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IPL 2020: The whole game of cricket should be grateful to UAE, says Badale

rituraj@khaleejtimes.com Filed on November 1, 2020

Manoj Badale, the lead owner of the Rajasthan Royals, with the team's mentor and brand ambassador Shane Warne. (RR Twitter)

Manoj Badale with Ranjit Barthakur, chairman of Rajasthan Royals. (RR Twitter)

The Rajasthan Royals lead owner admitted that without the support from the UAE government and the Emirates Cricket Board, the 13th edition of the league would not have seen the light of the day

For someone who is soon going to launch his book (A New Innings) on how the IPL’s reinvention of cricket has provided lessons for the business of sport, Manoj Badale, the lead owner of the Rajasthan Royals, says the sport owes a ‘huge debt of appreciation’ to the UAE for salvaging the money-spinner amid a raging pandemic.

After the disturbing rise in Covid-19 cases forced the BCCI to bring the Indian Premier League to the UAE shores, the tournament has been a roaring success, albeit without fans in the stadium.

And Badale admitted that without the support from the UAE government and the Emirates Cricket Board, the 13th edition of the league would not have seen the light of the day.

“We have to give massive credit, thanks and appreciation to the UAE government and the Emirates Cricket Board,” Badale told Khaleej Times on Sunday.

“It’s not just appreciation as the IPL owners, the game of cricket owes a huge debt of appreciation because the IPL is one third of the global cricket economy. So it’s not just the IPL teams, it’s the whole supply chain, the global cricket economy is about 2 billion dollars and the IPL generates about 600 million dollars.

“So if the IPL had not taken place, the financial impact would have been huge for the BCCI and the players. So it’s not just the IPL, the whole game of cricket should be grateful to the UAE.”

Badale then revealed why playing in a bubble didn’t turn out to be a big challenge for the franchise.

“As franchise we are lucky that we have Ranjit Barthakur (the chairman of Rajasthan Royals). He had led the Royals operationally and strategically, so it was never really a concern. I knew our team would figure out how to do it,” Badale said before acknowledging the role played by the England and Wales Cricket Board in showing the cricketing world how to live in a bubble.

“If you ask our team, they would say it’s a huge benefit that the England and Wales Cricket Board have had a summer playing in a bubble. So we had a whole bunch of learnings from the English board. The credit has to go to ECB, the Pakistan Cricket Board and the West Indies Cricket Board for pioneering how these bubbles could work. That gave us the confidence. We captured those learnings and adapted it to the specific requirements of the IPL and the UAE,” he said.

England’s success in restarting cricket inspired the IPL franchises, according to Barthakur.

“When we looked at the calendar (after the England series), we saw no reason why the IPL should not be held. In the franchises meeting we highlighted the (September-October) window. So we were prepared to play under these circumstances,” Barthakur said.

Meanwhile, Badale says the Indian board has to be careful in their planning if they want to add more teams to the IPL in future.

“I think the addition of teams is inevitable, given that you have such important parts of India which don’t have a team, like Gujarat, like the northeast, like Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

“I think the question is when and how. I think the when has a strong argument. Should it be just before or after the next media rights deal? There is a natural evolution that takes place around that time. But we also must be respectful for the rest of the cricket calendar. And it’s already a very compressed calendar.

“If we don’t protect our players, then we are shooting ourselves in the foot. So I think a longer tournament will be a challenge for the global cricket calendar. If we extend the tournament, we have to do it in consultation with the other cricket boards.”

Finally, Badale said the Rajasthan Royals, which famously won the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, should take a leaf out of Mumbai Indians’ book.

“When you look at Mumbai Indians’ consistency, it’s not just about spending more than anyone else, it’s also about how they have built a culture of winning,” he said.

“Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, I am not sure he gets as much credit as he deserves because the culture in that team of winning tight matches. So we have to challenge ourselves to not rest on the clever things we have done right. I think we have got some things to learn from other franchises.”

author

Rituraj Borkakoty

A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.





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