The IPL has tweaked the timeout system it introduced last season, with each team now able to call for a two-and-a-half minute break once any time during each innings. It is a more flexible system than in the previous year, when there was a seven-and-a-half minute break at the end of the 10th over of an innings.

"The timeout will allow teams to confer amongst themselves at crucial time in the game as needed," Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said on his Twitter feed. "It will help them re-strategise."

The previous timeout system had come in for criticism from several quarters, including Sachin Tendulkar, who said it hampered the momentum of a team in a Twenty20 match.

On a day when Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne raised concerns about playing in the IPL this year during to security threats, Modi emphasised that the tournament's organisers are working hard on ensuring players' safety. "Security is always our top-most priority," he said. "All our actions over the years have demonstrated that. We are working with all round the clock."

Security fears regarding the IPL have intensified over the past few days after a string of statements from the 313 Brigade, Al-Qaeda's operational arm in Pakistan, issued a warning to "the international community" not to send its representatives to major sports events being staged in India, including the IPL.