04 Oct

KingsXI Punjab (KXIP) co-owner Ness Wadia is thrilled with the way IPL 2020 has been able to stimulate huge interest among the cricket loving audiences. Speaking on “Amstrad InsideSport Face 2 Face Cricket Series” Wadia said that full credit for delivering such an incredible IPL 2020 goes to Sourav Ganguly, Jay Shah and Brijesh Patel.

“I think a lot of sceptics thought it would never take place. I was not one of them, knew all along that it would happen. I had full faith in the BCCI and the IPL that it would happen. I think there were a lot of to and fro with the ICC as well. And I, I’m very happy that it’s taking place in Dubai it’s a good hunting ground for us and I truly believe that the BCCI gets a lot of stick and I think there’s a lot of negativity which people talk about BCCI, it’s okay to be negative in some things but then at least applaud when people do positive things. And I take a bow to the IPL – Sourav Ganguly, Jay Shah, Brijesh Patel and the others who are involved in getting the IPL up and running and it’s just incredible what they’ve done to pull it off, the safety and security protocols are amazing in the bubbles. We’ve had a lot to learn from other leagues and they’ve learned.”

With the new normal in place and restrictions at the stadiums, the owners are having a new experience being at the ground to which Wadia said, “It’s a different experience and quite intriguing when you are in a stadium and there are no fans around. It just means we have to shout more and cheer more. We have to adapt and adjust and that is what we are doing. It might be pretty peaceful actually from an owner’s perspective because for a lot of owners, when you go to your home grounds you have so many fans asking you things, wanting things and it might be pretty peaceful from our perspective, also. You have a more relaxed time and you get to enjoy the game and focus more. Here you have a restriction of eight people, so it is a different experience. I wouldn’t say its better but it’s unique and more peaceful for sure.”

On the subject of sponsorship he said, “I think it’s been difficult for most of the franchises, some are exceptions. It’s difficult to deal with sponsors every year, this year it is a little bit more difficult. It’s been a tough year and it’s been a hit for everyone. Like I said, if IPL hadn’t happened, then it will be a zero-sum game so anything is better than zero, right?”

Wadia believes that the IPL will certainly lift the spirits of businesses and people in general. “Everyone’s going to watch the IPL from the youngest kid to the oldest grandmother, grandfather. And that’s what IPL brings you know so it’s going to change the sentiment. From the Prime Minister down to the person who drives your car everyone’s going to be watching so you know the whole of India, and the rest of the world is going to watch.”

Finally, he was asked whether another IPL in March/April 2021 will lead to a domino effect on the way market reacts considering it will be two editions within a span of six-seven months. Wadia said, “There is never enough of cricket. I think there are a lot of opportunities. We’ve talked many times as franchises in IPL and with BCCI about having two seasons because we’ve also always felt that 10 months of the year having nothing is not good. I don’t think there’s going to be an absorption issue. I think it’s going to be appreciated by the fans. Cricket is going to be bigger than ever, it’s growing bigger than ever and it’s going to have great viewership.”

John Stephenson


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