It does not happen very often, particularly in the context of the Indian cricket. For a change, it is not a high profile tournament that sheds light for the way of domestic cricket. Rather quite the opposite with the IPL 14 on the horizon.
For once, domestic cricket becomes the one paving the way for the feasibility of hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL) back on Indian soil. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament which is set to begin on the 10th of January will give the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) an inkling into whether to bring the IPL back home.
The idea that the IPL would ever be hosted overseas after its limited attempts in the past seemed set in stone until the pandemic put paid to those plans. Forced to look for alternate venues and unwilling to let go of the potential financial windfall, the BCCI looked to the UAE to provide the answers.
Fortunately for the IPL, despite the initial shock of thirteen members of the Chennai Super Kings contingent showing up positive for the coronavirus upon arriving in the UAE a month in advance of the commencement of the IPL season 13, the tournament itself was relatively pandemic-free, minus the crowds in the stadiums, of course.
While the tournament in the UAE went off without a hitch, the BCCI is hoping it can not only host the homegrown IPL at home but also, have the stadiums at least partially filled to appease their multimillion fan base. While that is the ideal scenario afar as the bottom line for the cricket board goes, the truth is that the virus is yet to retreat sufficiently enough to make concrete plans. Furthermore, with national lockdowns giving way to state-wise mandated rules and regulations and vaccines not yet a global phenomenon in terms of distribution, the BCCI will have to play the cautious game as the months inch closer to the next edition of the IPL.
While the tournament in the IPL still seems like yesterday, the BCCI have not a minute to waste as they have to not only plan their next auctions soon but also, decide on the venue which will play a significant factor for teams such as Chennai Super Kings who suffered badly from their own lack of transition plans and also, thrown into unfamiliar environs.
Besides, the BCCI will now see the domestic Twenty20 tournament as a mini IPL experience, hosting it across venues in biosecure environments, comparing not only the feasibility to taking the IPL across the nation but whether it would be financially and logistically easier to use a rinse and repeat the formula for keeping the IPL in the UAE for another edition. Their successful hosting will also help keep the prices of the two new teams bidding to be added high. From a business perspective, the BCCI will play the domestic cricket card for a change. That is quite a turn!