'Feels strange': Rajasthan Royals' co-owner's letter after planned fixture against CSK goes without action
Manoj Badale, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, had earlier expressed hope that IPL 2020 will get some play, albeit in the form of a shortened season.
Rajasthan Royals were scheduled to take on Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk in Chennai in their opening fixture of IPL 2020 on April 2 - what was the 9th anniversary of India's 2011 World Cup win. The stadium would have been buzzing with a capacity crowd and ear-deafening support for the franchises.
As it turned out, there obviously wasn't any play possible and it doesn't look likely in the near future either.
It was an exciting time for Rajasthan Royals with the team having roped in players like Andrew Tye and Tom Curran this season. The franchise had a couple of steals at the IPL 2020 auctions in David Miller and Oshane Thomas as well. Former KKR vice-captain Robin Uthappa was also set to be a part of the franchise. But, the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works for now.
Badale addressed the Royals family, as he wrote a moving letter on a day when the team was set to play its first fixture of the season.
"Cricket is our passion. It’s what has brought us all together. We live, breathe & love the game. We exist because of your passion throughout the year, which is at its peak during these months. Regardless of which part of the world we are in and whether we wear pink or any other jersey colour on match day, it’s the passion of the fans, teams & stakeholders that unites us all.
"Today was supposed to be the day we took the field against CSK in Chennai to open our IPL Season. Matches against CSK have always been nail-biters in the past, from winning the IPL final in 2008 to a last-over win in our 2018 ‘Cancer Out’ match, as well as some close battles last year. We wanted to bring that same level of excitement to the field today with our fearless brand of cricket - and to launch some new stars of the future."
Apart from their fortress at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, where the teams dishes out power-packed performances more often than not, RR were also set to play a couple of games at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati this season. This was the first time that Guwahati was hosting an IPL match and the given the fanatic fan following of the city, the games would have been (or will be) a cricket lover's delight.
"After months of hard work from our players, coaches, support staff and management, we were also looking forward to taking the IPL to the Northeast for the first time and giving fans there an opportunity to experience this great tournament live, with our first home game in Guwahati on April 5th.
"Waking up today on what would have been matchday, is strange. However, the world is facing something bigger than all of us at the moment and we must channel our passion into helping our global family. The safety, health and wellness of the entire world is of utmost importance to us and above everything else. Sport has always had the power to not only entertain, but also to unite. Fighting this virus by staying indoors over the next few weeks and staying healthy by following all safety guidelines is a great way to showcase our unity in these difficult times," Badale added.
The RR co-owner also requested the fans to practice social distancing and focus on their health at a time when a major part of the world's population is under lockdown.
"We are facing something that none of us has ever faced before, and while we all take on this new challenge with the same passion, grit and energy we have for cricket, we, as the Rajasthan Royals, will do everything to keep you engaged, entertained and updated.
"Please stay indoors, follow medical advice, stay safe, stay fit, maintain social distancing and be thankful to the real heroes: our healthcare workers, essential services’ workers and authorities who are working day and night and putting themselves at risk to protect us and the world during these tough times.
"Let’s fight this virus together as one big #RoyalsFamily. Physically apart but together in spirit! Together with Ranjit, Jake, our captain Steve Smith and the entire Rajasthan Royals team, I just wanted to say how much we value your continued support," Badale signed off.
The Rajasthan Royals co-owner had earlier disclosed that Rajasthan and other franchises were open to the idea of playing behind closed doors. He had also emphasised on the role of "the Stokeses and the Warners and the Butlers" of world cricket to make IPL the success that it is.
© Cricket World 2020