IPL 2024 to be accommodated according to elections, T20 World Cup; mega auction confirmed in 2025, says Dhumal - The IPL 2023

IPL 2024 to be accommodated according to elections, T20 World Cup; mega auction confirmed in 2025, says Dhumal

A couple of weeks ago, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released a partial schedule for the Indian Premier League (IPL), comprising an initial set of 21 games between March 22 and April 7.

However, with the dates of general elections yet to be announced, the Board is in a wait-and-watch mode before announcing the schedule for the second phase of the tournament.

Arun Dhumal, the chairman of the IPL Governing Council, however, is confident of continuing with the home-and-away format and there's a possibility of double-headers increasing this time around to accommodate all the matches within the set window.

In a chat with sports star on Saturday, Dhumal spoke about the logistical challenges and the way ahead for the league.

With the elections clashing with the IPL, how does the BCCI plan to address the logistical challenges?

Given the size of our country, and since we have to have a home-and-away format that requires travel through the length and breadth of the country, it is a logistical challenge.

But during the COVID-19 times, we had to take the tournament to Dubai, and once we had to stop the tournament halfway and then conduct it at a later stage. That was the most challenging phase.

So, we are confident of organizing things smoothly this time. Even in 2019, the IPL was played in a home-away format in its entirety despite the general elections. This time, too, once the dates for the elections are out and we have clarity about the dates and the phases for the polls, we can work out the next phase of the IPL.

It is challenging for sure, but we will have a solution to that.

Will there be some sort of a break in between the two phases of the tournament?

This time the challenge is that we are starting with the T20 World Cup in the first week of June, and we were planning to close the tournament by May 25 or May 26 as the team will have to travel to the US and that's a different territory. altogether.

(For the) first time, the tournament will be held there and it's a new thing, so the players need to be there early to have some sort of practice games ahead of the tournament.

There could be a situation where we will have to keep a little bit of a gap, keeping election schedules in mind. We might have to increase double-headers, but we will be able to give better clarity once the polls are over.

Last year, the numbers of double-headers were cut down to ensure more recovery time for players. But this time around, if there are more double-headers, how much of a challenge will it be for the players to adapt?

For sure, but since they have been doing it for the past 15-16 years, they have also become accustomed to the travel and all that.

That's why for WPL, we opted for two venues (Bengaluru and Delhi) so that these girls don't have to travel every day, otherwise it would have been very difficult for them.

We have had double-headers in the IPL, so we are confident of coming up with a good schedule where they get some good rest in between and have enough time for their games in different venues.

Given the time constraint, is the BCCI planning to restrict the second phase of IPL to only a few venues, instead of the home-and-away format?

We would ideally want to have home and away games, but in case there's a problem figuring out the (time), we will see how we can accommodate that.

The idea is that nobody should get an advantage over the other team and there has to be uniformity. There should be equal opportunities for the team.

Over the last few weeks, there have been controversies over a few players skipping domestic cricket and training for their respective IPL teams. Going forward, does the IPL Governing Council plan to come out with a strict guideline for the players so that such instances are avoided?

The IPL is an integral part of the BCCI and the BCCI is supreme. Playing for the country has to be the top priority for every player and we are very clear about that. However, money you may make, how glamorous you may become as a part of a franchise, real respect comes to you when you play for the country.

All the players understand that and they have deep respect for the country. The BCCI is clear about its stand and the players know that.

Was there even a discussion of taking the tournament out of India this time?

Not really. Given the time we have in April and May, it would be very difficult to take this tournament to any other country.

If you talk about Dubai, it would be very hot around that time, and other teams have their bilateral commitments. Given the number of matches we have, I don't think not many venues can take this load in such a short time. The team at BCCI is best equipped and we will take it as a challenge and have a good tournament.

Talking about WPL, does the BCCI plan to shift to the home and away format from next season or will it stick to the caravan model?

It all depends on the window we get. We have got five teams and making it home and away and giving them equal opportunities will be a huge task, that's why we opted for two venues.

While it is a neutral venue for most teams, they are also getting a chance to connect with their fans. The kind of crowd we saw in Bengaluru rooting for RCB or the Delhi crowd cheering for Delhi Capitals is phenomenal.

In two years, it has gained traction among the spectators and when you are at the venue, you can't make out whether you are at a men's IPL or women's tournament. That's the best thing about it. The quality of the game has been incredible. I am confident that going forward, WPL will not be the second best, but the best women's league.

You spoke about a window for the WPL. Is the BCCI looking at a specific window for the tournament – something that's common for the IPL?

A lot of boards are sorting out their bilateral commitments. As far as IPL is concerned, we have arrangements and we have sort of found a window to host 84 games in the next two seasons, and going forward, the number could go up to 94.

But regards to women's cricket, we will try our best in the window we get and find the best time to host the tournament to gain more traction among the lovers of the game.

Next year, there's supposed to be a mega auction. But there were speculations that the mega auction concept could make way for a Premier League model of player transfers. What's the plan?

We will have the mega auction for sure, where you get to choose three-four players and then you have a new team. That makes it more interesting and that format will continue.

Hopefully, the mega auction will be as big and as good as we have earlier given newer talents coming in not from India and other countries. Teams like Afghanistan have also benefited as they could showcase their talent.

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