Cricket Australia is giving enough indications that it’s neither ready not keen to host the ICC T20 World Cup this year. That opens a window of opportunities to a determined Board of Control for Cricket in India to stage the Indian Premier League 2020 in September-October this year.
The latest ray of hope comes from CA chairman Earl Eddings’ statement that it would be “unrealistic and very, very difficult” to host the World Cup Down under this year.
A final world on the World Cup has to come from the International Cricket Council next month. Even if the ICC decides to stage the 16-team, global T20 competition, BCCI will be keen to squeeze in a truncated IPL, whether in India or abroad.
Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia believes that even a shortened IPL should be a win-win situation for the franchisees as he expects the league to attract unprecedented television audience.
“I am sure BCCI is putting all its efforts towards a full IPL but we have no issues even with a curtailed one. We have to be aware of the situation we are in and optimise ourselves,” Wadia told national news agency PTI.
“IPL has also been a very forward looking and flexible tournament and that has to be maintained during the Covid situation. Going back to 2009, within one month we switched from India to South Africa.”
It might just not be easy to stage the league in India. Latest reports suggest that Covid-19 spread may now peak in the country by November-December as against the earlier assumptions of June July.
In such a scenario, managing teams’ travel, training, accommodation, broadcast will be a tough task. Hotels have also been out of bounds as of now. Though the Government has allowed stadia to be opened for sports and training, but not for spectators.
UAE, Sri Lanka or even Covid 19-free New Zealand can be the possible options to take the league overseas.
Wadia says location and duration of the tournament can be easily decided mutually by all stakeholders. “We would need adequate number of hotels in that place, so that we are able to quarantine players if needed. Whether in India or abroad, there has to be enough infrastructure,” he explained.
While there may be numerous reasons like no gate money, poor market condition and cost of hosting the league overseas to threaten the IPL business, Wadia remains optimistic about commercial aspects. He is expecting an increase in viewership and that is why he feels attracting sponsors would not be an issue.
“A shorter tournament will change sponsorship values. Having said that, a lot of sponsors might be happy to see the IPL happening even if it is shorter. It gives them a lot of publicity. In my humble opinion, the IPL might happen with a larger audience base purely based on the assessment that world has been through so much and the world needs that outlet,” he added.
“I don’t see any difficulty in attracting sponsors. Today there are too many variables but tomorrow if the IPL dates are announced, I don’t see why sponsors won’t come forward, given the viewership might increase.”
But all the franchisees as of now might just not agree with Wadia. Kolkata Knight Riders Chief Executive Venky Mysore has said recently that the stakeholders might just not accept a truncated IPL.