The Board of Control for Cricket in India for the first time has put on record that the work to stage the Indian Premier League is continuing despite there still being no clarity on the status of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia during October-November.
There are serious doubts about Cricket Australia’s readiness to host the 16-team World Cup this year. The BCCI is keen to use the window created by postponement of the tournament Down Under. But the International Cricket Council has deferred the matter to next month while working simultaneously on “contingency plan and preparing to stage the World Cup this year”.
While the ICC move could have potentially derailed the BCCI’s planning around IPL 2020, the Indian Cricket Board shortly after the ICC Board video conference on Wednesday has informed the State units about commitment to stage the cash-rich league. Cancellation of the IPL, which had to be postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 spread, would result in a ₹ 4,000 crore revenue loss to the board.
“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,” BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has stated in the letter, which is in possession of SportzFront.
“Recently a lot of players, both from India and other countries, participating in IPL have also shown their keenness on being a part of this year IPL. We are optimistic and the BCCI will shortly decide on the future course of action on this.”
BCCI’s planning has been hampered by the indecision over the T20 World Cup. BCCI was waiting for ICC’s meeting on Wednesday to find out if they got a clear window for its home season, starting with IPL.
TOI has learnt that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for resumption of cricket in India have been finalized but the office-bearers are yet to approve it. The SOPs will mainly target at resuming cricket at the local level.
The letter further reads: “Essentially this SOP is being made with a view of providing our Members with a standard set of guidelines which will help the Associations to resume cricket in their respective areas. The BCCI has engaged medical specialists for the drafting of this SOP.”
The Ganguly in his letter has also addressed to two other issues – resumption of domestic cricket and release of funds to the State association.
There might not be much emphasis on the current domestic season which had been completed majorly before the novel coronavirus spread. The board will now be working on the planning of domestic calendar for next year with a view that nothing much is not going to change as the virus is feared to be around till an effective solution like a vaccine is found.
“We are working on various formats and options in our endeavour to ensure that various domestic tournaments are held, they stay competitive and participation is feasible.
The BCCI will come up with more details on this front over the next couple of weeks,” said Ganguly and added that there will be possible changes in format and standard operating procedures in place .
“With the upcoming season likely to be cramped and truncated, BCCI is working on altering its domestic season and the details would be shared in a couple of weeks,” read the letter.
“Moving ahead, the BCCI is in the process of planning the domestic competitions for the next cricketing season. We are working on various formats and options in our endeavour to ensure that various domestic tournaments are held, they stay competitive and participation is feasible. The BCCI will come up with more details on this front over the next couple of weeks,” the letter states.
“Essentially this SOP is being made with a view of providing our Members with a standard set of guidelines which will help the Associations to resume cricket in their respective areas. The BCCI has engaged medical specialists for the drafting of this SOP.”
Payments / grants to Members
Lockdown enforced to check the spread of the COVID-19 virus has adversely affected the finances of State cricket associations, who will be struggling to meet their day to day expenses. Ganguly in his letter has also addressed this crucial issue.
“During the past couple of months, when the country was under lock-down, the BCCI has made all efforts to release due and payable funds/grants to its various members. Associations which have made proper submissions of their accounts and fund utilisation certificate, have already received their grants. The BCCI will endeavour to release due and payable funds/grants for the remaining Associations as well, once all documentation formalities are completed from their end. The BCCI is also regularly making payments to its vendors and suppliers,” Ganguly stated in the letter.
This is the first time ever since the IPL, slated to start from March 29, has been deferred that a board official has come on record about the possibilities of the professional, franchisee-based competition this year. That strengthens the notion that sooner or later the ICC will be announcing the postponement of the T20 World Cup. And, as Ganguly stated in his letter, franchisees, broadcaster, overseas players and sponsors are waiting for the show to begin.