New Delhi, Aug 1: Explaining why the BCCI is 'desperate' to organise a tournament like the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year when the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet i.e. Tokyo Olympics has been postponed, former India captain Rahul Dravid said the revenue earned from the cash-rich league helps the board keep the domestic cricket up and running.
Dravid, who heads the National Cricket Academy (NCA), during a webinar organised by Deccan Herald, narrated why the league is so important for the cricket ecosystem in the country.
The former coach of India A and Under-19 sides also said that the BCCI - like the European football clubs, as well as the England & Wales Cricket Board - will create a bio-secure bubble to ensure the safety of the players during the IPL 2020 in UAE.
Keeping the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the Indian cricket board has decided to organise the tournament from September 19 to November 8 in the UAE.
"I'm sure leagues like the IPL will be able to put in the kind of biosecure environments required, like what EPL, Bundesliga or what ECB did with the England-West Indies series," he said. "I'm sure every effort will be made to do that. Let's be honest. There is a lot of revenue that rides with tournaments like the IPL. I know if you're cynical about it, you can only look at the money that the big players make or maybe the franchises or BCCI make, but where does that money go? It goes down to state associations, in conducting Under-19 and Under-16 tournaments, so a lot of the revenue associated with the game.
"The fact of the matter is, none of the domestic sport actually generates any revenue. In fact, it costs a lot of money to hold. So if you want to give young boys and girls the opportunity to play, if you want to give them opportunities to express their talent, money has got to come from somewhere. The reality is, to conduct tournaments and develop high-class athletes, it costs money; there's a financial element involved."
Dravid further added, "It's easy to say we're conducting it (the IPL) only because of the huge finances riding on it. I would like to think, without compromising on safety and ensuring all the SOPs are in place to conduct a safe and secure tournament, the money generated from the IPL filters all through our sport and helps fund junior and domestic cricket. That is why sporting organisations are keen to conduct these tournaments. They understand if we don't have that revenue, not only will that tournament suffer but the ripple effect will be felt all the way down."
Talking about the recently concluded three-Test series between England and West Indies, which saw the return of international cricket after a gap of 117 days, Dravid said: "It was nice to watch some live cricket with the England-West Indies series. They did a great job of ensuring the kind of environment they created," he said.
"I heard Jason Holder say much later that it was tough being in that [biosecure] environment for more than two months. But it was important that we got something going and great that it got going without a hitch. But my worry is that in domestic or junior cricket, it [bio-bubbles] may not be easy to create," the 47-year-old added further.