The miniature version of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which the BCCI plans to hold overseas in September, may not materialise this year.
Though the BCCI has been trying to organise the mini IPL in 2016, there are hurdles that need to be overcome first.
According to a report in The Hindu, a combination of logistical and technical issues may not make it possible for the mini IPL to be held this September.
The primary issue is creating a three-week window to host what could well be a 15-match miniature version of the IPL, with eight teams split into two groups playing a league stage, followed by the semi-finals and the final.
The BCCI recently announced the itinerary for the home series against New Zealand.
The first Test is scheduled to begin in Kanpur on 22 September, exactly a month after India’s tour of the West Indies ends.
The resultant 30-day window appears to be too narrow to host both the Duleep Trophy and the mini IPL.
The BCCI has already announced that the Duleep Trophy, which will be played under floodlights, will feature all of the country’s top players.
If the mini IPL is staged before September 20, it will mean that the Duleep Trophy will overlap with the West Indies series.
Besides, with the India A team touring Australia from early August to 4 September, it could render the initial phase of the Duleep Trophy utterly meaningless.
According to a BCCI insider who spoke to The Hindu, if the BCCI has to choose between the Duleep Trophy and the mini IPL, “This year, it will prefer the Duleep Trophy, since we will have to test the pink ball.”
The insider also admitted that there were ‘plenty of technical issues’ which could hinder the mini IPL this year.
The IPL player contracts are valid only for the 2016 edition and offshore exhibition matches, if any.
As a result, franchises will have to renegotiate with the players if a mini IPL has to be held.
The broadcaster’s issue will be even more complex.
If the BCCI chooses to invite tenders for the mini IPL, it could invite legal action from Sony Pictures Networks, which is the official IPL broadcaster, The Hindu report said.
A section of BCCI officials believes that it is best for the BCCI to wait for another year since, in any case, the IPL broadcast deal is up for renewal.