Rahul Johri, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Board Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has stated that Indian Premier League games are on hold till the start of monsoon.
“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,” Johri said during a TCM Sports Huddle webinar.
“The flavour of IPL is that the 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 said.
Regarding the resumption of cricket according to the May 17 guidelines by the government to allow stadiums to open without spectators Johri 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.”
Any decision to schedule the IPL though depends upon the T20 World Cup in Australia scheduled from October 18 through November 15. Postponement of that tournament will open up a window for the BCCI to put out their annual showpiece.The outcome of the T20 World Cup is set to be discussed during the Board meet of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on May 28.
Also Read | IOA and Ministry’s Quid Pro Quo Games An Embarrassment for Indian Sport
Even in case the IPL can resume, Johri the difficulties organisers will face to get the season running. “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.
After being asked about the games being played without spectators, Johri said: “It will not just be in IPL but also international cricket. Although it (gate receipts) gives us a small percentage of our revenue, it is important because the 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.”
Also Read | PIO Hue and Cry Begins Again in Indian Football as Fortunes of National Team Slide
He also shed a light on the challenges that await the BCCI once the domestic season resumes. “In this changing scenario the scheduling of domestic cricket needs to be completely relooked at because today there is a team which can travel 50 kilometres to play a match or 3000 kilometres to play a match,” he said.
“Everybody plays every other team home and away. Now in this scenario where travel is restricted, where players’ safety, support staff safety is of paramount importance, how do you conduct these leagues? It is a discussion that will be had and interesting options will have to come up. Innovation will be the key in this.”
Read more sports stories from Newsclick