Dubai: The month of December will be quite a challenging one for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) - off the pitch. Come December 9, the Supreme Court may have the final say about the fate of Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah, the president and secretary, respectively, as the Indian board’s appeal to relax the ‘cooling off’ norms for the top pair has been listed for hearing.
It’s common knowledge that both Ganguly and Shah, whose cumulative period of serving six years in the national federation as well as their respective state bodies were over in July, had been continuing in their offices as the apex court had not scheduled a hearing in the last four months. The three-year cooling off period was made mandatory as per Justice R.M.Lodha Committee’s recommendations as part of the reforms mandated in 2017 to bring about transparency in the operations of the richest cricket body in the world.
However, the BCCI has nevertheless decided to refuel their plans of adding two more teams to the Indian Premier League (IPL) after a gap of quite a few years and will table the subject in their Annual General Meeting on December 24. The success of IPL 2020 in the UAE, which drew a record television and digital viewership during the UAE edition amid the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, is believed to have convinced the BCCI top brass that the time is ripe to go back to a 10-team affair again.
Incidentally, the IPL had increased to 10 teams from the initial eight in 2010 with the addition of two new teams in Kochi Tuskers and Sahara Pune Warriors, but the experiment failed to take off due to a number of reasons and the league had been continuing with eight teams since then.
Confirming the subject on the agenda, Arun Dhumal, treasurer of BCCI told Gulf News: ‘‘We had been thinking in terms of a 10-team IPL for some time, but couldn’t take it up further over last three to four years. We’d like to have two more teams from 2021 itself if the members are in agreement.’’
Interestingly, the buzz in Indian media - even when IPL 2020 was in its business-end, was about the addition of an extra team with the name of Indian conglomerate Adani Group being floated around as a possible taker. However, the odd number of nine teams would have posed scheduling and telecast problems, which eventually sees the BCCI deciding to open up the field again.
‘‘There are also a number of other routine items on the agenda, though we would like to take a call on conducting the domestic season in a feasible form. We would like to take a feedback from the members and try to find out if we could start it with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy,’’ Dhumal said over phone.
The BCCI will also discuss its stand on the possible inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Cricket featured at the 1900 Olympics and was played in the 1998 Commonwealth Games but has largely been absent from multi-sport events, which critics say has restricted the sport’s growth beyond its traditional pockets.CCI
The International Cricket Council, the world governing body of the sport, backs the idea of the sport’s inclusion in the Olympics but the BCCI is believed to be lukewarm to the idea.