CRICKET AFTER CORONA
Rahul Johri stressed that gate money is important for the board in the long run © Getty
After nearly two months of cricketing inaction owing to the coronavirus pandemic, boards around the world are begining to think of resumption, albeit in controlled environments. While players in some cricketing nations – like England – are preparing for individual skill-based training, any chance of kick-starting cricket again will happen only if it is kept behind closed doors.
BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, however, highlighted the fact that even gate receipt – however small in the revenue pie – remains an important component in the long run, as it helps with the maintenance costs of the stadiums.
“Not just the IPL, it’s also about the international cricket that we play. Gate money albeit being a smaller amount of our overall revenue but it is extremely important because the bulk of it goes in the maintenance and upkeep of the stadiums,” Johri said in a webinar.
“Infrastructure needs to be kept ready and in good health, for which gate money is a criteria. However, in short term, as we head for normalcy, it is something one can live without but ultimately, it’s an important piece,” he added.
While there seem to be constant talk of rescheduling IPL at some point later this year, and efforts being made to make India’s year end tour of Australia happen, the BCCI also has quite a task at hand with its domestic scheduling in the future.
Johri reckons they need to get innovative considering the sheer volume of matches that are conducted at the domestic level. BCCI are likely to run into several logistical issues as they’ll now have to work their way around existing travel restrictions and the need to ensure complete safety of all those involved in the matches.
“Domestic cricket is the bedrock of Indian cricket. What people don’t realise is that we conduct over 2,000 games over a span of six months. In today’s world, changing scenario, the scheduling of domestic cricket needs to be completely relooked at,” Johri said.
“Today, there is a team that can travel 50km to play a match or 3,000 km to play a match because every team plays home and away. In such times, when travel is restricted, the safety of players and support staff is of paramount importance, how do you conduct these leagues? How do you look at it? It is a discussion that we will have and interesting options need to come up. Innovation will be the key in this,” he added.
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