MUMBAI: Buoyed by the successful hosting of the Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, the first of any cricket in India since March 2020, the BCCI has now set itself on the path to host a couple of more domestic tournaments – the Vijay Hazare and a one-day tournament for women – in February and March, followed by the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April.
The BCCI will conduct the 14th edition of the IPL at home and has earmarked the Wankhede, Brabourne Stadiums, DY Patil Stadium, Reliance Cricket Stadium in Navi Mumbai and the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium on the outskirts of Pune for the same.
The state-of-the-art Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, will also be considered for matches and is more likely to host the knockouts as the tournament moves towards the business end in the last week of May.
The 2020 edition of the IPL was held in UAE over 54 days.
Vijay Hazare Trophy on course
For the first time in 87 years, the BCCI has decided not to host the Ranji Trophy and instead will be hosting the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the one-day tournament for women over the next two months while India and England play four Tests, five T20Is and three one-dayers.
“Technically, this marks the beginning of cricket in India at all levels – domestic and international. The board should be commended for taking a very sensible decision on not hosting the Ranji this season,” members say.
IPL-2021 is all set to begin in the second week of April, tentatively between April 11 and 14, and conclude in the first week of June, around June 6.
During this time, the BCCI will also conduct the auction to introduce one new franchise to the IPL, even though it has necessary approvals from the general body to introduce two new franchises.
The decision to introduce just one new franchise for now has stemmed from a well-rounded perspective that will allow the board to earn better value from the sale of the 10th team in the near future. With the tender for IPL’s media rights auction slated to come out by the end of 2021, industry executives say, “the Board is making the right move”.
BCCI will get more by auctioning one team instead of two because one team will mean 76 matches while two (with a changed format) will mean 74. “Two extra matches will mean that much more income from broadcast and other partners. Additionally, all teams will play two more matches and get more revenues from team sponsorship and tickets and will share 20% of that top-line revenue with BCCI. It’s a win-win for now,” say those tracking developments.
However, the ninth team will be available to play only from the 2022 edition. Right now, the board is conducting a mini-player auction for the existing eight franchises on Feb 18 and 19 in Chennai. Further, with the BCCI deciding not to float a tender or an RPF for a title sponsor once again, the path will be set for the IPL’s 2021 edition to get underway.
“India can’t not host the IPL at home and say, it is ready to host the T20 World Cup later in the year. The BCCI conducted a very impressive IPL under a well-constructed bio-secure bubble when the pandemic was at its peak. There’s no reason why the BCCI can’t construct the same bubble here at home,” sources say.