IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla believes that the year’s World T20 venues provided an overdose of matches and that is the prime reason for the stadiums not getting fully occupied in the initial weeks of the 9th edition of the cash-rich tournament. He lamented on the fact that there was some fatigue but the third and fourth weeks have been better and thus confirmed that the IPL fever is rising. According to him, IPL 2016 is catching up on the minds of the people quickly and expects a great end to the tournament in terms of close matches and viewership.
He spoke about several issues concerning the IPL and further challenges in its way. On being asked if there is any chance of IPL shifting out of India, he replied, “We had to shift the event twice outside India, in South Africa and Abu Dhabi, due to the Lok Sabha elections before. Technically, IPL should be played in India only. But due to so many PILs in the court, managing the event isn’t easy these days.”
On the other hand, he assured that the owners of Royal Challengers Bangalore are pretty much serious about their cricket and look forward to continue with their IPL team in future as well. He mentioned that before the tournament commenced, the owners told had told them about their vision of running the team and as of now they haven’t approached for any issue. He said,” The players, support staff and the rest of the employees with the franchisee don’t need to worry about their salaries. This team is surely up and running like any other IPL franchisee. There is no uncertainty surrounding the RCB. They have also written to us to deal with the new CEO and the IPL team is in touch with him for RCB matters.”
Revealing the planned players retention policy, he explained that 2017 is supposed to be the mega IPL auction, where all the big players will be up for the grabs. He also added that the two suspended teams of IPL from Chennai and Rajasthan are also expected to be back in the thick of things. Highlighting upon this, the IPL chairman concluded, “An open auction is the best way forward. If some teams are interested in retaining a few of their stars, it would be discussed in the GC meet. We expect that Chennai and Rajasthan would be interested in bringing back their old players. Therefore, the GC members are open to discussing this issue at length,” Shukla added.