A Indian Premier League governing council meeting is set to take place in New Delhi on Monday and on top of the agenda will be the match timings for IPL 2020. Calls have been made to start the evening matches from 19.30 IST instead of 20.00 IST after many matches finished late last year and a decision will be taken on the issue.
The issue has been lingering on for a while with Star -- the official broadcasters requesting the BCCI to shift the timing to 19.00 IST but later settled for 19.30 IST in 2019 and once again, the BCCI needs to decide on the matter.
The broadcasters want the start of the game to be pre-poned based on three issues. An early start will allow the match and the post-match presentations to finish early and increase the viewership and the sponsors will get more exposure as well. The last being the crowd, which can return home early instead of waiting past mid-night for games which are affected by rain.
But, there are negatives as well in terms of an early start.
"Dew is a big factor under lights and an early start will give one team more advantage than the other. Crowds in cities like Mumbai and Bangalore need time after wrapping up work to reach their respective venues. Even in an 8pm start, stadium begins to fill up only by 8.30pm. More importantly, cricket can't be compromised for TV ratings," say those in favour of an 8pm start, according to Cricbuzz.
Scheduling will also be on the agenda as the itienary of the 13th season is still not out yet and needs some discussing as some players might not be available if the tournament starts in the last week of March according to reports. Along with that, Rajasthan Royals' request of playing some of their matches in Guwahati has also brought some headache for the BCCI in terms of security and arranging matches there amidst recent unrest.
"Security concerns need to be addressed too (in Guwahati). The schedule is ready," according to sources.
The increase of number of teams is also likely to be discussed. The Board is still undecided about increasing the number of teams to nine or 10 in the 2021 IPL. While addition of a new team is still uncertain, it is believed one team could be coming in but it is still up for discussion according to TOI.
"The BCCI is still working on it. If new franchises have to be introduced, why not bring in both at one go and have the 2011 format (74 matches) in place for 2021 and 2022?" say those tracking developments.
To start the league by March 20 and wrap it up in the last week of May will give the IPL an approximate 60 to 65-day window. "74 matches can be easily played during this time," add stakeholders.
Either a 2011-kind format, when teams were divided into two groups or splitting the IPL into two separate windows - with the second half of the tournament to be played around October - will have to be considered if two new teams are introduced. Nine teams for now would've given more space ideally. Let's see," say sources