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Editorial: Swashbuckling season of cricket

With India being the host of the one-day World Cup later this year, the response of the overwhelming crowd in the post-pandemic phase will undoubtedly act as a shot in the arm.

Editorial: Swashbuckling season of cricket
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Board of Control for Cricket in India

The powers that be of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would have taken considerable heart from the huge turnout of spectators at the Indian Premier League so far.

With India being the host of the one-day World Cup later this year, the response of the overwhelming crowd in the post-pandemic phase will undoubtedly act as a shot in the arm.

Two of the three previous editions of the IPL had happened abroad in view of the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in India. During the last season, only two venues in the country were selected as hosts as the BCCI and the IPL governing council chose to tread with caution.

Now, for the first time since 2019, the most lucrative domestic T20 League has returned to home-and-away format and the stadia have been thrown open to the cricket-starved public.

And expectedly, the crowds have thronged the venues lapping up the entertainment with wild abandon. One only had to take a look at the serpentine queues of die-hard cricket buffs, lining up at the MA Chidambaram stadium box office, who braved the scorching sun on Tuesday, in an attempt to score their tickets for the CSK versus SRH match to be held on Friday.

It is worth remembering that India is hosting the showpiece 50-over World Cup for the fourth time and the forthcoming tournament, due to start in October, will mark the first occasion where it will be the sole host.

The last few months have been a witness to a flurry of groundbreaking developments in Indian cricket with the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) turning out to be a resounding success.

There seems to be no end in sight to the vast riches on offer for the BCCI with the IPL expanding from eight to 10 teams last season and the five WPL franchises being acquired at a king’s, or should we say queen’s ransom.

With the World Cup around the corner, the BCCI has swung into action with the refurbishment of the stadia being uppermost on its agenda. Indeed, the richest governing body in cricket is pulling out all stops to make it a grand spectacle.

While the BCCI can pride itself on its notable accomplishments, it will be hoping for some much-needed and belated success on the field as Team India hasn’t won a global competition since 2013. A decade sans major silverware is a blot on the copybook of a major cricketing powerhouse such as India.

The World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia in June comes as a godsend to end that excruciating wait.

However, the icing on the cake will be another home World Cup triumph similar to the one in 2011. With Ahmedabad, cricket’s equivalent of the Colosseum, hosting the final in November, what better place to win it for a third time.

That will put Ahmedabad on the cricketing map for posterity. The worshippers of the willow might just have one more reason to never lose hope in their men in blue.

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