When BCCI’s first annual conclave in Dharamshala ended last week, the Board announced their plans to organize a “Mini IPL overseas in September.”
Now it seems, some logistical and technical issues may force BCCI to postpone the tournament for this year and start it only in 2017.
However, over the past few months, reports suggested BCCI hierarchy is keen to make the Mini IPL happen in 2016, but there are a number of obstacles that will become difficult to overcome.
The main problem is finding a three-week window to organize what is believed to be a 15-match miniature version of the IPL, as eight teams will be divided into two groups playing a league stage followed by the semifinals and the final.
The BCCI on Tuesday announced the schedule for the home series against New Zealand. The first Test will begin in Kanpur on September 22, exactly a month after India’s tour of the West Indies ends.
That means 30-day window looks to be too narrow to host both the Duleep Trophy and the Mini IPL.
BCCI has already said that the Duleep Trophy, to be played under floodlights with the pink ball, will see all of the country’s top players.
If the Mini IPL is staged before September 20, it means Duleep Trophy will overlap with the upcoming West Indies series. Not only that, India-A team will tour Australia from early August to September 4, so it could make the initial phase of the Duleep Trophy completely meaningless.
According to a BCCI insider, if they have to choose between the Duleep Trophy and the Mini IPL, “this year, it will prefer the Duleep Trophy, since we will have to test the pink ball”. Besides, the insider also claimed there are “plenty of technical issues” that could prove to be a hindrance in staging the Mini IPL this year.
The IPL player contracts have already specified that they are only for the 2016 edition and offshore exhibition matches, if any.
As a result, the franchisees will have to renegotiate with the players if a Mini IPL has to be held.
The broadcaster’s issue remains even more complex one. If the BCCI decides to invite tenders for Mini IPL, it could also invite legal action from Sony Pictures Networks, the official IPL broadcaster in the process.
A section of BCCI officials believes that it’s best for them to wait for another year since the IPL broadcast deal, in any case, comes up for renewal.
“It would be apt to ensure that all the peripheral issues are addressed rather than doing anything hurriedly,” a BCCI member told The Hindu, preferring anonymity.
“With a long season of Test cricket at home, it’s best if we prioritise the Duleep Trophy instead of racing against time in organising the Mini IPL,” he added.