BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal has urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take a call on the T20 World Cup soon so that all cricket boards can plan accordingly. In a chat with The Indian Express, Dhumal spoke about the importance of the IPL in financing the game in the country and sustaining other cricketing activities. The BCCI wants to host the tournament during the T20 World Cup window but can’t firm up plans until ICC decides the fate of the global event. Excerpts:
Do you genuinely believe that IPL will lift the mood of the nation during this pandemic?
Yes, it will lift the mood of the country, for sure. Some people say that BCCI is just bothered about IPL for the money involved and criticise us, but no one is taking time out to understand the economics part of it. It’s not just about entertainment – it’s about the business it gets and the employment it generates across many sectors. It will boost the economy in many sectors which are dependent on our tournaments. And obviously if IPL happens, player safety would be paramount.
What if IPL doesn’t happen this year?
If IPL doesn’t happen, then it will be difficult to sustain cricketing activities. That is the biggest revenue head for BCCI. It’s because of IPL and cricket that we are able to hold 2000 domestic matches every year. It directly impacts lives of every cricketer from domestic to juniors, to officials. If Australia hosts the T20 World Cup this year, we won’t mind playing it obviously but if it isn’t happening, everyone should be informed soon so that we can make other plans.
How is the Indian board then looking at ICC’s decision not to take any stand yet on holding the T20 World Cup this year?
It’s not only about BCCI in this current situation, world cricket has to come together to meet this challenge. There is no point in delaying the issue, we need to discuss and decide things immediately so that we can have a roadmap for the future.
Do you see any conspiracy to jeopardise the IPL through this delay?
I won’t comment on that. Everything is getting mixed up due to the impending ICC elections, I think. There are media reports that Australia doesn’t want to host the T20 World Cup this year; if that is the case, then a decision needs to be taken soon.
Why the delay then, in your opinion?
I don’t know. We need more clarity. If the World Cup isn’t happening, then all cricket boards will have a window available and they can take a call whether they want to have a bilateral series or something else to make up for the revenue loss they have incurred. It is not a question of just IPL, at least one can plan better. Not just us, everyone.
Did BCCI president Sourav Ganguly make his point in the meeting?
I don’t know what happened in the meeting. I didn’t speak to him. I came to know through media that a decision has been deferred again.
Is BCCI ready to host the IPL in September-October window?
If conditions are right and there is healthy atmosphere, we will play. It’s hard to say now what will be the situation then. What’s the medical status, how many cases in our country, and so on. At the moment, there is no clarity about the window. We can plan out our things once we get clarity on our window. Please note that all countries don’t play in the IPL and that’s also a reason I am saying ICC needs to decide on the World Cup soon as other cricketing boards too can plan their activities.
Have you spoken to IPL stakeholders recently?
No, we haven’t. We will only do so once there is some clarity with us.
What about player safety if the board plans to go ahead with IPL?
The first priority will be health of our cricketers. There will be no compromise. We will be needing government clearance and, as I said, we need clarity on the window. IPL will also depend on travel restrictions, visa restrictions.
Karnataka has decided they will resume club cricket from July. Will the BCCI be sending any guidelines to them? Also, what about other states?
We will be giving general guidelines and SOP (Standard Operation Procedure) but individual states have to take a call. They are the best judge of what is happening in their states. The board will also come with more details in regards to the domestic season in the coming week.