Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEo, Rahul Johri, has confirmed that plans are to hold the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Indian and international players following the monsoon season.
The idea, surely, depends mainly on the World T20, scheduled from October 18 through November 15, being deferred by Australia because of Covid-19. A decision is expected when the International Cricket Council’s board meets on May 28.
“IPL is one of the greatest engagers. More people watched the IPL last year than those who voted for general elections. For sponsors, cricket is a leader and it will lead the way. The recovery will be sharper than a V-shaped recovery,” said Johri at the TCM Sports Huddle webinar.
“The flavour of IPL is that best players of the world come and play, and everyone is committed to maintaining that flow. But it will be a step-by-step process. We can’t expect normalisation tomorrow,” he added.
Johri also specified that the players’ call to participate or not would be respected. Asked if the May 17 guidelines allowing stadiums to be opened without spectators mean IPL13, on hold because of a national lockdown, can be held soon, he said:
“We will be guided by the government guidelines. Our advisory says: IPL is suspended till further notice. We are engaging with various agencies. After the current phase of lockdown ends, there is the monsoon. Cricketing activities can start only after monsoon. By then, hopefully things will improve.”
Mr CEO also admitted that re-scheduling IPL won’t be easy even in October-November.
“When flights resume, everyone has to quarantine themselves before playing. We will have to look at how that will impact the schedules, which as it is are tight. Imagine you have to factor in 14-day quarantine prior to practice also. So, there are a lot of moving parts. But we are still optimistic. Hopefully, the situation will improve after monsoon, and we will approach it then,” he said.
Asked about holding IPL without spectators, he said:
“It will not just be in IPL but also international cricket. Although it (gate receipts) gives us small percentage of our revenue, it is important because bulk of that goes in maintenance of stadiums. However, in the short term, before we get back to normal, we can live without (spectators) it.”