Time difference spoils plans for a Mini IPL.
The BCCI president Anuraj Thakur has stalled plans of a mini Indian Premier League (IPL) in the USA, stating the time difference as the major issue in his contemplations. Although T20s are the prefered option in the American markets, matches would need to start at 10am local time. This would make it very very difficult to draw big crowds to matches, especially during mid week matches.
‘I think we must understand the time difference,’ Thakur said in an interview. ‘IPL is seen in India from 7 o’clock to 11 or 11.30 at night. So you have to play somewhere in the east coast here (USA) so [that] the timing matches. If we have to play in the day here, the matches should be seen in India at night because broadcasting is a big thing. So you can’t make your home fan lose [by] playing outside India. So which are the provinces you can play in United States? That’s a big task.’
It was somewhere in June that the BCCI had concocted the idea of a mini IPL overseas in September, with the choices being the UAE or the USA, which had been finalized earlier this year at a council. There was however, as of yesterday no confirmation, as it still had to approved by the franchises and all the various broadcasters.
Thakur did further add that the IPL was going nowhere, ‘IPL, we are not even thinking of hosting it outside India. It has to be hosted in India, but there are many other options what you can do which we’ll let you know over a period of time when we come out with a long-term plan for this market’ But the BCCI has reaffirmed their interest of utilizing the US market with a possible annual T20 series. ‘We need to come, I can’t say many times a year, but yes on annual basis we have to be here if we really want to develop a market and want locals to play and participate, not only to watch cricket,” he said. “We have to play a much much bigger role and India is up and ready to play that big role. BCCI is here to deliver and will make it a big success.’
They further added ‘I think there needs to be more focus in countries like US, Canada and others where we have a lot of population who is from Asia who understands cricket, could be more involved and can get more locals involved. So we are not here just to play a couple of games.’
With India not playing any matches after their tour of West Indies, till the 22nd of September, the BCCI were looking for alternate options of filling that void. And although Thakur said that he had foreseen that the time difference would cause major issues and thus would become the key obstacle.