BCCI still hopes to salvage Indian Premier League season amid virus - GulfToday

BCCI still hopes to salvage Indian Premier League season amid virus


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

 Indian cricket chiefs are sticking with plans to salvage the cash-rich IPL tournament this year even if it means playing in empty stadiums, the country’s board president Sourav Ganguly said on Thursday.

The world’s richest Twenty20 tournament is heading for the first wipeout of its 12-year history after being repeatedly postponed because of the coronavirus.

Despite the worsening epidemic caseload in India, Ganguly — president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) — said in an email to state associations that every effort was being made to hold the Indian Premier League in some form.

“The BCCI is working on all possible options to ensure that we are able to stage the IPL this year, even if it means playing the tournament in empty stadiums,” Ganguly wrote in a letter seen by AFP.

“The fans, franchisees, players, broadcasters, sponsors and all other stakeholders are keenly looking forward to the possibility of IPL being hosted this year.”

Players from India and abroad have “have also shown their keenness on being a part of this year’s IPL”, he added.

“We are optimistic and the BCCI will shortly decide on the future course of action on this.”

According to local media reports, the BCCI’s planning has been hit by the International Cricket Council on Wednesday deferring a decision on the fate of the T20 World Cup, originally scheduled for Australia in October.

If the T20 showpiece does go ahead, there would be little room for even a shortened IPL. BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told AFP the board would suffer losses of more than half a billion dollars if the IPL season is scrapped.

The league is a huge revenue earner for BCCI and estimated to generate more than $11 billion for the Indian economy.

Foreign stars including Australia’s Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and England all-rounder Ben Stokes have been pushing for an IPL start at some stage.

Cummins was to be the most expensive overseas star this year with Kolkata Knight Riders agreeing a $2.17 million fee for him.

Meanwhile, Asian cricket greats including Rahul Dravid believe modern Test batting has become a thrilling spectacle thanks to Twenty20 smash-and-wallop fests such as the Indian Premier League.

“I actually believe Test batsmanship is a lot more exciting, lot more positive now than ever,” batting legend Dravid said in video chat with fellow Indian Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNcricinfo.

“People are playing more shots even in Test cricket which is great,” he said.

The 47-year-old Dravid was renowned as one of the most technically correct batsman of his era, averaging 52.31 in 164 Tests from 1996 to 2012 and was nicknamed the “The Wall” because of his robust defence.

“Of course I wouldn’t have survived today if I batted the way I did in my days,” Dravid, who had a strike rate of 42.51 in Tests and 71.23 in ODIs, said.

“Look at the strike rates today. One of the great things for India is that Virat Kohli values Test cricket so much. Players like Virat have shown how one can excel in all three formats.

“Obviously I can’t compare myself to Kohli or Rohit Sharma because they have blown the ODI paradigm to an all new level.”

Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga credits limited-overs cricket for adding aggression to Test batting.

“Let’s say 10 or more years ago, batsmen in Test matches waited for the perfect loose ball to hit, but today when they see a half-good delivery they go for a shot,” the 56-year-old Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to win the 50-over World Cup in 1996, told AFP

Ranatunga, who averaged over 35 in both Test and ODIs between 1982 and 2000, said he will always find five-day cricket more satisfying.

“Test cricket is like a meal made by mother, prepared with a lot of love, care and patience -- wholesome food. T20 is like instant noodles,” he said.

Agence France-Presse

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