The IPL governing council is set to discuss an alternative to the Champions League Twenty20 in a meeting, likely to be held in Delhi, on July 8.
Though the CLT20 has still not officially been scrapped, it is believed that the three boards governing the multinational T20 tournament have signed an exit clause with the broadcaster of the tournament. As a result, according to a BCCI insider, "It is a given that CLT20 is history and it's time to look ahead".
The BCCI is understood to have plenty of options to fill in the three-week void created in the fixtures by the CLT20 cancellation. At the moment, there are three major options being discussed in the BCCI corridors. To play a mini-IPL comprising the top four teams in IPL 2015. Likely to be a seven-match tournament with a league stage of six matches, followed by a final. To play a baby-IPL with all eight teams participating. The tournament will have a total of 15 matches, with eight teams divided into two groups of four, followed by two semi-finals and a final. Instead of playing a mini/baby-IPL, respond to the WICB's informal proposal of playing a short series in India to make up for the losses arising out of West Indies' pullout from last year's tour of India.
The IPL governing council is likely to discuss the first two options threadbare. If either of those two options is considered financially and logistically viable, then the governing council is set to forward it to the BCCI working committee, likely to be held in the latter half of July, for ratification.
The most critical aspect of playing a mini-IPL is to consider the ramifications of it on the broadcaster for the IPL. If any other broadcaster is awarded rights for a miniature version of the IPL, Multi Screen Media Pvt Ltd, owners of Max and Six who broadcast the IPL, may appeal to the Competition Commission of India.
However, the BCCI at the moment is not looking that far. The issue of broadcasting, according an IPL insider, will arise only if a mini-IPL is formalised. The BCCI hierarchy is also confident that the issue can be dealt with by following a transparent method to award broadcast rights.
While the BCCI's coffers are richer due to the settlement with the CLT20 broadcaster, a mini-IPL will help the IPL cricketers and franchises oblige their contractual commitments. Ten per cent of every player's IPL contract is set aside as his match-fees for the CLT20, provided his team qualifies for the tournament. Similarly, a portion of every franchise's sponsorship deal is understood to have been provisionally based on its qualification for the CLT20.
Only if the governing council decides against filling in the CLT20 slot with a franchise-based league will it let the working committee discuss the possibility of playing a series at home against West Indies.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo