BCCI CEO Rahul Johri 'optimistic' about organising IPL with international players

Speaking at a webinar, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri indicated that the BCCI will take a call on the IPL after the monsoon.

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri said that cricketing activities in earnest can start only after monsoon.   -  Getty Images

 

The future of domestic cricket season in 2020 remains a major area of concern for all stakeholders. With no clarity on when cricketing action will resume, there are speculations that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may need to look at a curtailed season.

Speaking at a web panel discussion on ‘How the Sporting Fraternity is Gearing up Post Lockdown’ – organised by Twenty First Century Media – BCCI Chief Executive Officer, Rahul Johri, stated that innovation will be the key.

“Domestic cricket is the bedrock of Indian cricket. What people don’t realise is that we conduct over 2,000 games over a span of six months. In today’s world, changing scenario, the scheduling of domestic cricket needs to be completely relooked at,” Johri said.

“Today, there is a team that can travel 50km to play a match or 3,000 km to play a match because every team plays home and away. In such times, when travel is restricted, the safety of players and support staff is of paramount importance, how do you conduct these leagues? How do you look at it? It is a discussion that we will have and interesting options need to come up. Innovation will be the key in this,” the BCCI CEO said.

READ| COVID-19: Safety protocol complications delay England bowlers’ return to training

With the government permitting the stadiums to open and domestic travel about to resume from May 25, what are the chances of having the Indian Premier League (IPL) this time? “We will be guided by the government of India in its entirety. Government guidelines is what we will follow. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves in anything and if you see the BCCI advisory which says cricket is suspended till further notice. We are engaging with a lot of agencies,” he said.

“The lockdown is there till May 31 and then, we have the monsoon season. Cricketing activities in earnest can start only after monsoon. Hopefully things will improve and that can give us more variables which we can control and accordingly take a decision,” Johri said.

The CEO also ruled out possibilities of hosting the IPL with just Indian players. "The flavour of IPL is that 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," 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 CEO stated.

Johri accepted scheduling IPL won’t be easy. “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.

But even if the IPL is played, there is a possibility that the stadiums will be empty. The BCCI and the franchises will be missing out on the revenue generated from gate money.

“Not just the IPL, it is also about the international cricket that we play. Gate money albeit being a smaller amount of our overall revenue but it is extremely important because bulk of it goes in the maintenance and upkeep of the stadiums,” Johri said.

“Infrastructure needs to be kept ready and in good health, for which gate money is a criteria. However, in short term, as we head for normalcy, it is something one can live without but ultimately, it’s an important piece…”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos