Even as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) mulls over whether to move IPL-2021 to Dubai, the committee on Sunday tentatively shortlisted six venues — Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai (optional) — for the cash-rich tourney, which commences on 11 April.
Not considering Hyderabad in the list of venues has come as a huge disappointment for the city’s cricket lovers, including the State Minister for Municipal Administration & Urban Development, K.T. Rama Rao, who tweeted, requesting BCCI to consider Hyderabad.
KTR tweeted, “Open appeal to @BCCI and @IPL office bearers to include Hyderabad as one of the venues for upcoming IPL season. Our effective COVID containment measures are reflected in our low number of cases among all metro cities in India & we assure you of all support from the Govt (sic).”
One of the reasons mentioned, for omitting Hyderabad, is “the HCA politics” — controversies within the HCA, which began about five years ago.
But Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) Vice President John Manoj was surprised. He points out that HCA is only a facilitator and not the organiser of the tourney. “We (HCA) have no role to play, and only manage basic things at micro level; IPL council will monitor everything. Moreover, considering Hyderabad has been awarded the ‘best ground’ for four times recently, IPL matches should be held here,” explains Manoj, who further clarifies that they have not so far got any communication from BCCI.
Revenue loss to HCA
The decision to avoid Hyderabad could cause HCA to lose a huge revenue source. BCCI apparently pays `60 lakh (an enhanced figure from the earlier payment of `30 lakh) to every state association that hosts an IPL match. So if Hyderabad is not considered, the association stands to lose close to `4.8 crore (for eight matches).
“How are internal issues in HCA related to conducting IPL matches?” questions Manoj, adding that association matters are different aspects. “The sport shouldn’t suffer at the cost of something else, right?” he argues.
Adding insult to injury
With the ongoing politics in the HCA getting the better of the sport, several players such as Hanuma Vihari, Ambati Rayudu, Ravi Kiran and Bavanaka Sandeep have had to leave the association, choosing to play for other state teams instead.
Former Hyderabad cricketer Tirumalasetti Suman says that everyone understand the issues that are happening within the HCA. He tells us that it’s high time the HCA came up with solutions.
“Hyderabad has several talented players and they should not suffer. Perhaps BCCI or players such as Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid or Laxman should take over and do a rejig within the association and save the sport,” Suman adds.
Lack of multiple options
Another argument is that Hyderabad wasn’t considered owing to the lack of multiple venues in the city.
Former city cricketer Vidyut Jaisimha, for instance, thinks the lack of multiple stadiums for playing international matches in Hyderabad may have cost the city dear. That is perhaps so. With cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru having multiple options to host international matches, Hyderabad is clearly on the losing side.
“I think originally BCCI wanted to host IPL in one or two venues just as it did in UAE last year, but I guess they have changed. They are now considering multiple venues. Perhaps Hyderabad has only one ground (in Uppal), whereas Mumbai has three grounds as does Delhi. So there is a change in strategy. I believe BCCI is looking at cities that have multiple grounds, and it is probably why Hyderabad has notbeen considered,” explains the former Hyderabad cricketer.