CHENNAI: When Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Anurag Thakur said on Thursday that they were contemplating moving the next edition of the Indian Premier League abroad, it hardly came as a surprise. Ever since the Bombay High Court told the BCCI to shift matches out of Maharashtra, many board officials feel privately that the tournament is being targeted unnecessarily. This despite the event contributing plenty of revenue to state and central governments.
To make things worse for IPL and BCCI, a PIL has already been filed in the Rajasthan HC, asking for the three matches set to take place in Jaipur next month to be shifted away, citing drought. And there is also a strong possibility that another PIL will be filed before the Telangana HC on Friday, asking Sunrisers Hyderabad’s home matches to be moved out of Hyderabad.
Over the last couple of months, due to various other reasons, cricket matches across the country have been shifted in the eleventh hour. Last month, during the World T20, Pakistan’s matches at Dharamsala were shifted because Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was unhappy with hosting the neighbours on a land which was home to many martyrs.
Though other sport events are not touched upon by politicians and activists, there is a growing sense in BCCI circles that because of the money involved in cricket, it is getting more and more vulnerable to such threats. As of now, Chennai can’t host matches involving Sri Lankan players, while Pakistan playing in Maharashtra has been unthinkable for a while because of opposition from right-wing parties.
When Thakur said, “Very soon, IPL may be played outside the country, if this goes on. Loss to the GDP would not be insignificant,” on Thursday, it didn’t appear like frustration.
For, last-minute schedule changes in WT20 and IPL have left BCCI running pillar-to-post in search of alternatives. “What option do we have, as there are so many restrictions here?” complained a board official, with regards to Thakur’s comments.
“We’ve lost lots of money because of shifting these matches, but nobody will be bothered about it because perception is that BCCI has lots of money, and they can afford to take losses. We’re not just filling our coffers. Everyone conveniently forgets we’re paying pension to former players, which runs into crores. Only a year back, we increased their monthly pension and now, with the ICC revenue sharing also in for a change, we’ll have a dip in income,” the official added.
Though any decision on moving IPL out of India is completely dependent on BCCI, it is learned that because of so much negative publicity for the tournament, even franchises are getting affected. One understands that a couple of franchises have told the BCCI about this, and now, the board believes it has to protect interests of its clients, who have stood by them despite plenty of storm. “We’ve to protect their interests, because that is paramount. Because of all these logistical issues, even they’re making losses, which is unfair on them, because like any other event, they’re also there to make profits,” said the official.
D/N Test against NZ, trial in duleep trophy
New Delhi: The BCCI is all set to host its first-ever day/night Test with pink ball when New Zealand tour India later this year. “We have decided that we will play one day/night Test match with pink ball against New Zealand later this year. Before that, Duleep Trophy will act as a dress rehearsal for the day/night Test match,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said. He added that the main objective of the Duleep Trophy trial will be to check how the pink kookaburra behaves under lights in sub-continental conditions.