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Star and franchises ‘hold reservations’ over proposed IPL schedule

The Board of Control for Cricket in India is said to have identified a calendar slot of September 26 to November 8 for the rescheduled 2020 Indian Premier League, with broadcast rights-holder Star India and the franchises understood to be uneasy over the implications of this condensed scheduling.

In April, the BCCI postponed this year’s edition of the Twenty20 tournament indefinitely amid the Covid-19 situation in India. The governing body had previously postponed the IPL’s start date from March 29 to April 15. The tournament was originally due to finish on May 24.

The BCCI held a meeting on Friday, and while no official announcement was made, the Times of India reported that a tentative schedule was drawn up comprising 60 games held over 44 days.

Diwali, the Hindu festival, takes place in India on November 14, and pay-television broadcaster Star is said to want to make optimum use of that week to sell advertising around its coverage of the IPL. Critics of the BCCI’s mooted timetable for the 2020 IPL are also understood to be concerned at the number of afternoon matches, which would impact on ratings.

For its part, the BCCI is said to be pushing for this schedule as it seeks to accommodate a planned tour of Australia for the national team. India is due to play Australia in a four-Test series starting December 3.

Star is the main rights-holder of the IPL after securing the global television and digital rights to the competition back in September 2017. Under an agreement with the BCCI, Star is paying Rs164.38bn (€1.92bn/$2.2bn) for all rights packages across the five editions of the IPL from 2018 to 2022.

A senior BCCI official said: “If the IPL concludes by November 8, the team can fly to Australia by the 10th, undergo Covid tests and start practice and warm-up matches so that the first Test can begin as scheduled. Also, India might want to play a day-night warm-up game ahead of the proposed day-night Test, and that will add days to the schedule.”