With franchises reportedly open to the idea of holding the Indian Premier League in 2020 without any overseas players, former Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir has given his thumbs up to the idea.
The 13th edition of the tournament has been indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cricket has been dealt a body blow like most other sport in the world in the past couple of months. The Indian Premier League, has been indefinitely suspended, while the inaugural edition of The Hundred in England and Wales has been pushed back by an year to 2021.
The 13th edition of the IPL, however, has not been cancelled with various stakeholders showing an interest in holding the tournament behind closed doors at a later window. The most recent suggestion has been to have the 2020 season with just Indian players participating.
“Rajasthan [Royals] were the first ones to say they want the game to on and they are happy to play with just Indian players, and so are we. I think most franchises are,” Dhiraj Malhotra, the CEO of Delhi Capitals had said earlier last week in a video interview with The Quint.
The suggestion was put forth to two-time IPL-winning captain Gambhir and he said he is ‘absolutely up for it.’
“It is going to be a very different IPL this time around, it’s not going to be about which franchise wins or loses,” Gambhir said on Star Sports’ Cricket Connected chat show.
“Ultimately, it is going to be India that wins. There are times when you have to do something for the country, you have to change the mood. There is so much of negativity around with the virus. So if the IPL happens, India will be the winner; so I am absolutely up for it even if it happens with only Indian players. It is for a far bigger cause than what has been the case in the last 12 years,” Gambhir added.
Capitals’ CEO Malhotra added that his franchise was working behind the scenes to mitigate the financial impact, but said teams would be keen to see the tournament go ahead later in the year.
“As of now, everyone’s trying very hard for the tournament (IPL) to happen. The BCCI is talking to all boards and trying to make it happen. The roadmap for cricket’s return is being discussed at every level. The ICC is also... the (T20) World Cup was supposed to happen in October, they’re saying it might get shifted. If that happens, then it opens a window for the IPL. The IPL can be played over 35-37 days as well,” Malhotra told the Quint.
Many international players make the majority of their salaries in franchise limited-overs cricket, while the IPL draws massive crowds and is estimated to generate more than $11 billion a year for the Indian economy.
Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins was the most expensive overseas player bought at the 2020 season auction, with KKR snapping him up for $2.17 million.
The IPL was originally scheduled to start on March 29, was delayed until April 15, and has now been postponed indefinitely after the Indian government extended the country’s lockdown until at least May 17.
You can watch the entire episode of Cricket Connected on Disney+Hotstar here.
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