Jay Shah has dismissed the criticism BCCI faced for favouring IPL over domestic cricket tournaments and called it unfair and unwarranted to compare the cash-rich league with the domestic season. Shah also said to save the lives of young players the board had to cancel all the age-group tournaments.
The COVID-19 pandemic, that occurred in 2020, had hit the operations of cricket not only in India but around the globe with many tournaments were either cancelled or postponed further. The BCCI had managed to conduct IPL's entire 13th edition in the United Arab Emirates in the September-November window.
The board had to scrap the oldest tournament, the Ranji Trophy, owing to the pandemic but managed to conduct other prominent tournaments like Syed Mushtaq Ali (domestic T20I tournament), Vijay Hazare (domestic ODI tournament) and Senior Women’s One-day tournament (List A ODI tournament for women). However, BCCI's secretary Jay Shah has rejected the claims that the Indian board favours the cash-rich event IPL over domestic cricket and also pointed the manner of difference in conducting both the events.
“I feel the criticism is unwarranted and unfair. In 2020 as well, in the middle of the pandemic, we conducted the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, Vijay Hazare tournament and Senior Women’s One-day tournament taking all precautions,” Shah told Gulf News.
“The Indian domestic season has over 2000 games, whereas the IPL has 60 matches. With a cricketing set-up as big and as diverse as India’s, it is not easy to conduct a full season when so many states are grappling with COVID caseloads,” Shah explained.
IPL has earned the board numerous financial benefits with the official broadcaster of the event pays the BCCI approx Rs 3269.60 crores per season with the title sponsor pays more than Rs 400 crore each season to the board. The eight-team tournament was last year pushed to September from its regular period of March-April. But Shah believes that it would be an unfair assessment to compare the showpiece event with India's domestic tournaments.
“It won’t be a fair assessment if IPL is compared with other Indian domestic tournaments. The IPL has a franchise model and a platform for the world’s best cricketers, coaches, support staff to come and showcase their skills," Shah said.
Apart from the Ranji Trophy, the Indian board had also put a cross on all the age group tournaments like Vinoo Mankad Trophy (U-19 tournament) or the Cooch Behar Trophy (U-19 national tournament). Shah said it would have been risky to put the lives of young players at the cost of conducting those tournaments.
“You also have to factor in the time taken to have an entire domestic season and the travel that is included. They are putting their lives at risk, which should never be the case. It is not ideal to have age-group tournaments in such an environment and put careers of young cricketers at risk,” Shah reasoned about not having any U-19 or U-16 tournaments last year.
BCCI has announced a full season domestic tournament for the 2021/22 calendar year with the Senior Women's One Day League will be the first competition to start on September 21.
“However, with the situation improving, we have announced a full season comprising 2127 domestic games across age groups for both men and women,” Shah concluded.