With lockdown extended, IPL 2020 ‘postponed indefinitely’, BCCI tells franchises
The fate of the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) hangs in balance due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3, 2020, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday reportedly informed the IPL franchises and all stakeholders that the T20 tournament has been “postponed indefinitely”.
As is known, IPL 2020 was scheduled to be held from March 29 to May 24. However, on March 13, the BCCI announced that the League would be postponed till April 15 due to the restrictions placed on the entry of foreigners, which ruled out any international participation.
On Saturday, April 11, 2020, BCCI met the IPL franchises owners at the Board headquarters in Mumbai to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the upcoming season.
The BCCI along with all the IPL franchises have reiterated the Board’s stand of putting safety and well-being of fans, athletes and employees as a priority. The Board will continue to monitor and work closely with Government of India, state governments and other state regulatory bodies to decide on the future course of action in the best interest of public health.
In an earlier statement, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly asserted that the game cannot be a priority given the crisis that the country is facing.
As per media reports, the period between September and November offer a window for the hosting of IPL 2020. However, that is dependent on certain factors – first and foremost, Cricket Australia and the ICC will have to agree to reschedule the T20 World Cup. Currently, there is a six-month travel restriction in Australia, which is slated to be lifted on September 30, 2020, provided the situation returns to normal. Another option is to have a truncated IPL season of six weeks between September and early October. However, that, too, depends on whether or not the Asia Cup series is held.
Earlier on Saturday, in view of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the BCCI announced that all matches of the Paytm Irani Cup, Senior Women One-Day Knockout, Vizzy Trophy, Senior Women One-Day Challenger, Women Under 19 One-Day knockout, Women’s Under 19 T20 League, Super League and knockout, Women Under 19 T20 Challenger Trophy, Women Under 23 knockout, Women’s Under 23 One-Day Challenger have been put on hold till further notice.
India currently has more than 11,000 COVID-19 positive cases, with over 350 recorded deaths. One can only hope that the beginning of the hot summer months in India will see the number of cases decline and that a vaccine or a cocktail of medicines is available to tackle the virus.