Rahul Johri, CEO of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) looks positive about hosting the 13th season of Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) with foreign players and hinted towards the September-November window.
Speaking at the TCM Sports Huddle webinar, Rahul Johri said, “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.”
“The flavour of IPL is that the best players in 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. Johri though said players’ decision to take part or not would be respected.
Rahul Johri said that the IPL will follow the Government guidelines when asked about the May 17 press release by MHA. Also added that the IPL can only take place after the monsoon. When the current phase of lockdown ends on May 31 monsoon will start soon and cricket can only start after the monsoon,
“We will be guided by 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 the monsoon. By then, hopefully, things will improve,” Johri said.
Johri pointed out that organising IPL will be a challenging task as players need to be quarantined before practice.
“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 before practice as well. So, there are a lot of moving parts. But we are still optimistic. Hopefully, the situation will improve after the monsoon, and we will approach it then,” he said.
When asked about IPL matches behind closed doors, Johri said, “It will not just be in IPL but also international cricket. Although it (stadium tickets) gives us a small percentage of our revenue, it is important because the bulk of that goes in the maintenance of stadiums. However, in the short term, before we get back to normal, we can live without it.”
BCCI is looking to host the IPL in September-November window, which is possible only is ICC T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia postponed. ICC is hosting a meeting on May 28, to decide the fate of the T20 World Cup, shifting of T20 World Cup to 2022 is one option.