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Postponed Or Delayed, Indian Premier League Right To Call Time When It Finally Did

to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect.”

Any sane person will realise that you cannot suspend something that has not yet begun as much as you can postpone an event that is already in progress.

But, this is exactly what the powers that be at the BCCI and IPL think of the public at large. That they can say what they want and it will be taken at face value and not questioned.

On the day when the tournament was effectively called off — and this was clear when the IPL told players from India and around the world that they could, and should, now return to their families — no top BCCI officials made any public comment.

A tournament, believed to be worth Rs 3330 crore to the board for this edition alone, had to be cancelled midway, and we understand that the wording has to be less obvious for insurance purposes, and yet there wasn’t a peep from the top bosses.

To be fair, they perhaps knew this was on the cards, even if they hoped against hope that this would not be the case.

There has been a strong suggestion since the 2021 edition began, that it was being played in order to help a country struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

To be fair to the organisers, they could not have known that late April and early May would be so horrific for India, when they conceived the tournament taking place in those months and put in place what was needed to do so.

To play devil’s advocate, they could also have factored in the possibility that things could go from bad to worse in short notice, or without notice, such are the times we are living in.

With that said, they chose to hold the IPL in India, when it might have been more prudent to do so in the United Arab Emirates. This was a successful exercise only months ago.

In India the bio-bubble has proven to be less secure than it was in the UAE. Many of us suspected this may be the case, as the laws that govern such things vary from region to region and the ability to enforce the same is also similarly different.

And then, even when it was decided the IPL must be played in India — to empty stadiums, so that decision even deserves scrutiny — could it have been played in one city or two rather than six?

If anything, playing in Mumbai, with the Wankhede Stadium and the Brabourne Stadium in close proximity, and the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai and Gahunge, on the outskirts of Pune, could have been twin venues. The same caravan model of four teams apiece would have applied. There would have been no necessity for inter-city flight travel.

This could have been a case of twin bubbles, but there is no certainty that even this would have worked. But, it would have certainly minimised the risk and mitigated the chances of the bubble being breached to a large extent.

The fact that the BCCI has had to pull the plug on the IPL, and as Brijesh Patel, the IPL chairman, says “look for an alternative window at a suitable time,” puts a major spanner in the works as far as the International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 World Cup, which is scheduled to be staged in India, across multiple centres, in October and November this year.

While there is still plenty of time for a decision to be made on that event, it is one that is run by the apex cricket body and they would rather not risk a last-minute cancellation or factor in a mid-event change of venue.

The IPL is an Indian domestic competition, even if it involves players, officials, coaches and staff from around the world. To that end the BCCI could dictate terms on where, how and when it would be played.

The Twenty20 World Cup could be a different matter. Cricket boards, especially powerful ones such as Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board, now have ammunition to call for the tournament being taken out of India.

The BCCI may have hoped that staging the IPL at home would show that they could walk the talk. But, in these troubled times, they may have achieved the opposite.

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