Sport Writer Oscar Frost examines the ramifications of the 2021 IPL season’s curtailment due to the current COVID-19 situation in India
On 3rd May, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the indefinite curtailment of the IPL as a result of Covid-19 cases reported by numerous clubs. The tournament seemed doomed when players across multiple teams tested positive, so the news did not come as too much of a surprise. The implications of this decision, however, could be huge.
The BCCI and IPL have a very reciprocal relationship, with the latter being the largest earner for the former. In addition, the BCCI are the primary donors to the IPL teams themselves. This dynamic means that the competition’s cancellation will have a myriad of impacts. Last year alone, the BCCI earned forty billion rupees from the tournament. Therefore, given there are still over half of the matches left to be played, the board could lose around half of their projected revenue this year.
Regarding the financial impact the teams themselves could face, it is estimated that the franchises may miss out on ten billion rupees that would normally come from the central reserve pool. As if this was not bad enough, they will also lose a huge amount of money from their sponsors. This puts the BCCI, and the franchises, in a worrying financial situation.
In the wake of this turmoil, however, some English counties have offered to host the remainder of the IPL season in September. The MCC, Surrey and Warwickshire, who are based in Edgbaston, are part of the group who wrote to the ECB regarding the opportunity. The counties have argued that hosting the rest of the IPL in England would ensure the pitch in the UAE, where the T20 World Cup could be played, would be fresh for the tournament.
Sadly, there are many issues with this plan, as the pandemic has been extremely unpredictable and will likely continue to be. As India is currently red-listed for travel into England, this would bring about issues in quarantining whole team setups. Additionally, England are hosting a test series with India in September and are likely to play in Bangladesh and Pakistan in October. Other international fixtures are also occurring at a similar time, meaning that players could be caught between their IPL contracts and national commitments.
The BCCI have said that they are not looking for a new host for the current season at the moment, so the chances of the IPL being held in the UK are still small. Ultimately, whether it be in England or elsewhere, it would be fantastic to see the culmination of the 2021 IPL season, instead of facing the prospect of another tournament stymied by the pandemic.
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