BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has hinted towards a full-fledged IPL 2020 with all the international cricketers later this year after the monsoon goes by. The possibility surely depends on the postponement of the ICC T20 World Cup which was scheduled to take place in October and November this year.
IPL 2020 was slated to start from March 29 2020. But with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI suspended it indefinitely. On Wednesday itself, certain media reports emerged suggesting that the BCCI is probing into the September-November window to conduct IPL.
Now, BCCI CEO, Rahul Johri has affirmed the news and fans could be in for delight if the possibility turns into reality.
IPL 2020 Possible With International Stars After Monsoon: BCCI CEO Rahul Johri
“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,” said Johri at the TCM Sports Huddle webinar.
“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,” he said. Johri though said players’ decision to participate or not would be respected.
We Will Be Guided By Government Guidelines: Rahul Johri
BCCI is waiting for a final word from the Indian government. The country is currently observing the fourth phase of lockdown, which ends on May 31. The board might be allowed to conduct a few activities if the restrictions are lifted. There could also be a case that BCCI might be allowed to stage IPL behind the closed doors in the next few months.
“We will be guided by the 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 monsoon. By then, hopefully things will improve,” Johri said.
Rahul Johri accepted scheduling IPL won’t be easy even in October-November.
“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.
Asked about holding IPL without spectators, Johri said: “It will not just be in IPL but also international cricket. Although it (gate receipts) gives us small percentage of our revenue, it is important because bulk of that goes in maintenance of stadiums. However, in the short term, before we get back to normal, we can live without (spectators) it.”
Speculations Intensify Over IPL 2020 Future
IPL 2020 was scheduled to start from March 29, but due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCCI postponed it until April 15. As the nationwide lockdown extended in India, BCCI suspended IPL 2020 Indefinitely. Now, with the situation worsening, it seems a huge possibility that IPL stands nothing but cancelled this year.
On April 10, latest reports suggested that the BCCI is probing into the July window to conduct the IPL and it could take place behind closed doors. However, all hopes once again vanished as the BCCI has suspended the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 indefinitely in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. With COVID-19 victims toll rising in India, cricket returning to India seems a possibility far from reality.