Cricket Field

BCCI Releases 100 Page SOP For 2020 IPL in UAE

The BCCI brass spent a long time deliberating and putting together the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that will need to be followed during the 2020 IPL in the UAE. The BCCI got together on 02 August and released a detailed SOP that IPL franchises and teams will need to follow at all times. The 2020 IPL is scheduled to take place from 19 Sep to November 10.

2020 IPL – Match Schedule

IPL fans will be interested to know that the 2020 IPL will be the longest in the history of the 8-team format. This IPL edition will last for 53 days and 10 of these days will feature double header matches. The tournament organizers have tried not to schedule too many double headers because the afternoon games will be played in intense heat in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai.

The night games are scheduled to take place from 7.30 pm IST which is 6 pm UAE time and the afternoon games will take place from 3.30 IST which is at 2 pm UAE time. The first stage of the IPL will be played in empty stadiums but the second stage of the IPL could see fans in attendance as the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is keen on filling the stadiums to atleast 50 percent capacity.

The SOP has confirmed that IPL franchises will be able to tour with a max of 24 players per squad. There will also be an unlimited number of COVID-19 substitutes allowed. The 24 limit player squad could pose a challenge for three IPL franchises (Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab) as all of them have listed a 25 member squad on their websites.

IPL Will Continue With Vivo As Main Sponsor

The on-going tensions between India and China have resulted in a push for Indian companies to sever ties Chinese companies and for Indians to stop using Chinese branded products. The Indian government banned over 50 Chinese apps from being used in India including the popular TikTok app.

The BCCI also decided to look into its sponsorship deals given the fact that its chief sponsor VIVO which is a Chinese mobile company. Given the fact that the BCCI gets handsomely paid by VIVO for its sponsorship contract, the BCCI has decided to continue to allow VIVO to be the main sponsor for the 2020 VIVO IPL.

This does not come as a surprise as the BCCI would have lost millions of dollars and also been taken to court if it decided to severe ties with VIVO before its sponsorship contract came to an end. The BCCI has promised to relook at things once the contract is finished.

Key Points In The IPL SOP

The IPL SOP has a lot of rules and regulations to ensure player safety and well-being. The SOP makes it clear to IPL franchises and players that despite all of the SOPs there is risk involved in playing the 2020 IPL and it will be up to each individual to accept this risk and sign a consent form.

The BCCI is looking to create a bio-bubble in the UAE similar to what the NBA is doing in Florida, USA. Once players enter the bio-bubble they will not be able to leave the bubble until the IPL is finished.

Strict regulations and protocols will have to be followed at all times in the bio-bubble not only by the players but also by the support staff, IPL commentators and everyone involved in the 2020 IPL. The BCCI will also work with the ECB to ensure that all hotel staff and restaurant staff are COVID-19 negative before they interact with IPL players and staff.

Wives and girlfriends (WAGs) are usually part of each IPL edition but this time around the BCCI is not very keen on having the WAGs on tour. The BCCI will discuss the same with each IPL franchise as it will be up to each IPL franchise to ensure the safety and protection of the WAGs.

Discussion With IPL Franchises

The BCCI and IPL governing body will meet with IPL franchises to discuss the SOPs in detail as IPL franchises are bound to have a long list of questions regarding the SOPs. Once the BCCI clarifies all of these questions, the IPL franchises will then have to download the same to their players. We must also point out that the BCCI is yet to get official approval from the central government to proceed with the 2020 IPL in the UAE. However, this appears to be a formality given the strong political ties that the BCCI has with the ruling government.

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Indian Army Loses 20 Soldiers Along Chinese Border

India will have to deal with some significant challenges in the coming weeks as the nation looks to deal with coming out of lockdown mode and getting its economy up and running. The latest setback that India has to deal with is cross-border tensions with China.

India claims that Chinese troops tried to infiltrate and cross the border into the disputed Himalayan territory of Galwan which resulted in the Indian army taking action. China disputes the story and claims that Indian soldiers deliberately crossed over into China and they took action.

While we have to speculate which version is actually true, the end result is that over 20 Indian soldiers have lost their lives in the escalation. The clash between the two most populous nations on earth took place on June 15 and has caused a lot of political tensions which have created a backlash in India as there have been calls to boycott all Chinese products.

IPL To Hold Meeting To Discuss Chinese Sponsorships

There are a number of major Chinese corporations who have strong ties to India. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a prime example as the lucrative T20 tournament in India is sponsored by Vivo which is a mobile manufacturer based out of China. Vivo bagged IPL sponsorship rights in 2015 for a period of 2 years and successfully renewed its sponsorship contract in 2017 for another 5 years.

Vivo ended up paying $341 million for its sponsorship rights which allows them to promote the IPL as Vivo IPL. The IPL is also supported by Paytm – which is a popular mobile wallet in India and the official Umpires Partner in the IPL. One of the main stakeholders of Paytm is Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The IPL Governing Council will meet this week to review some of these Chinese sponsorships but has not disclosed if it will be focusing on any one particular sponsorship. BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal did clarify that they were not going to be reviewing these contracts with an emotional chip on their shoulder. The review will be done in a rational and analytical manner.

Dhumal pointed out that the IPL had signed a contract with Vivo and would look to honor those terms and conditions. He said it was imperative to understand the difference between backing a Chinese company to support China and doing business with a Chinese company to benefit India.

The Treasurer said that the Vivo sponsorship brought in millions of dollars to the IPL and the Indian economy as well since 42 percent of the revenue was paid in taxes to the Indian government. Dhumal said that the IPL committee will keep their options open when it comes to renewing sponsorship lights in 2022.

BCCI Does Not Want To Lose More Money In 2020

The BCCI is currently doing its best to see if it can stage the 2020 IPL before the end of the year. The BCCI is waiting on the ICC to confirm if the T20 World Cup will take place as per schedule in October in Australia. The ICC is expected to make a final decision on the matter in July.

If the T20 World Cup does take place, it is going to be difficult for the BCCI to cram a full IPL season in before the end of 2020. If this be the case, the BCCI could end up losing about $500 million which will be a massive loss in revenue. The BCCI will not want to do anything in light of the India-China tensions to opt out of its contract with Vivo, lose out on money and face legal fees and challenges.

Indian Fans Disown Chinese Products

While the BCCI contemplates reviewing Chinese sponsorship deals in the IPL, Indian fans have already made their mind. Some fans have taken to social media to show their anger at China for killing 20 Indian soldiers. A large number of people have agreed to stop buying Chinese products while some have gone to the extent of throwing out their Chinese television sets and mobile phones in anger.

Given the fact that the IPL is sponsored by a Chinese company, it will be interesting to see if Indian fans are willing to boycott the IPL if Vivo continues to be its main sponsor!

Bcci Cricket

BCCI Decides To Cancel Tours To Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe

Last week, it appeared that Indian cricket would finally get back to normal as the Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SCB) confirmed that it had worked out a deal with the BCCI to proceed with a bilateral series where India would tour Sri Lanka for a 3 match T20 and 3 match ODI series.

The series was expected to be the first both cricketing nations since all forms of cricket was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The short series was supposed to be ideal for both teams as they slowly get back into international cricket action. The confirmation was encouraging as millions of cricket fans were excited to see the men in blue back in action again.

India was supposed to tour Sri Lanka and then do a short tour of Zimbabwe and the two tours would be in June and July.

However, the BCCI has now confirmed that India will not tour both Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe due to the on-going concerns of COVID-19. There is no specific reason as to why the BCCI has suddenly decided to take a U-turn on the decision but it does not come entirely as a surprise as both the BCCI and the SCB had made it clear that the bilateral series would only take place provided both boards got the backing of their respective governments.

COVID-19 Threat Still Too Serious For India To Play

It is interesting to note that the BCCI is looking to resume international cricketing action with an overseas tour rather than a home tour. This is mainly because India is now in crisis mode having unenviably secured the fourth spot on the list of countries with the most number of COVID-19 restrictions. These numbers have exploded even though multiple states throughout India continue to be in different stages of lockdown.

The central government has not found a solution to curb the spread of the coronavirus and hence it appears that it is highly unlikely in the next two months that India would be in a position to host any cricket matches in India – be it international or domestic.

The only solution was to look overseas and get the Indian team to travel to resume cricketing action. However, it appears that this solution will also have to be placed on the back-burner as a BCCI official has confirmed that they have been in talks with the Central Government and the general consensus is that it is not safe for overseas travel at this point in time.

Focus Must Be On Training Rather Than Playing    

The recent discussions and decision to cancel tours to India and Sri Lanka have made it very obvious to the BCCI that they cannot rush the process and it is quite likely that Indian cricket will take another two or three months to resume.

The BCCI will have to focus on getting clearance first from the government on allowing players to resume training. The BCCI has made preparations to hold a training camp to get the Indian squad fit again in both mental and physical aspects. However, the camp cannot commence until the government gives the BCCI the green light.

Coaching staff of the Indian cricket team have mapped out a 6-8 week training program where they will use progressive overload to build the players up to test match fitness. Given the fact that it could take a minimum of 6 weeks before they are ready to play, it is highly likely that we are not going to see the Indian cricket team in action until late August or early September.

BCCI Unable To Make Decision On IPL Timeframe

The BCCI will not be impressed with the recent decision made by the ICC to postpone making a decision on the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in October in Australia. The ICC was expected to confirm last week whether the T20 World Cup would proceed as per plan or be postponed but the committee decided to wait till July before making a final decision. The BCCI is eager to host the IPL this year and was anticipating hosting the tournament in place of the T20 World Cup – if it gets cancelled. The BCCI will have to wait patiently till July to know whether it can fit the IPL in during 2020 or have to cancel the season!

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Is The BCCI Pushing For T20 World Cup Cancellation?

The BCCI has a reputation for being a bully and forcing other member nations to give in to its demands because the BCCI has the biggest financial clout amongst all other boards and can put tremendous pressure on the International Cricket Council (ICC). There has been reporting circulating for the last month that the BCCI is pushing for the T20 World Cup in October in Australia to be replaced with the 2020 IPL.

Now former Australian captain Ian Chappell has come out and implied that he believes the BCCI will get their way and have the IPL replace the T20 World Cup. Chappell who is known for speaking his mind said that the chances of the T20 World Cup now taking place are between a Buckley’s and none.

For our Indian fans, this is an Aussie expression for saying there is just about no chance for the T20 World Cup to take place in October. The question we need to ask though is whether the BCCI is pushing for the T20 World Cup cancellation or is the BCCI pushing for the IPL to take place if the T20 World Cup is cancelled?

This is an important distinction to make but Chappell has not made this distinction in his comments. Mark Taylor, the former Aussie skipper did provide more insight into these questions and put things across from a logical perspective.

Mark Taylor Believes T20 World Cup Not Feasible Now

While Australia would dearly like to host the T20 World Cup in October and bring in big revenues for Cricket Australia and for the economy as a whole, it is a difficult proposition. Taylor said that the current COVID-19 situation made it difficult for 15 teams to travel down under during October-November.

The T20 World Cup will require a total of 45 T20 games to take place across 7 different venues which makes it a huge challenge for Cricket Australia and the players from 15 different nations considering the on-going coronavirus pandemic. If Cricket Australia should push ahead with the World Cup, it will most likely be without the fans in attendance which is another blow as Cricket Australia would lose out on ticket sales.

There has been no official confirmation from the ICC or Cricket Australia on the status of the T20 World Cup but there are rumours floating around that it will be postponed to 2021. Given the fact that it is going to be difficult for the ICC and Cricket Australia to proceed with the T20 World Cup, the BCCI could make the most of this opportunity.

BCCI Could Host 2020 IPL In October

Mark Taylor believes what could work in the BCCI’s favour is that a T20 World Cup cancelation will leave a gap in the cricket calendar for the IPL to take place. This will then take the onus from cricketing nations and give each player the opportunity to decide whether they want to travel to India in October to play the IPL.

The BCCI would be comfortable with this scenario as given the enormous amount of money involved, the majority of overseas players should be willing to tour India in October to play the 2020 IPL.

The BCCI for now has not said anything about rescheduling the IPL but BCCI Treasurer refused to be drawn into the argument by saying that it was up to the Australian government and Cricket Australia to decide whether they were proceeding with the T20 World Cup in October or not.

Can The BCCI Pull Off 2020 IPL In October?

Things are slowly but surely going in the right direction in India as the government is easing out of lockdown mode. The Indian team is looking to get back into action with a 3 match T20 tour of Sri Lanka which could most likely take place at the end of June or in early July.

The BCCI will be happy to get in a full IPL in October and the biggest challenge will be the weather. October is when the monsoon season is in full swing and it will be up to the BCCI to work out reserve days in case bad weather plays spoilsport. We will have to wait a few more weeks to know if Australia is pulling the plug on the T20 World Cup!