What was BCCI’s priority when work first began on revising the FTP?
The primary thing on everybody’s mind was to ensure we get what’s best for the team, fans, state members and all our stakeholders. Riding on that thought alone, keeping the Test championship in mind, for instance, the BCCI went ahead chalking out the schedule.
And the work is not over yet. There’s a media rights sale coming up…
The media rights tender for Indian cricket is going to be out soon. We expect the bidding to attract similar interest as what we witnessed during the Indian Premier League media rights sale. As you would have gauged by now, in 2018 we hardly play any cricket in the country and that’s going to be the case almost until the 2019 World Cup. In such a scenario what do we offer a potential broadcaster? We had to also think about it when we began work on the scheduling.
BCCI had indicated that going forward, it intends to play more ‘meaningful cricket’. Can you talk about that?
Twelve out of 18 Test matches that India plays at home are against Australia, England and South Africa. The idea was to ensure we play meaningful cricket. A lot of work went in at various levels to get this proposal ready. We were clear that we wanted to work with everyone (ICC member boards) and it had to be done on the lines where every member board was going to participate on an equal footing. On that front we had a lot of one-on-ones with all member boards of the ICC. And those discussions went off very well. Eventually, the FTP is there for everyone to see – it’s been worked out in a manner where there’s enough cricket at home and away, an exclusive home season every year, two ICC tournaments at home between 2021 and 2023 and it takes care of the players’ demands too.