The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season is currently indefinitely postponed. There’s still no certainty as to when the IPL Season 13 can take place but that hasn’t restricted fans, pundits, franchise owners and even players from giving their suggestions. While it is understood that travelling around the country for the tournament amid these times of Coronavirus won’t be feasible, Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore has suggested hosting the league in only two cities.
“We did this in the UAE – we played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah. There were no flights, just buses that were taking players back and forth. If we were to think of something like that, the idea that was tossed around was what if you think of a city like Mumbai. There are already four grounds here if you include the Reliance Ground. And if you think about Pune, which is only two and a half hours away, you could easily contain the whole activity,” said Mysore.
“You can assign one hotel to each team, make sure each team has two buses, fully sanitised and proper distancing maintained. So the logistics of travel is completely removed – no airports, no flights. You reduce the risk to a level people feel comfortable and can live with it,” he explained.
All these plans, however, could materialise once the COVID-19 situation in the country has returned to some level of normalcy when it is safer to restart such cricketing activities.
“This is obviously based on the premise that things are under control and we get some kind of a blessing from the powers that be. I think it’s a doable model. And in this environment if we could pull it off, it would be fascinating, without touching the quality of the product that we’ve all so carefully built,” the KKR top boss asserted.
“Technology is going to play a massive role,” Mysore said. “I am just saying, if you’re thinking out of the box – an LED wall in stands where, through social media, [fans] can virtually be present there. There are people who’ll be reacting the same way if they were physically at the ground. People have said something about simulation too.”
Explaining the importance of crowd inside the stadiums, Mysore cited the examples of American football.
“I lived in the US for several years and became an American football fan. Home games and away games are big events there, because the crowd becomes your twelfth man. So what visiting teams used to do when they practised was blast the crowd noise on the speakers, just to get used it. The noise can be deafening in matches,” he said.