Simon Katich, the head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, isn’t averse to the possibility of the IPL being held outside India. He also thinks it could suit his side if it were to be held in South Africa or Australia.
“Whether it would be in Australia [or elsewhere], that’s an interesting topic of conversation,” he told SEN Radio. “There would be a few teams – us in particular at RCB, we’d be very happy for it to be played abroad, because a number of our overseas players are Australian and South African, who really would enjoy these conditions in Australia. It would be interesting to see if that would eventuate but obviously it’s one of many scenarios that’s being discussed.”
Katich, who was due to fly to India a few days after international travel was severely limited, said that he had “no doubt” the IPL’s organisers would do everything they could to host the 2020 edition of the tournament in some form.
“It’s obviously the biggest T20 tournament in the world and the people there love their cricket,” he said. “But I think they’re also realistic to know that they have to sit tight and wait like everyone else in the world, and ride this out however long that takes.
“There is a huge economic side to this in terms of what the IPL generates, not only for the Indian economy but also for the franchises as well, and for the BCCI. I guess the thing that has to be weighed up is … there’s probably a little bit of a difference in terms of the IPL.
“Because of the amount of eyeballs that are on the IPL in India when it’s on in April and May, it is a scenario where it is potentially still very commercially viable being played with empty stadiums, so that’s something no doubt they’ll be weighing up.
“In the past there’s been talk of ratings figures of 80 million people watching games. At the same time, there’s obviously a lot of health regulations that need to be followed to make sure that no-one’s endangered, whether that’s the public or the players and support staff.”
Katich bats for new T20 World Cup window
Katich also suggested that the T20 World Cup – scheduled to begin in mid-October in Australia – could be pushed back towards the end of the Australian summer if the crisis made it impossible to hold the tournament within the planned window.
He said that while Australia seemed “pretty blessed” compared to other parts of the world in terms of the virus’ spread, the tournament is still “a long way off”.
“Potentially there’s a chance to host it later in the summer, like the [recent] Women’s T20 World Cup, and whether that’s an opportunity to re-jig things… it’ll be interesting to hear those discussions [which are] probably taking place at the moment and whether that’s logistically possible with the FTP the way it is.
“But I’m sure that a T20 World Cup is a priority for all the organisers at the moment, to try and make sure that goes ahead at some point in the Australian summer given that we’re hosting it.”
Katich also admitted that it may be sensible for the inaugural season of the Hundred, the ECB’s new 100-ball competition, to be delayed until next year.
He is due to coach the Manchester Originals in the tournament from July, but doubts have been cast over whether it will be possible to stage sporting fixtures that soon with the UK’s confirmed death toll recently passing 12,000.
“There has been a lot of speculation about the Hundred given that it’s a new tournament, that it probably doesn’t make any sense for it to be played in front of empty stadiums [even] if it was OK in that July window.
“So there has been speculation about it potentially being delayed to start until next season, which I’ve got no problem with, and a lot of people would probably think that’s the way to go if things keep tracking the way they are in the UK.”