22 October 2020 last updated at 16:35 GMT
 
LKM Blogs
IPL is Back
Lalit K Modi

The IPL is finally back. After what seemed like forever, I am glad that IPL Season 13 will continue to entertain my fellow Indians and cricket fans worldwide.

Hats off to the top BCCI management and the IPL team to put together the tournament plan at such short notice.

The fact that the IPL is taking place is, in itself, a good sign for the global cricket economy. Remember, the economy supporting the sport is on thin ice. It needed an IPL to come back into focus for the sport to even consider surviving during this awful pandemic.

Hence the work done by the IPL Governing Council and the top management team deserves all the credit. There were some teething issues about the delayed schedule, but it is understandable given the pandemic's chaos. The disease has presented us with different scenarios. Hence, it was only wise that they took the time to decide on the whole tournament. 

When we had a similar situation in 2009 when the IPL was only in its second season. I remember how we were working on a war footing to organize the IPL on the shortest possible notice in South Africa. We were ready with every necessary detail. The franchises just had to fly in with their squads and start playing the tournament.

In 2009, I remember flying down to South Africa days in advance, signing the agreement. Then my team sorted all issues and organised what one of the best IPL seasons was.

In 2009 we had a plan of giving back to South African people, and we did. The IPL gave away scholarship funds to almost 300 students and 32 schools across South Africa. IPL, as a whole, injected 100 million US Dollars in the South African economy. And this was after their cricket seasons were over.  We made sure that the franchises visited communities, held clinics, interacted with the community, and thanked the nation for welcoming us to their rainbow nation.

I hope BCCI/IPL leaves back a strong legacy in the UAE for the sport and helps it grow beyond measure. Cricket has enormous potential in the Emirates. If a strong cricket matrix is set, there is no reason why they cannot compete in the shorter formats of the game.     

It would be interesting to see if an outreach program can be a by-product of hosting the IPL in the Gulf. Imagine if many expats living in the UAE take up the sport in a big way, which can only mean that it can help globalise the game. There can be a groundswell for the cricket economy to grow from the grassroots levels. Their infrastructure is brilliant.  

But the only thing that I find strange is the lack of communication from the IPL chairman. He needs to front up a bit more while dealing with and talking about issues. Remember, these are dynamic times, and he needs to be available and provide timely updates about the tournament. It creates buzz about the event and also safeguards against fake news and rumours.  

For a tournament like IPL to keep growing, communication has to be of the highest order. Instead, we have seen information being given out in fits and starts.  It cannot be a case of I decide when to answer and provide inputs. This may work for a local club tournament back in Bengaluru, but not here.

Overall, the franchises have come a long way since 2009. They are far more organised than what they were back then. All the franchise owners deserve kudos for rising to the challenge. The quarantine rules have been followed thoroughly, but what has impressed me more has been the extent to which squads have gone to take care of their players. To see the franchises come this far makes me feel proud because now they are entirely invested in the sport, which was the vision that drove the whole product all those years ago. 

The owners had justified my faith in them entirely back in late 2007 when they won the franchises' right. They have become much more structured cricket enterprises, focusing on the sport being a lot more pronounced and organized than ever before. These franchises are now a model set-up that can be replicated in any other sport in India.

Time now for something to cheer about in 2020. Thank you, IPL!

   

Follow my thoughts on the IPL 2020 through my Twitter account @lalitkmodi

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