IPL 2021: No home advantage a positive, says Kohli
Chennai : The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was played without crowds due to the coronavirus pandemic but the cash-rich managed to break viewership records as 20 crore people tuned in to watch the tournament opener.
Moreover, the opening week of last year's IPL saw the league being watched by 269 million viewers -- a rise of 11 million viewers per match as compared to 2019 -- and a 15 per cent hike in advertising volume as compared to the 12th edition.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli expects a similar craze this time too for the megaevent. The 14th edition of the IPL will get underway from Friday as RCB begin their campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Since each team is playing on a neutral venue, Kohli feels having no home advantage is one of the positives a side can take prior to the start of the IPL.
"There is nothing like playing in M Chinnaswamy Stadium in front of your home crowd and I understand that obviously fans will miss watching us play but the good thing is that we are back in India and one more positive is there is no home advantage," said Kohli in a virtual press conference on eve of the IPL 2020.
"Every team is playing in neutral venues and the strength of your squad really comes to the fort. Precisely why last IPL was so competitive, until about the last three-four games, everyone was in reckoning to qualify," he further said.
"Which I think was great for the tournament, the viewership went through the roof which I expect to be the case this time around as well and the tournament will be very competitive this time around too," Kohli added.
RCB had qualified for the playoffs in the 2020 edition and is aiming to go one step forward and clinch their first IPL title in the upcoming tournament. "Doesn't feel too long ago that we were together, because of how things have panned out last year. We resume at the normal time that IPL happens," said Kohli.
"We had a good season last time around, probably would like to go a couple of steps further which we obviously aim as a side. Very excited to be with the squad," he added.
RCB squad: Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Finn Allen (wk), AB de Villiers (wk), Pavan Deshpande, Washington Sundar, Daniel Sams, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Kane Richardson, Harshal Patel, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Kyle Jamieson, Daniel Christian, Suyash Prabhudessai, KS Bharat (ANI)