Off The Field

BCCI remains ‘optimistic’ about IPL happening this year: Rahul Johri

Written by Vipin Darwade

BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri says cricketing activities can start “in earnest” only after the monsoon but he remains “optimistic” about the IPL happening this year.

Reiterating that safety of players is paramount, Johri said it should be left to individuals to decide what’s best for them amid the unprecedented crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned out to be.

“…every individual has the right to decide on their safety and one should respect that,” Johri said during a webinar organised by Twenty First Century Media on Wednesday.

“We are going to be guided by the Government of India in its entirety, whatever are the government guidelines is what we’ll follow…Cricketing activity in earnest can start practically only after the monsoon season,” he added.

India’s monsoon season lasts from June to September. There is speculation that IPL might be conducted in October-November if the T20 World Cup in Australia is postponed.

“hopefully things will improve and give us more variables which we can control and accordingly take the decision.”

Talking about the IPL, Johri didn’t favour an Indians-only competition, a suggestion which was prompted by the international flight restrictions due to the pandemic.

But he also highlighted the many logistical issues that are going to crop up because of the new safety protocols to minimise the risk of infection.

“The flavour of the IPL is that the best players around the world come and play, and everyone is committed to maintaining that flavour. Of course, it is going to be a step-by-step process, so you cannot expect normalisation tomorrow,” he said.

“We need to factor what the government advisories will be. Right now there are no flights. At some point flights will open and everybody needs to quarantine themselves before playing.

“How will that impact the schedules because as it is the schedules are extremely tight,” he explained.

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Vipin Darwade