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BCCI to go ahead with IPL plans, Ganguly assures State associations of IPL staging

The Indian Cricket Board, BCCI is planning to go ahead with Indian Premier League for the year 2020, even though the ICC (International Cricket Council) is still weighing the possibilities of holding ICC T20 World Cup scheduled for October.

In a letter released to state associations on Wednesday, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said that the board is planning to decide the future course of IPL season for the year 2020, in high probability. Ganguly further said that the board is willing to host the league in empty stadiums if need be, to avoid coronavirus infection spread. This would be the thirteenth season of IPL this year, a popular format in India with T20 concept.

The financial consequences for BCCI and the team franchisees of not holding the league is huge. The IPL brings exponential revenues to the board and state owners.

Almost three months after BCCI decided to suspend IPL, on March 13, it is now hopeful about the probability of IPL staging in 2020, by the end of the year.

The letter from BCCI president to the State associations transcripts “The BCCI is working on all possible options to ensure that we are able to stage the IPL this year, even if it means playing the tournament in empty stadiums. The fans, franchisees, players, broadcasters, sponsors and all other stakeholders are keenly looking forward to the possibility of IPL being hosted this year.”

This decision came after many national and international players expressed their keenness to participate in 2020’s IPL season.

BCCI is hoping to begin the domestic season, after coronavirus induced curb on tournaments by the end of year with IPL, targeted months being September – October. Officials say that the delay happened due to ICC’s indecision on resuming T20 World Cup 2020. BCCI wanted to decide on a clear plan of action after meeting with ICC on Wednesday.

Hurdles for State Franchises

State franchisees are expected to face hurdles in preparing for the tournament staging. Logistics are another checkpoint to be sorted out before the league launches. A franchisee official said, “We will need at least 45 days to get everything in order.”

Prepare for reduced revenues

The franchisees are expected to earn a revenue 60%-70% of the total anticipated annual revenue if the tournament goes ahead.

International tournaments are to be delayed for now, BCCI said. The India tour to Sri Lanka or South Africa has been kept on hold for now and the preference is being given to the IPL launch first this year. With no curb in the COVID-19 cases, BCCI is also planning to not schedule any net practice.

On the decision of tournaments in empty stadiums, former India top player Rahul Dravid said, “International cricket in empty stadiums will be weird. Players are professionals and they will deal with it by delivering top-class performances, but they will miss the interaction with the crowd. The buzz of the crowd and the energy that they create will be missing.”

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