Hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL) in India remains BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s “FIRST PRIORITY” and he is hoping that the cricket world will not have to endure 2020 without the flashy event, despite his concerns around the rising COVID-19 cases.
Organizing the league overseas is an option but that would result in increased costs.
“I will put it in this order. Firstly, whether we can (have an IPL) within the time frame, as IPL has limited window.”
Secondly,(host it in) India. If its not possible, then we are thinking of gong out (foreign countries). But going out… because if you go out, it becomes expensive for everyone– franchises and board.
BCCI eyes IPL from Sept 26 to Nov 8
The Indian Premier League has a tentative schedule. The BCCI wants the league to begin on September 26 (a Saturday) and conclude on November 8 (Sunday) — a period of 44 days to host 60 games.
Broadcaster Star India and the franchises are reported to have reservations about this ‘confined scheduling’.
According to industry sources, Star wants to make optimum use of Diwali week in a bid to rake in advertisements in these lean times.
“If the IPL concludes by November 8, the team can fly to Australia from UAE by the 10th, undergo COVID tests, and start practice and warm-up matches so that the first Test can begin as scheduled. Also, India might want to play a day-night warm-up game ahead pf the proposed day-night Test, and that will add days to the schedule.”
Venue: UAE (most probably)
With the T20 World Cup’s postponement clearing the decks for a full-fledged IPL, the glitzy event’s Governing Council will meet in a week or 10 days’ time to plan its next course of action, eyeing UAE as the host this year. An IPL between September and early November has been made possible by the ICC’s decision on Monday to postpone the T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled for October-November, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The IPL GC will meet within a week or 10 days and all decisions (including the final schedule) will be taken there. As of now, the plan is to have a full-fledged IPL comprising 60 games and most likely in the UAE,” Patel told PTI.
Asked about the main challenges in conducting the event in the current scenario, Patel added: “Just the operational side of it. Whether you do it here or outside, it doesn’t matter (with no crowds).”The franchisees had already been working on their plans for the IPL even before the ICC announcement.
With the majority of the Indian players not having access to grounds amid the pandemic, teams will need at least three to four weeks to get them to match ready. Foreign players will fly indirectly to the UAE from their respective countries.
“Our players will need at least three to four weeks of training, if not more. We will finalize all our plans once the BCCI announces the dates. It looks like the IPL will be in the UAE and we are ready for that,” a team owner told PTI.
Since India tour Australia for a four-Test series right after the IPL, training of the Test players is also an important issue.
Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, who are not part of the IPL, are likely to train for the eagerly-awaited series in a bio-secure environment at the newly-renovated Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad during the time of the IPL.
A few fringe players are expected to join them at Motera along with the Indian team’s support staff, which is free during the IPL.
Work from home has become the norm amid the pandemic, therefore, there is a possibility that IPL commentary will happen from the comfort of the living room, a safer and cost effective-option considering the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, who is 71, are involved. The viewership is expected to be a record one with people craving for live cricket, something KXIP co-owner Ness Wadia has said.
However, it remains to be seen how much the broadcasters and teams are able to attract from the sponsors in the current financial climate.
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