Nine years after Lalit Modi launched his brainchild, the Indian Premier League is set to kickstart its tenth season with the opener in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Unlike any previous IPL edition though this year’s league is not going to have one big opening ceremony. Instead, each of the eight teams will stage their own celebrations before their first home game of the season.
And by virtue of being the defending champions, Sunrisers Hyderabad get to start the party at the Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium on 5 April.
According to Cricketnext, Bollywood actress Amy Jackson, among a host of local talent, will peform in Hyderabad.
“Amy is set to perform and we will also have other regional faces. Apart from that, we could also have a laser show as also we will have the official digital signing of the eight captains and bringing the trophy back into play for this season,” an official of the Hyderabad Cricket Association told the website.
The ceremony starts at 6:15pm on Sony Six and the match will follow at 8pm.
On weekends, the IPL has doubles fixtures with matches at 4pm and 8pm. Below is a table of each of the ties in the upcoming season.
Hyderabad vs Bangalore
Even as the league starts its tenth season on Wednesday, there may never have been a time in the past nine years that so many big cricketers have chosen to stay away from the league, with an eye on the upcoming international calendar.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli injured his right shoulder during the recently-concluded Tests against Australia and his availability will not be known till the second week of April. That however, is just the start of the concerns in the RCB dugout. South African Ab de Villiers is being rested for the opening tie with a back injury, KL Rahul is expected to be out for the whole season, Sarfaraz Khan will miss the entire tournament after injuring his leg and Mitchell Starc too chose to withdraw his name even before the IPL started.
RCB has named former Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson as the interim captain but all eyes will now be on the Jamaican big-hitter Christopher Henry Gayle, who can tear apart any bowling attack on his day. RCB will be hoping the West Indian to give them a flamboyant start at the top.
Hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad will be hoping a grand opening with a balanced side under Australia's David Warner.
The defending champions will be hoping their domestic stars Yuvraj Singh, Shikhar Dhawan and Ashish Nehra to once again give them a brilliant start. With the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy in June, the trio will leave no stone unturned to get back into the Indian side.
Bangladesh' Mustafizur Rahaman can be Warner's go-to bowler along with Nehra both at the start and the death overs.