Is Mumbai-only IPL the way ahead for T20 league?

IPL 2020 was originally scheduled for March-May 2020. Due to the pandemic, BCCI postponed the cash-rich T20 league indefinitely. As the International Cricket Council and Cricket Australia grew doubtful of hosting the T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia this year, it opened a possibility of IPL 2020 being held in the September-October slot.

According to the latest reports, a BCCI official was quoted saying a Mumbai-only IPL is a possibility. The official mentioned there are four top-class floodlit grounds available in Mumbai and the logistics for BCCI, broadcasters, maintaining a bio-bubble can all be arranged smoothly.

While a major stakeholder has reportedly suggested IPL to be held completely in Mumbai, it is still in preliminary stage. One of the major factors in organizing the entire T20 league in Mumbai is the city’s COVID-19 situation. Mumbai is the fourth worst-affected city in the country with over 31,000 cases of COVID-19.

The situation needs to get better and the Mumbai COVID-19 curve needs to flatten by October if Mumbai-only IPL is to become a reality. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had previously stated that the board will do everything in its power to see that this year does not end without the IPL.

No IPL 2020 – Loss for BCCI

For BCCI, not having IPL in 2020 will have serious consequences. The board is expected to suffer a loss to the tune of approximately Rs.4,000 crores. BCCI would like the T20 league to go on if it means the matches will be played in an empty stadium.

On the international stage, cricket is set to return with upcoming England vs West Indies Test series. Following that, England will be hosting Pakistan for 3 T20i matches and 3 Test matches. This will bring some positivity to both bookmakers and bettors alike and the latter would gear themselves with the best cricket betting tips to welcome the return of international cricket.

Rest of the world can take a cue from how the ECB goes about creating a bio-bubble and managing the logistics for a bilateral series.

ICC Playing the Spoilsport

There still looms an uncertainty over IPL as ICC is yet to make an official announcement regarding the fate of ICC T20 World Cup. The chances of IPL 2020 happening this year depends completely on the postponement/cancellation of the T20 World Cup.

The International Cricket Council had 3 board meetings during May-June. In addition, Cricket Australia had openly stated that T20 World Cup 2020 is high risk and unrealistic. Even ICC’s head of commercial and financial committee Ehsan Mani had said T20 World Cup is not feasible amid the pandemic.

Still, the International Cricket Council hasn’t arrived at a final decision on the T20 World Cup. This continued delay since the last two months has only hindered any clarity around the future of IPL 2020.

The official broadcaster of the T20 league, Star India is reportedly ‘miffed’ with the whole situation. Star India has sent emails to ICC and BCCI regarding the delay in decision making. According to sources, the broadcaster has to collect Rs.3,000 crore from the market.

The delay in decision regarding IPL 2020 will result in huge losses for the broadcaster as Star India has pledged huge amounts for broadcasting rights of the IPL.

In this scenario, both Star India and BCCI seem desperate to gain clarity on IPL 2020. A suggestion to host the entire IPL in Mumbai might be one of the many ideas being brainstormed. While the suggestion holds merit, whether it can become a reality or not depends on Mumbai’s COVID-19 situation.