"Real challenge" getting IPL to resume: Manoj Badale, RR owner
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 stalled midway in a year packed with bilateral series and the T20 World Cup, the main challenge for its resumption would be to find a window, said Rajasthan Royals’ owner Manoj Badale.
The IPL 2021 was suspended indefinitely on May 4 after a number of players and support staff turned Covid positive. In a video interaction on Thursday, Badale said things didn’t look bright for the league this year.
“We are following the media closely. I think the challenge is just finding a space in the calendar. In my opinion, the players are already playing too much cricket. The calendars are incredibly packed. Particularly this year after Covid, boards from around the world are trying to get as many competitions and as many Test matches as possible. I think it’s going to be a real challenge,” said Badale.
“There is a possibility, a small possibility, that in September there might be something in the UK or possibly something in the Middle-East (UAE) either side of the T20 World Cup but it’s going to be a real challenge.”
Even the India team will be busy with international assignments. There is the World Test Championship final (June 18-22), the England Test tour (August 4-September 14) and a limited overs Sri Lanka tour (July). Australia, England, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa, all of whom have heavy representation in the IPL, too have packed schedules. Also, the T20 World Cup is scheduled from October 18-November 15. It remains to be seen if the boards would be willing to release players close to a marquee event if a window is found.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has already made its stand clear. “If those tours (England’s tour of Bangladesh and Pakistan in September) go ahead, I’d expect them (players) to be there,” Ashley Giles, England’s director of cricket, has said. “We’re planning on the involvement of England players in England matches.”
Some reports have projected a loss of ₹2500 crore if the IPL is not completed. Badale said that more than the franchises or the boards, it would be the individuals who might have to bear the financial brunt of a cancelled event.
“There is of course a financial contribution (of IPL) for the game of cricket. A lot of people don’t realise that the IPL is a third of the global cricket economy. It’s just not the players who benefit from it. There is a huge supply chain across India, the hotels, the travel industry, the support staff who rely on those earnings. We have a huge support staff even within a franchise for whom the earnings from the tournament is really important,” he said.
“The financial loss on the individuals is far more important than the financial loss of the franchises or for the organisers because those are well funded resilient organisations that can move on.”
Rajasthan Royals was the first IPL franchise to donate ( ₹7.5 crore) towards Covid-19 relief efforts in India. Several other players and teams have pledged support too. Badale urged everybody to not limit efforts only for the near future.
“I am involved in a couple of different initiatives. We have got the Royals foundation working in Rajasthan. I also chair the British Asian Trust. We have received fantastic support not just from the British Indian diaspora but from the British people in general. We are currently focused on oxygen concentrators which are a big need in the rural areas,” said Badale.
“The pandemic is going to have different waves of impact. Everyone sees the horrific images today where people can’t get into hospital, can’t get access to oxygen. But the mental health impact is going to be very significant. That is an aspect we are looking, how we can support. There will be communities that will need rebuilding, livelihoods will be lost. This will take some time and effort. What’s important is we don’t see it as something we feel bad about for the next two to three weeks and engage only for two to three weeks. The impact on the region is a global issue. We need to spend the next few months on it.”