Indian Premier League 2020 (IPL 2020) season has become like a sea-saw. The hopes of the cricket fans gets raised one day with some positive news and the very next day it dies down. To bring in some certainty to the IPL 2020 season, BCCI and all other stakeholders will have to cross 5 hurdles to have a guaranteed season this year. Take a look –
IPL 2020 Hurdle 1 – ICC T20 World Cup Postponement
No matter how hard BCCI or others tries, nothing for IPL 2020 will move if the International Cricket Council (ICC) does not officially make an announcement on the T20 World Cup in Australia. According to the protocols, BCCI can announce the IPL 2020 only if the T20 World Cup gets officially postponed. Until or unless that does not happen, BCCI and other stakeholders can only wait.
IPL 2020 Hurdle 2 – Selection of VENUE
With Covid19 cases growing in the country and peak for the same still to come in, one thing is certain now that IPL 2020 will not happen in India. Once the T20 World Cup gets postponed, BCCI will have to take this big decision – where exactly to play IPL 2020. The tentative dates for IPL 2020 are already identified from Sep 26th to Nov 8th, what needs to be finalized will be the final offshore venue for IPL 2020. The toss up as reported by InsideSport and already confirmed by BCCI will be between Sri Lanka & United Arab Emirates (UAE) with later being the hot favorite.
IPL 2020 Hurdle 3 – Format & Buy in from all stakeholders
The next step for the organizers would be to finalize the format for IPL 2020. Though some of the franchises have clearly made their position clear by declaring ’no tinkering should be done with the IPL format’, the situation is such that without tweaking the IPL 2020 format it will be difficult for BCCI, Star Sports to deliver the league this year. Whether the tournament takes place in venue A or B – one thing is certain that like other global sporting events the IPL season will be played under various restrictions and new instructions. The moment for the teams will be limited, crowds will be strict no-no, norm of Covid19 – the bio-bubble will place various restrictions on everyone and health security will be of paramount importance and as such the format change will become a necessity.
Format change will be dependent on the fact how many days & playing venues BCCI will have at its disposal to conduct the event. Provided the number of days are reduced, IPL 2020 format can be tweaked by dividing teams into two groups or by playing minimum 2 games a day at the same venue. Adjustments and tweaks also will have to be done with the way IPL’s TV production is done. Be it adding some artificial noise or digital screens in the stadiums – IPL 2020 will have to innovate to make the product entertaining for its audiences.
IPL 2020 Hurdle 4 – International Flights & International Stars
It was easier for IPL Governing Council’s chairman Brijesh Patel to say ‘we can also go ahead with IPL without international stars’, but very difficult to implement. IPL without the top international stars will lose its ‘sheen and the tag of best vs best’, as stated by CSK’S top management. International cricket is in lockdown since March 18th. More than 14 international cricket series till date have been lost to Covid19. Once the T20 World Cup gets postponed, international cricket boards will try to organize their postponed series in the window between September to November so that they somehow regain their lost revenue opportunity.
Under these circumstances, BCCI will have a task at hand. The India board will have to ensure that the top international players are released by their respective boards for the IPL 2020. Not only this, there will be another hurdle for the IPL 2020. Many international flights are currently un-operational and borders are closed. Will they open up by the time IPL 2020 gets conducted. Even to organize IPL in any offshore venue thorough planning in regard to logistics will be required. All that will not be possible without normal and smooth international traveling operations.
IPL 2020 Hurdle 5 – Go ahead from the Indian Government
Indian government is yet to give go ahead on any international tournament in India or for that matter traveling of Indian athletes to off-shore venues to compete. If the tournament gets shifted to an international location, BCCI would also be required to fulfill all the compliances in regard to the financial matters. Some of the BCCI officials take pride in their organization capabilities as the IPL was shifted to South Africa in 2009 with-in a short span of 1 month. Without any doubt IPL 2009 was delivered successfully in Proteas land but it created financial and compliance mess for the board.
Once these 5 hurdles are successfully cleared then only IPL 2020 can see the light of the day.