After a day of frantic activity at Cricket Centre — the BCCI headquarters — where the the Board’s office-bearers met with the owners of all the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, followed by the IPL Governing Council discussing the way forward after suspending the event till April 15 , BCCI president Sourav Ganguly hinted that “truncated IPL” is the only way forward but that’s the last possible option that the BCCI is considering.
Once the BCCI adhered to the government advisories on Friday and suspended IPL’s 13th edition till April 15 in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the franchise owners were anxiously waiting to be briefed by the BCCI bosses on Saturday.
No wonder then that the meeting saw virtually all the high-profile owners — including Kolkata Knight Riders’ Shahrukh Khan, Mumbai Indians’ Akash Ambani, Ness Wadia of Kings XI Punjab and Parth Jindal of Delhi Capitals — in attendance, along with their chief executives.
While the BCCI secretary Jay Shah, in a statement, stressed that “the BCCI and all its stakeholders are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for everyone involved in our great sport and the nation” after the meeting, Jindal and Wadia, while speaking to reporters, also stressed on the “safety” aspect, without spelling the details.
After the Governing Council meeting, however, Ganguly admitted that truncated IPL is definitely being considered. “It (truncated IPL) will happen because if it is (starting by) April 15, then in any case 15 days are gone, so it has to be truncated. How truncated, how many games, I can't say at the moment. Till April 15, (there are) no visas,” Ganguly said.
However, multiple franchise officials confirmed to The Hindu that the BCCI office-bearers and IPL executives tabled various options to the teams. Possible start dates that were mentioned were April 15, April 20, April 25, April 30 and May 1.
“We were told that with multiple double-headers, a full IPL season will require 37 days, so considering the IPL can be stretched till May 31, if the season can start on or before April 25, there’s a bright chance of playing the full season,” said a franchise official.
“There are a couple of options for a truncated IPL: Eight teams playing each other just once instead of home and away in the league (32 games, including 4 playoffs) or the teams being divided into two groups of four each and playing home and away basis (28 games, including playoffs) can be considered should the need arise,” an IPL official said.
He corroborated that the two possibilities of a truncated IPL will arise only if the Union Government gives a go-ahead and clears visas of overseas players and support staff members for a start at the end of April or early May.
However, all these possibilities will arise if and when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides in India. Till then, as Ganguly admitted, BCCI will keep “reviewing the situation every week”.