The 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) could start two weeks earlier than intended in light of the Indian team management’s request to allow sufficient rest-time for the fast bowlers ahead of the 50-over World Cup in England.
According to report by ESPNcricinfo, India skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri had stressed upon the important of giving the pacers at least a two-week rest in their meeting with the BCCI’s senior management and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) last month.
The team management’s request was made in the string of meetings held in New Delhi and Hyderabad with Test and ODI vice-captains Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma in attendance too.
It is understood that IPL CEO Hemang Amin informed the CoA that such a request would need the consent of each franchise involved and as such, would be highly unlikely to be granted.
This is turn, has led the BCCI and the CoA to consider the possibility of holding the IPL two weeks in advance with March 23 mooted as a possible launch date.
Whether or not Kohli and the team management will get their wish remains to be seen with uncertainty surrounding the IPL dates remaining intact as India prepares to go for a general election next year.
Should the general elections clash with the IPL window, the BCCI could be forced to shift the tournament to the UAE or South Africa but India remains the preferred option for the organisers.
A call on the final scheduling of the tournament will only be taken once the Central Election Commission of India has announced the dates for the general elections.
For now, the IPL franchises are busy finalizing their squads ahead of the player auction which is set to take place in Jaipur on December 18. Teams have until November 15 to make any trades with other franchises and select the players they wish to retain.
The India limited-overs stalwart’s future in the IPL has been subject to recent speculation with Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians also vying for his signature.
However, it is the Daredevils who have beaten Mumbai and Kings XI to Dhawan’s signature.
The Delhi franchise has traded three players – Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhishek Sharma – in the opposite direction in order to secure the services of Dhawan.
Dhawan was understood to be unhappy with his Sunrisers Hyderabad contract and was in negotiations with various franchises as he searched for a pay rise.
We have traded Shikhar Dhawan to Delhi Daredevils for Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhishek Sharma. We thank Shikhar for his contribution to the team over the years and wish him the very best. pic.twitter.com/oEqwJ61yw1— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) November 5, 2018
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce, that one of our long standing players, Shikhar Dhawan, will be moving to another franchise in 2019. The Sunrisers were delighted to pick Shikhar up in the auction after using one of its RTM (right to match) cards earlier in the year. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that the player has been unsettled ever since with the amount he was bought for in the auction, which unfortunately we cannot rectify due to IPL rules,” a statement from the Sunrisers read.
“The franchise has made the decision to trade Shikhar as they feel it is best for both parties. Sunrisers value great contribution that Shikhar has made over the years, and saddened that due to financial reasons, he feels it’s time to move on. We wish him and his family all the best,” it went on to add.
This will be Dhawan’s second stint with his hometown franchise. He had earlier represented the Daredevils in the inaugural IPL edition in 2008.
In 143 matches in the IPL, the left-hander has recorded 4,058 runs at an average of 33.36 with the help of 32 half-centuries.
Sehwag had been employed as the team’s mentor in 2016 after spending two seasons with the Punjab franchise as a player.
The former India international took to Twitter on Saturday to announce the end of his stay with the franchise.
“All good things must come to an end and I’ve had a wonderful time at Kings XI Punjab, for two seasons as a player and three as a mentor. My association with Kings XI comes to an end and I am thankful for the time I have had here and wish the team all the very best for the times ahead,” Sehwag wrote in a Twitter post.
The 40-year-old’s departure from the franchise comes just days after Mike Hesson was appointed as the head coach of the team.
The Kiwi native replaced Brad Hodge in the role despite the Aussie being appointed on a three-year contract ahead of the 2018 edition.
The Ravichandran Ashwin-led outfit had made an electric start to their campaign in the 2018 edition before a disastrous run in the second half of the competition saw them miss out on a playoff spot.
All good things must come to an end and I've had a wonderful time at Kings 11 Punjab, for 2 seasons as a player and 3 as a mentor. My association with Kings 11 comes to an end and I am thankful for the time I have had here and wish the team all the very best for the times ahead.— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) November 3, 2018