Rajasthan Royals owner Manoj Badale said that he still believes that the 2020 IPL will take place, if only in a condensed form, calling it the collective responsibility of the BCCI, the tournament organisers and the franchises to do everything they can to make sure that the people whose livelihoods are dependent on the tournament are not affected.
Speaking to BBC Worldservice, Badale said: “I think we will have some form of tournament this year. It will probably be a shortened tournament. As long as people are prepared to be creative and as long as boards are prepared to work together collaboratively, it [IPL] is hugely important to the game of cricket. It is not just of importance to the Indians that the IPL takes place.
“It is important for the whole game. It is economically for some of the best players in the world. It is economically meaningful for the event organisers and for the broadcasters that participate. So the trickle down effect of a tournament as big as the IPL not taking place in terms of its impact on more than just the players but all the people whose livelihoods depend on it is pretty significant. So we have a responsibility to try and a find a way of playing it if we possibly can.”
Badale, however, acknowledged that the prospect of a full-length tournament is no longer viable, with the Indian summer being the only viable window in the cricket calendar.
“The cricket calendar is so packed,” he said. “There are very few gaps especially for a seven-week tournament, so I suspect even if a gap can be found, it would have to be a shorter tournament.”
Badale admitted that the presence of foreign stars is an important component of what makes the IPL an attractive tournament, but was okay to proceed with a tournament with watered down star appeal, should travel restrictions remain in place.
“If it was a choice of no IPL or a domestic player-only IPL I would choose the latter,” he said.
The 2020 IPL was set for a March 29 start, before being postponed to April 15. However, with the nation in a 21-day lockdown that ends on April 14, a start at the revised date has virtually been ruled out.