Kolkata: The uncertainty surrounding the future of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) may force the BCCI to hold it later in the year. The IPL which was scheduled to start March 29 with the game between the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) has now been postponed to April 15. If the tournament begins then, it will have to be truncated and that is something the organisers and the broadcasters are not very keen to do.
Sources have said that in the truncated format the eight teams will be divided into two groups of four teams each with the top two from each category qualifying for the semifinals. The BCCI is also not sure whether spectators will be allowed to watch the games or whether matches will have to be played in empty stadiums. If the second happens the franchises will lose a lot of earnings that come from selling of tickets.
In these circumstances, a section of the board already has started exploring the option of conducting the tournament with its full quota of 60 matches in a 37 to 40-day period between July and September. Sources said that as per the Futures Tour Programme (FTP) except for England and Pakistan none of the other cricket playing nations is involved in any series in that time frame. It is well-known that Pakistani cricketers are not allowed in the IPL. So a section of the BCCI is of the opinion that even without the participation of England players the IPL will not lose its sheen if it is held anytime between July and September.
The BCCI and the IPL governing council are also ready to host a part of the tournament in a different country to ensure that the event runs smoothly. It should be stated here that in 2009 the IPL was played in South Africa and the event lasted for 37 days. So a section of the BCCI is very optimistic of having a full and proper IPL if the dates are shifted.
As things stand, the BCCI is also not sure that even if the tournament starts April 15, whether foreign players will be allowed. In that case again both the organisers and the broadcasters may face substantial revenue losses. After all which viewer or spectator will want an IPL without a Chris Gayle or an AB de Villiers or David Warner?
PNN & Agencies