A BCCI teleconference on Wednesday discussed the possible scheduling of IPL and also gave a thought to India’s domestic and international seasons.
It is learnt that the office-bearers also discussed the possible postponement of the T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled for October-November.
While the office-bearers agreed that there was very little chance of any cricket taking place in India until later this year, the talk of the ICC event getting pushed back at least gave the BCCI a window to slot the IPL. However, with India’s Covid-19 curve getting steeper and a heavy cloud of uncertainty hovering over the game’s commencement, the Indian board merely saw this as a glimmer of hope for this season’s IPL.
Meanwhile, in Australia despite the pandemic’s numbers shrinking, serious question marks remained over the country hosting the T20 World Cup as per schedule.
Australia has closed its borders for six months and even Cricket Australia (CA), jointly with the ICC, has been exploring alternate options.
It is learnt that the majority of the ICC members are in agreement that a global event like the T20 World Cup can’t be staged behind closed doors.
“A one or two-match (T20 series) before empty stands may happen. But a big event like the World Cup, I don’t think it will happen,” a BCCI functionary told The Indian Express.
“If there’s a possibility to organise the IPL (in autumn), we will go for it, but at the moment we are not in a position to take a call,” he added.
One of his colleagues sounded more cautious about the future.
“See, at the moment we aren’t sure about anything. One thing we are very sure, we can’t take any chances (about the safety of players, officials and spectators). We will see what they (CA and ICC) decide about the T20 World Cup and will act accordingly,” he said, making it amply clear that the BCCI will start thinking about its future course of action only after the government green light.
If eventually the T20 World Cup is postponed and the BCCI gets an opportunity to organise the IPL in October-November, participation of overseas players might not be a problem.
“Cricket boards that are issuing NOCs to their players for the IPL get 10 per cent each based on the total contract value of the players from the respective boards. Given the current (economic) situation, everybody would like to maintain a good rapport with the BCCI,” said a source.
India swapping the T20 World Cup with Australia and hosting it this year, is ruled out, it is learnt.
BCCI vs Star: Five years or five seasons
In case the 2020 Indian Premier League gets cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, should Star get an additional year added to their broadcasting contract with BCCI? Some legal experts have said that Star’s 2017-2022 deal should get extended to 2023 in case of the eventuality, arguing that the contract is valid for ‘five seasons’. However, BCCI so far hints that Star’s right to broadcast IPL ends in 2022 as the deal is for ‘five years’. This conflicting interpretation of the terms of agreement might result in Star invoking the “breach of contract” clause.
Meanwhile, a delayed, or even shortened, IPL might avert this potential face-off. Star, at present, is heavily invested in cricket as it has pledged close to Rs 30,000 crore in media rights. Besides being the rights holders for Indian cricket at home and IPL, they have ICC’s global broadcasting rights.