The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) aims to lock the window for the remainder of the Indian Premier League in its Special General Meeting on Saturday.
The officials will also discuss the upcoming cricket season amid the prevailing pandemic in India.
The BCCI wants to officially finalise the IPL dates within the September 15-October 15 window. The tournament is likely to begin either on September 18 or 19 and conclude by October 10. There will be at least 10 double-headers to ensure the league finishes on time as the franchises will need to release the international cricketers for the T20 World Cup.
There are concerns over the availability of overseas players.
England cricketers will not be allowed for the IPL as it clashes with international assignments, said Ashley Giles, Cricket Director, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The franchises have already sought clarity on the availability of Australian and New Zealand players. And the Board insiders claim the BCCI top brass is in regular conversation with the overseas boards to work out a plan.
“There could be discussions on the bubble-to-bubble transfers and other protocols. Overall, the idea is to formally decide on the venue and the date for the IPL and also discuss a thing or two about the T20 World Cup,” a Board insider pointed out.
T20 World Cup venues
The T20 World Cup starts October 18. The BCCI intends to host the tournament at home, even though UAE seems to be the front-runner.
Sources in the Board have confirmed that during the International Cricket Council’s meeting on June 1, the BCCI is likely to request the global body to wait for a while before taking a call.
“We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and the T20 World Cup is still five months away, so it would be wise if the ICC takes a final call on the venue a little closer to the tournament,” a Board official said.
The BCCI had shortlisted nine venues for the global event. Due to the COVID situation in India, it is even open to hosting the tournament in the Mumbai-Pune-Ahmedabad zone to reduce travel. Mumbai has three international stadiums. Pune’s MCA Stadium has been used for international games, while the Narendra Modi Stadium could host the final phase. “It involves a lot of factors, but we have to have a plan. Ultimately, the ICC has to take a call,” the Board official said.
The ICC had earlier indicated that the UAE – which has three international stadiums across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah – could be used as an option for the T20 World Cup if things did not improve in India.
If the mega event happens in the UAE, it will be interesting to see how the ICC manages the grounds after a high-voltage IPL. There is a possibility that the world body could ask the Emirates Cricket Board and the BCCI to hand over at least two of the three grounds for the T20 World Cup.
Compensation to players
In its Apex Council meeting in April, the Board planned to start the domestic season in September-October with Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, followed by the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Ranji Trophy. But the IPL, slotted for September-October, will postpone domestic cricket plans.
Last season, about 700 domestic players suffered financially after the cancellation of Ranji Trophy. And in its Annual General Meeting in December, the Board had proposed compensation. But so far, nothing has materialised.
Even though there is no mention of the compensation bit in the agenda, state units expect clarity on the matter.
“We also would like to know whether we will have a full season this time. So that we can plan accordingly,” a state unit secretary said.
India was supposed to play white-ball series against South Africa and New Zealand ahead of the T20 World Cup, but now with the IPL clashing, those tournaments are likely to be postponed.
The proposed two-match Test series against New Zealand could be adjusted later.
Even though the meeting will be a virtual one, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly will join from Mumbai.