Jawad Ghulam Rasool is the managing director of the IPG group who is currently organizing the hugely successful inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League 2020. Jawad took some time to indulge in an exclusive interview with the PTV Sports panel where he reflected upon the general management and production of LPL 2020 and shared his thoughts on Galle Gladiators’ campaign.
Q: Your company is doing a wonderful job and the efforts that you are putting in are being lauded in all circles. But it must be a difficult task organizing all this amidst COVID-19, isn’t it?
Ans: It is actually a very difficult task. There have been negative vibes and lots of rumours surrounding the staging of Lanka Premier League (LPL) that we have been unable to pull it off as per the stipulated timeline. When we started planning for this at the beginning of the year, we were looking forward to capacity crowds. There are certain things, however, that are not in your control. With the continuous support from all the stakeholders especially Sri Lanka Cricket, the broadcasters, and the sponsors, we have made it possible. The management of Galle Gladiators, in particular, needs to be praised for its unflinching belief in us. They were the first to register their team in LPL 2020 and thereby encouraged other franchises to step in, as well.
Q: The live broadcast of LPL 2020 has been sensational, thus far and it seems like no stone has been left unturned. How large a team are you managing in Sri Lanka and what has the experience been like, so far?
Ans: It’s all about the teamwork and the general understanding that everyone in the team, including the likes of our cameramen and the production managers, share. We believe in letting the right people do the right job and, hence, achieve the best possible results in the process. As you know, IPG is renowned for its top-quality production and equipment. We have the best directors and producers, and our company has been at the centre of so many past events for PCB and PSL. I think it’s high time that people recognize the difference that we have made even during this exceptionally tough time period.
Q: Coming on to the COVID-19 restrictions, the SOPs and protocols that are in place, and the hefty communication that is needed with the governments and the cricket boards, how have the things been gelled together so smoothly as far as the LPL is concerned?
Ans: I feel that the overall coordination between the IPG Group, Sri Lanka Cricket, and the local law-enforcement personnel has been outstanding. There is just this sense of immaculate discipline that is being followed throughout, ranging from the production and broadcasting crews to the team owners and management and down to every single player.
Q: In Pakistan, there has been loads of interest regarding Galle Gladiators’ campaign in LPL 2020. However, they are the nethermost ranked side in the tournament, as of now. What is your take on their campaign in LPL 2020, thus far?
Ans: In my personal opinion, there could be a lot of reasons. Galle Gladiators have been marred by the loss of players just before the start of LPL 2020. Colin Ingram couldn’t show up for the tournament. They were deprived of the services of Sarfraz Ahmed as he was called up in New Zealand for national duty and had to be replaced with Chadwick Walton. The biggest blow was the departure of Shahid Afridi who had to fly back to Pakistan for personal reasons.
Miss being on the field. Goodluck to the Galle boys for the crucial game against Kandy today. Enjoying the cricket on my TV screen, commendable job done on broadcasting by Jawad @jgr78045892 and his team at @ipgpakistan #ShorMachaoGalleGladiators #IPGPakistan pic.twitter.com/bWJdWUkylR— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) December 10, 2020
Galle Gladiators’ bowling battery has been a weak link given that they have lost both Lasith Malinga and Shahid Afridi. The fielding has looked generally rusty and has not been up to the mark, either. I can imagine that it will be a strenuous task for Moin Khan to get this team going and rediscover the rhythm. The general trend that I have noticed in LPL 2020, so far, is the teams that are performing consistently well are being steered and shepherded by their local players. This is one aspect where Galle Gladiators are lagging behind.