The BCCI president says that India has a busy schedule and there are many organizational threats such as 14-day quarantine that are difficult to handle
As chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Sourav Ganguly should steer the ship in the most troubled times that mankind knew.
The former Indian captain is aware of the sacrifices that players make in today’s times and that is why he chases them to play cricket.
In this chat Sportstar, Ganguly shared his thoughts on the challenges faced in the last 14 months, the upcoming series in England, which he said will be more difficult than one against Australia.
The status of COVID-19 is never likely to improve. So, what is the biggest immediate challenge of BCCI? What are your thoughts on the situation?
The challenge has been for a year now. COVID has hit us badly and we are all struggling. From December 2020 to March 2021, it has been a fight against the epidemic. The battle to stay relevant. The fight to keep people united. It has been extremely difficult for all of us, and the cricketers were no exception.
How was the experience of hosting the IPL in 2020?
Hosting the IPL in Dubai was a challenge. Hosting domestic cricket was a humble task. Everything went well until this huge and terrifying second wave of Kovid arrived. You can imagine how difficult it must have been to organize cricket. We have the World Cup in five months time. As long as this epidemic persists, some work will have to be done to organize any cricket.
Are you not worried about junior cricketers? He must be disillusioned because there has been no cricket for him for a long time…
How can we expose young boys to this covid environment? Imagine a 16-year-old away from home and their parents and staying in a hotel for a long time. This virus is so dangerous. We write associations. We cannot have direct access to individuals. We continue to inspire the players by speaking with them through our associations. They have a World Cup in January. Hopefully things will calm down by October. Kovid has ruined the game and life a lot. We will give compensation to all the domestic players in June-July. Junior players, umpires, scorers, they will all take their fees.
How did you manage to host the India-England series without any fuss and hosting the domestic tournament?
Because the number was small, and we had just two teams. There were bio bubbles. We had 760 players in the bio-bubble (during the home games), but the key was that the COVID number was – 7000 per day across the country. Now we have more than 4 lakh cases daily.
Do you think you have continued the IPL of 2021? Could it have been called closed earlier?
You can say that now it should be considered that IPL should have been closed earlier. There were no Mumbai and Chennai (leg) cases. Matters only increased when the IPL reached Delhi and Ahmedabad. People will say many things in any case. The English Premier League affected so many people. But they could reshuffle the matches. But you cannot do this with IPL. You stop it for seven days and it is done. The players go back home and then the quarantine process starts from scratch.
The IPL and BCCI have drawn criticism from several quarters for continuing the tournament. What will the BCCI do to counter this negative perception? Do you think the criticism of the arrival of IPL was justified?
There are different scenarios, and it is not always helpful to be intelligent after the event. We did not benefit. As I said, if there were no cases, we would have continued. We would have completed the IPL. Players were in bubbles and there was no crowd at places. Players were not getting infected. Once the players were impressed, we shut it down. See the leagues happening around the world. He has COVID cases, but has continued.
Is there a possibility of the remainder of the tournament being held in England after the WTC finals and before the England series? The WTC final will end on 22 June and the first Test will begin on 4 August.
No. India has to travel to Sri Lanka for three ODIs and five T20Is. Organizational hazards such as the 14-day quarantine are numerous. This cannot happen in India. This quarantine is difficult to handle. Too early to say how we can find a slot to complete the IPL.
()To read the complete interview go to https://sportstar.thehindu.com)