IPL returns to normality as 2023 schedule set

Featured image credit: BCCI

The Indian Premier League (IPL) will return to its traditional format across venues throughout the country for the first time since 2019, after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) unveiled the schedule for this year’s event.

After staging IPL 2022 across Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Ahmedabad, the League’s 16th season will revert to the home and away format, where all the teams will play seven home games and seven away games, respectively, in the league stage.

A total of 70 league stage matches will be played across 12 venues over the course of 52 days. IPL 2023 will commence on March 31 as reigning champions Gujarat Titans take on Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad at Narendra Modi Stadium – the largest cricket venue in the world.

Rajasthan Royals will play their first two home games in Guwahati before playing the remainder of their home games in their traditional base of Jaipur. Punjab Kings will play their first five home matches in Mohali, before taking to Dharamshala as a second venue for their final two regular season matches.

The BCCI said the schedule and venues for the playoffs and final will be announced at a later date, but IPL 2023 has been given a concluding date of May 28.

IPL 2019 was the last time the League was played across all its traditional venues in India. The 2020 IPL took place in the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 situation in India. The 2021 season did commence in India before a rise in COVID-19 cases forced the tournament to be suspended, with the UAE again stepping in to host the remainder of the campaign.

Last year’s competition saw the league phase staged at three venues in Mumbai (Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium and DY Patil Stadium), along with MCA International Stadium in Pune. The playoffs were held at Eden Gardens in Kolkata and Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

This year will also see the debut of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), with Mumbai set to host the inaugural edition from March 4-26 at Brabourne Stadium and DY Patil Stadium.

Franchises for the WPL were auctioned off last month, generating INR46,699,900,000 (£471m/€527m/$564m) for the BCCI, which labelled the competition as the “second-highest valued” league in the sport.

The tender process received bids from 16 entities, including the ownership groups of all but three of the 10 current men’s IPL teams, with the WPL franchises to be based in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.