Cricketer-turned-commentator Ravi Shastri believes that the Indian Premier League (IPL) could expand to two seasons in a single calendar year.
The IPL, the most successful product of the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI), has completed a journey of 15 seasons and with every year passing it tends to grow by leaps and bounds.
What makes the IPL so crazy is the electrifying crowd in a nation where the cricket players are considered to be idols and cult figures. In a year when the entire country was impaired by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the BCCI ensured there was no interruption to the IPL, which was shifted to the United Arab Emirates.
You might have two seasons of IPL: Ravi Shastri
The fact that the Indian board wasn’t in a position to lose the whopping amount from the broadcasting and sponsorship deals. The board could record major losses but that surely was not the case.
Shastri, who had been a commentator in the biggest cricket event for a long time, said IPL could see a shorter version in the second half of the year with the dip in bilateral series.
“I think you might have two [IPL] seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised at all. If bilateral cricket is reduced, you might well have a shorter format of the IPL in the latter half of the year, more like a World Cup format with a knockout that decides the winner,” Shastri said on Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast.
“The full competition with 10 teams could go to 12 teams in the future with the schedule stretching from one-and-a-half to two months,” he added.
IPL is an industry on its own: Ravi Shastri
Shastri feels that the expansion of the IPL would benefit the stakeholders of the game with the surge in supply and demand of the game.
“All that is possible because it is driven by money and supply and demand. The demand is big for that type of format. The IPL will be tempted to go in that direction,” he said.
“It’s great for the sport, great for the players, broadcasters and people who work around the teams. It’s [the IPL] an industry on its own now,” the former Indian player added.
The BCCI claimed a remunerative deal of INR 48,390 crore($6.2 billion) for the next cycle of five years period (2023-27). The rights were sold in four different categories. The BCCI is keen to extend the duration of the IPL window to two and a half months from the regular two months period.