IPL 2020: 3 alternative ways to conduct the IPL
- As the IPL schedule is bound to change with the tournament being suspended till April 15, what are the options for BCCI?
- What are the alternatives that can still make the event possible
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently announced that the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be suspended till April 15, after Coronavirus cases spiked in India and abroad. On March 14, The IPL governing council met all the franchise owners to discuss the situation.
A few options were discussed by the governing council which included a shortened IPL, playing all matches, playing at limited venue, and playing behind closed doors. We look at the alternatives available to the organisers of league and analyse each possibility.
#1 Playing the full schedule of matches
Though the BCCI President said that the IPL will be a truncated one, there is still a chance that the originally planned format remains unchanged.
The tournament has started in the third week of April in the past. The first edition began on April 18 and ran till June 1, 2008, while the final of the second season was on May 24, which is also the initially planned date for this year’s final. With the format being the same this year as well, the tournament may well go ahead with 60 matches, and consequently the number of double headers will surge.
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In the original schedule, there were only 6 double headers resulting in the tournament’s duration lengthening as compared to the previous editions. The 2020 IPL was scheduled to be played from March 29 - May 24. The window can be extended by another week to complete the tournament if foreign boards allow their players to extend their stay in the country.
Another option that the IPL governing council may explore is scheduling the T20 extravaganza in a Pro Kabaddi League style. The PKL is scheduled in a way that one city hosts all its matches in 6 days before the action moves to another city. While this would mean fewer home games for the teams, it also cuts down the travelling for players, support staff, board officials, broadcast crew along with auxiliary members who have to travel with the teams for the smooth conduct of the tournament.
The tournament can also be held at limited venues with cities or states having more venues hosting more games. Cities like Mumbai may get more games as there are more international stadiums in Mumbai. The Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium (CCI), and DY Patil Stadium are the potential venues in the financial capital of the country and the Gahunje Stadium in Pune is also a 4-hour road journey from the city.
#2 A shortened IPL, with fewer games and different format
It is highly likely that the league will be a shortened affair. The IPL may resort to cutting down the number of matches between two teams in the tournament to just one. The number of matches can be limited to 32 in that case. The BCCI could also try a newer format with the teams being divided into 2 groups. This option may be inevitable if the tournament starts after the first week of May.
#3 Playing behind closed doors as a TV only event
While the board explores a number of alternatives, what looks inevitable as of now is that the IPL will be played behind closed doors at least in the month of April, i.e. if the tournament does start by then.
Even though hosting the tournament behind closed doors is a viable alternative, it has its own set of cons. The players and the officials will still come in contact with a large number of people at airports, among other places. So this option can be looked at only when the number of Covid-19 cases in the country is brought under control.
As of now, the BCCI can't takes any precise decision on the tournament’s fate. Cancelling the high profile league may well be the last option. This woudl result in huge losses that will be incurred by the franchises, the BCCI, the broadcasters and various stakeholders.
Published 16 Mar 2020, 21:35 IST