The IPL has taken inspiration from the NBA and introduced its own All-Star game, to be played tentatively on March 25 as a curtain-raiser for this year’s T20 tournament. According to an IPL official, the match, which could be an annual fixture a la NBA, will be played between ‘North-East and South-West’. The IPL proper commences on March 29.
Simply put, stars from Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals will form the North-East team, to play against South-West comprising top players from Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians.
“Yes, we are doing it the NBA style, like they have East versus West (Eastern Conference versus Western Conference), and we intend to make it an annual fixture,” the IPL official told The Indian Express. “The venue for the match hasn’t been decided yet. Also, it’s premature to comment on who will lead the respective teams.”
The NBA All-Star game, played every February, features 24 of the league’s star players. The NBA All-Star weekend is a three-day event, from Friday to Sunday. In fact, the IPL has had a connection with the NBA since its inception in 2008. Lalit Modi looked up to former NBA commissioner David Stern and took his designation to call himself the IPL commissioner. During his visit to India in 2013, Stern, who passed away earlier this month, was impressed with the success of the franchise-based cricket league.
Meanwhile, the IPL official informed that no discussion has taken place with regards to incorporating more teams from 2021 onwards. “We have to see if players are available. We will think about it after the (2021) auction.”
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