With the 2020 edition of the IPL set to be played in front of empty stands, it is believed that franchises have taken their own initiative to keep players’ enthusiasm levels intact. Franchises have reportedly decided to display pre-recorded fan and cheerleader reactions to ‘cheer up’ the players.
The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will pose a challenge like no other for players, who will have no option to get acclimatized to the post-apocalyptic world which will see games being played in front of empty stands. While it is one thing to play Test matches behind closed doors, playing a high-octane tournament like the IPL - in which players feed off fan noise and support - in front of no spectators can be an extremely arduous and a daunting task that might demand a lot of self-motivation.
Thus, realizing the complexity, to ease the situation for the players, franchises are now said to be looking at employing methods to keep the in-stadia mood up. According to an ANI report, for the forthcoming season, different franchises are said to be mulling over the idea of playing pre-recorded footage of fans and cheerleaders on the big screen to cheer the players on.
"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," an IPL official told ANI.
According to the official, such a move will be a win-win situation for both parties, as while the fans will virtually get to express the love for their team, the players, too, will be made to feel ‘special’ knowing that they still have a brigade of supporters behind them, despite it being just virtual.
“It will actually work both ways if you see. While fans will feel they are getting to be a part of the action in their own little way, players will know that they are being closely followed by their fans even though they are not present live in the stadium. There is nothing more special for cricketers than to see fans cheer them on and motivate them."
However, with exactly a week left for the IPL to commence, there has been no official word yet from the BCCI as to what the plans are for the audience who will be watching from home. It remains to be seen whether the IPL, like the Premier League, will pipe-in fake crowd noise to recreate a live stadium-esque atmosphere.