An eight-team Indian Premier League (IPL) is slated to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September to November. The UAE has a total of close to 60000 coronavirus cases.
The logistics are yet to be worked out, but it seems that the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the tournament will begin in that proposed window.
Emirates Cricket has also accepted the letter from the BCCI to host the tournament.
At the other end of the spectrum, a India women’s cricket team’s scheduled tri-series involving England and South Africa as other two teams in the United Kingdom, which was supposed to be held in August, has seen India pulling out due to the coronavirus threat. ‘Logical issues’ was one of the main reasons given in taking the decision.
Let us look at the discrepancies involved. The United Kingdom has been ravaged by the coronavirus.
However, the safe conducting of the Test matches between England and the West Indies in bio-secure venues has laid out a blueprint that cricket matches can be done in the ‘new normal’ due to the pandemic.
The matches in the tri-series would have followed the similar protocol.
The priorities are evident. A lot is riding financially on the IPL and that is why there is almost borderline desperation for the organisers to hold the tournament in the UAE.
The wheels have not yet started turning on how the tournament will be conducted in a bio-bubble. Yet, the focus and the demand seems to be that the IPL MUST take place, come what may.
On the other hand, the tri-series in England would have been the India women’s cricket team’s first tournament ever since the end of the ICC Women’s World T20 in Australia in March.
Now, this move has robbed them of any cricket until October. With the BCCI pondering no games at all in India till December, this means that the India women’s cricket team does not have a single cricket game until January when they tour Australia.
There are reports suggesting that the Women’s T20 challenge might not happen while only the likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Veda Krishnamurthy might get to play the Women’s Big Bash League but that is only in November.
The cancellation of the England tri-series when side-by-side there is pressure to start the IPL comes across in not such a good light for the BCCI and world cricket.
All popularity lost
Whatever momentum that was gained by the success of the India women’s cricket team in their last two years of success and heartbreak has all come undone with this massive break.
Many former women cricket players have criticised the BCCI, with some stating that the money factor in the IPL is a prime reason. The fact that many international teams are back in training in bio-secure venues, except India.
The organizational chaos in the BCCI is not helping, with the main headquarters still not open in Mumbai due to the coronavirus. The resignation of Saba Karim from the post of BCCI General Manager, along with the fact that there has been no selection panel for the women’s team since January compound the matter even more.
The worst-case scenario in August could be that the Supreme Court rules that Sourav Ganguly cannot continue as BCCI head. It seems the organizational chaos due to COVID-19 has hit the women’s cricket team hard.
In March 2019, Shantha Rangaswamy, the former India women’s cricket team captain had explained in an interview with News Nation on the occasion of international women’s day that In Indian cricket, son is treated differently from daughter.
At that time, she explained that women’s cricket does not generate revenue. A year later, the preferential treatment and the revenue question still remain unanswered. This saga is a continuation of the sorry tale.