Mumbai: It was on this day 13 years ago that the Indian Premier League was born and today, is struggling for its very existence, struck down in its prime by a microbe. But that is precisely how things stand as of now. The coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, threatening to reduce the IPL to a non-existent blip. “
It was an amazing moment this day, all those years ago. I will never forget when I was in Bengaluru and lucky to be able to watch the Kolkata Knight Riders’ Brandon McMullen going all guns blazing against Royal Challengers Bengaluru,” recalled a starry-eyed spectator who witnessed the New Zealand wicketkeeper McMullen, Kolkata's opener, clobber 158 off 73 balls, flagging off the tournament in style.
But things have changed so much since that day in 2008. The record price for the opening edition was MS Dhoni for Rs 1.5 crore - and the total prize money on offer was around Rs 4.8 crore.
Last year, the winners took home Rs 20 crore, while Pat Cummins, who sits on top of the bowlers' rankings in Test cricket, was sold for a whopping Rs 15.50 crore to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), a solid crore of rupees past the Rs 14.5 crore auction bid for England all-rounder Ben Stokes at the IPL 2017 auction.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have evinced interest in hosting this prestigious event, but influential voices within the BCCI feel there is no point in discussing such a proposal in a locked down world battling the COVID-19 pandemic right now.
“The BCCI is not in a position to say anything when the world is closed," a BCCI official told a section of the media. As of now, the BCCI seems to be keener on having it in India, in either of the two slots between September October and October-November.
In India, more than 13,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 437 lives have been lost so far. Amidst this crisis, the much-awaited IPL 2020 has been postponed indefinitely. With a nation under complete lockdown till May 3, the possibility of IPL 2020 happening looks rather bleak.
The BCCI is staring at a loss of Rs 2,000 crore if the revenue-grossing league is cancelled. So, it could be an interesting prospect for the board in financial terms, to host the IPL in another country. If this comes to pass, it will not be the first time either.
In 2009, the IPL had to be held in South Africa because of the general elections in India at the same time. At that time, it took all of three weeks to organise the event in South Africa, as soon as the decision was made, courtesy the then IPL commissioner Lalit Modi's efforts. In 2014 as well, the general elections in India played the gamechanger and part of the tournament was conducted in the UAE.