With new ownership and a new name before the 2019 edition, along with some massive investment at the auction table, Delhi Capitals was a rejuvenated side last year and reached the playoffs last season after a lengthy gap.
‘DC the ‘team to beat’ this season’
Jindal credited the duo of coach Ricky Ponting and former team mentor Sourav Ganguly for changing the team’s fortunes for the better. “2019 was about setting standards and creating a culture. And Ricky and Dada did a wonderful job of it, creating a fantastic team environment, and a unit that gelled well on and off the field,” said Jindal.
“The idea was to build this team by maintaining consistency, so instead of frequent chop and change, we decided to back all our players even if they’d had a couple of bad games, and the results were there to see,” he added.
“In the trading window for this season, the team also brought in experienced Team India players such as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane, but decided to stick with young Shreyas Iyer as captain of the side, reflecting the team’s ideology of promoting younger players and have the experienced players support them.
Speaking about the same, Jindal added, “The addition of Rahane and Ashwin makes us an even more potent side. It gives the captain and coach options for all possible situations. Rahane is willing to bat at any position he’s needed in. At the same time, Ashwin’s bowling is well suited for the Kotla wicket,” adding that Delhi Capitals is the team to beat this season.