With the 13th edition of the Indian T20 League in doubt, the BCCI held discussions with the eight franchises on how the tournament can be conducted without coming to a definite conclusion. Earlier, the start of the season was postponed from March 29 to April 15. With the safety of the players and the fans paramount as the COVID-19 becomes widespread, discussions have been held on how the season can be conducted.
Here we list down a few ways by which the Indian T20 League season could happen going forward.
A truncated tournament
Sourav Ganguly stated after the meeting with the franchise owners on Saturday that this edition of the league will be a truncated one.
"If it is postponed till April 15, then it in any case 15 days are gone, so it has to be truncated one...how truncated, how many games I can't say at the moment," Sourav Ganguly said.
There are a few options available in this regard:
- Avoiding two matches between the teams in the league and playing just one game apiece.
- Dividing the teams into two groups like in the 2011 edition to reduce the number of games. In this way, a home and an away game apiece can be played.
A full-fledged tournament with compromises
The original schedule of the league stretched from March 29 till May 24. But with March 29 to April 15 no longer feasible, the tournament will have to be extended to play all the scheduled games. The England players were expected to return by mid-May and there are talks going on with them and the other overseas boards to make some players available until June 7. That essentially is also the maximum time frame until when the league can take place. This would mean missing some of the overseas players during the last phase of the season.
Limiting the venues and adjusting logistics
Right from the time it was pondered that the league could be played behind closed doors, there have been suggestions about limiting the number of venues given that there is no home or away crowd.
There have been a few suggestions floating around with travelling even within the country. So by limiting the travel of the players, the support staff and the crew as such, there is less danger of contracting the virus, and this in a way will also reduce the equipment and other overhead costs.
Was just thinking— Yash Lahoti (@YvLahoti) March 12, 2020
If the @IPL is happening behind closed doors (with no crowd), isn’t it more feasible to have matches in the same city?
- No player, crew travel (Less danger)
- No excess broadcast facilities (Cheaper)
Consider Mumbai- Wankhede, CCI & DYP (more pitches too)
The big issue with this is that it negates the home advantage that pitches offer. For instance, Chennai have a side full of spinners because their home ground at Chepauk aids spin. This advantage being taken out is harsh at this stage of the tournament but it's a compromise the teams will have to make considering the greater cause.
More double headers?
Assuming there is no extension, the tournament will have to be a 40-day affair given that the ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) will otherwise be affected.
"Either the format of each team playing each other twice needs to be tweaked or we have to go for as many as possible doubleheaders. This year, the decision was made to have only five doubleheaders but now things have changed drastically," a BCCI official said.
The franchises were informed on how the teams can play all 60 matches despite the loss of days till April 15. And if the tournament starts only after April 20, there could even be three matches conducted in a day if conditions are still viable. However, this option might not interest the broadcasters.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam