ICC’s annual conference ended in Scotland quite some time back but those who represented the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at the Edinburgh conclave are still there.
Latest reports claim, president Anurag Thakur and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rahul Johri are actually holidaying with family members in London. But it seems there is something more to it than what it looks like apparently.
The two, along with secretary Ajay Shirke — who interestingly is also in London – have been given the green signal to negotiate Indian Premier League (IPL) broadcast deal with Sony Pictures Network (SPN) and according to a report, two top bosses of Sony – NP Singh and Manjeet Singh — are also present in the UK currently.
It is not at all surprising to discuss business in offshore venues and no one would even blame the BCCI mandarins for securing business talks abroad.
BCCI and Sony insiders, however, completely denied knowledge of any discussions in London but it is still quite difficult to believe it’s just a coincidence. The board officials along with the Sony officials are returning to India tomorrow.
What also questions the ‘coincidence’ theory, even more, is the increased talk of a mini-IPL. The BCCI brass has asked the IPL franchises to be free on July 12 and 13 in Mumbai for talks on the abridged version of the cash-rich tournament.
Whether or not it telecasts the tournament, Sony will have to be involved in the matter due to a clause which says that anything with the IPL teams will have to be its property.
BCCI may well have to go for tender for the mini-IPL rights – if at all they manage to host it –but Sony will still have to be taken into confidence.
As for the mini-IPL, there are not enough positive footsteps as yet despite plans to meet the franchise representatives next week.
Earlier this month there was some speculations that 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 recently 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 a 30-day window looks to be too narrow to host both the Duleep Trophy and the Mini IPL.