Dubai: The Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council meeting on Friday at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Headquarters in Mumbai was held with the members being positive about staging the 13th edition from April 15 despite uncertainty over whether the spread of coronavirus can be contained. The approach of everyone during the meeting which included the franchise owners, was that they should all work towards staging the event by making preparations right away if they get clearance from the government.
Speaking to Gulf News, Surinder Khanna, the Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) representative to the IPL Governing Council, who attended this crucial meeting, said: “It was a very good meeting. Everyone including the franchise owners and all stake holders were on the same page and also with the government.”
Khanna, who flew into Mumbai from New Delhi for this meeting, added: “Everyone knows we’ve got to pray and wait that coronavirus does not spread but everyone said that safety of the people is paramount.”
Although an official statement from the BCCI secretary Jay Shah only said that the board will continue to monitor and work closely with the Government of India, state governments and other state regulatory bodies to decide on the future course of action in the best interest of public health, a lot of plans were discussed on how — even if the league is curtailed — it is held smoothly.
The meeting began by expressing the hope that all 60 matches should be held even if it commences from April 15. Some suggested that the concluding day, which is fixed as May 24, should be extended to May 31. Some were also of the view that IPL should be extended to even mid-June.
With the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) going ahead without many foreign players, some felt that IPL should do the same if foreign players have other commitments beyond the proposed concluding date. The IPL extending to June was shot down as the monsoons are expected to reach India by then and it is likely that matches may get washed out.
During separate meetings held on the sidelines of the Governing Council meeting, a suggestion was made to host the IPL only in the state of Maharashtra, which will ensure that players do not have to travel a lot within the short period. It is understood that a suggestion to host IPL in four venues using Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium and DY Patil Ground and Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association ground, came up. A few owners expressed their strong disagreement to limit the number of venues but most agreed on having double headers on every day from the start. It is understood that a suggestion to host IPL out of India was quickly turned down.
Following the plans to extend the tournament, some wanted the discussions with foreign cricket boards to commence right away over clearance of the foreign players needed by the different teams. The broadcaster Star’s representative was asked about whether it would be fine if the league has to be held without spectators.
In the end everyone left the headquarters saying that they will monitor the situation but preparation to stage the event, as if it would commence form April 15, should begin.