The next IPL season is likely to be bit longer as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is mulling the option of more night games. BCCI is working on a plan where each team only plays one day game in the entire IPL season and fewer double-headers on weekends. With the IPL having a full 60 day-window, a proposed schedule will be placed before the new IPL Governing Council in the coming days.
The IPL is likely to start on April 1 and could end by May 30.
Sources informed that BCCI, along with the broadcasters, have come up with several options and a new schedule to cash in on the two-month window. The franchises will be informed about these plans when the IPL GC meets the owners in the coming months. The BCCI is also keen to have a 7 pm start for all matches and will discuss this with the franchises. Mumbai Indians, in the past, have expressed their disagreement with early starts and argued that Mumbai crowds come to watch matches post office hours.
Though BCCI didn't change timings for league matches, it did so for the play-offs last season. In 2017, former India captain and commentator Sunil Gavaskar had expressed his preference for games not finishing too late and the view was also backed by former IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla.
One of the games in Bangalore had finished at 1:27 am.
It is learnt that during informal discussions with franchises, many teams were in favour of early starts, especially for fans who face difficulties travelling back home after games. Many centres don't have any public transport available post night IPL games. “There is a plan in place of playing more games at night. If it is passed, each team will have to play only one game in the afternoon. Teams who play in the north face heat waves and conditions get more difficult. There is a plan of using all 60 days instead of wrapping up the IPL in 45 days. The IPL GC has to approve it,” source informed.
However, there is no clarity over whether the new BCCI regime will maintain the 15-day gap between the end of IPL and the India's next international assignment, as the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators had done during its time in charge.
Meanwhile, the BCCI has approached Cricket Club of India (CCI) with an offer to host the IPL opening ceremony.
It is likely that the opening ceremony will not be held on the same day as the first match. The CoA initially organised opening ceremonies at all IPL centres, but last year decided not to do so and the money thus saved was earmarked for families of CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama terror attack.
This article appeared in the print edition with the headline 'Longer IPL, fewer day games mooted for next season'.