The shifting of the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to the United Arab Emirates may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for at least 50 aspiring cricketers, who are all prepared to travel to UAE with the eight teams as “exclusive” net bowlers, offering them an opportunity to bowl to the likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and many more star cricketers for close to a month.
Out of the eight franchises, three of them, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals have already confirmed that they are carrying a roster of net bowlers. The list of bowlers as confirmed by the teams, mostly comprises of First-class, U-19 and U-23 state level cricketers.
The teams had been using the local bowlers and the junior fringe players all these years for the nets, but adhering to the strict bio-security measures laid down for the tournament, teams are now bound to arrange for quality bowlers for the nets.
While the squad strength has been capped to 24 players per franchise, the BCCI has not specified any contingent volume which will vary from team to team but it could be safely assumed that most of the eight sides will not avail any local net bowlers.
Teams have already started preparations for the same with Chennai Super Kings CEO Kashi Vishwanathan confirming on Tuesday, that they are planning to take around 10 bowlers for the practice sessions, while KKR also confirmed that they will be having 10 net bowlers in their roster.
The Delhi Capitals on the other hand has confirmed to be taking around six net bowlers, who will be a part of the team’s “bio bubble”.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Royals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore are also enroute to finalize the number of net bowlers that they will carry. Both the teams have the advantage of being able to pick bowlers from their own respective academies.
Teams now bound to carry net bowlers in their roster is just one among the many changes to look out for due to the given COVID restrictions.