Earlier this week, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reiterate commitment to host the 13th edition of the tournament this year in the wake of the global pandemic. The governing body’s CEO backed the statement and hopeful that cricket will return after the monsoon. The cash-rich Twenty20 competition, due to begin on March 29 and pushed back to April 15, was postponed indefinitely.
“IPL is one of the greatest engagers. More people watched the IPL last year than those who voted for general elections. For sponsors, cricket is a leader and it will lead the way. The recovery will be sharper than a V-shaped recovery,” said BCCI CEO Rahul Johri at a webinar. “The flavour of IPL is that best players of the world come and play, and everyone is committed to maintaining that flow.
However, Johri stressed that no one can “expect normalisation tomorrow” as it “it will be a step-by-step process”. At the time of writing, India has nearly 200,000 people infected with more than 3,500 deaths from the virus. The BCCI is banking heavily on the ICC men’s T20 World Cup getting postponed this year to conduct the IPL at that time in India.
“We will be guided by the government guidelines. Our advisory says: IPL is suspended till further notice. We are engaging with various agencies. After the current phase of lockdown ends, there is the monsoon. Cricketing activities can start only after monsoon. By then, hopefully things will improve,” Johri said when asked about the IPL return following the new updates from the government restrictions.
Earlier, the India Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that stadiums and sporting complexes will be allowed to open without fans as the lockdown in the country extended to May 31. However, the BCCI is not hopeful to its return anytime soon with treasurer Arun Dhumal, in a statement, saying that the governing body “will wait further before organizing a skill-based training camp”.
Meanwhile, former India coach and BCCI apex council member Anshuman Gaekwad is optimistic about IPL return and hints its potential “October-November window”. Speaking about the potential window, Johri said: “When flights resume, everyone has to quarantine themselves before playing. We will have to look at how that will impact the schedules, which as it is are tight.”
Johri added that they are “still optimistic” despite some few delays and bumps in rescheduling the league. There are reports the BCCI is looking to host the world’s richest T20 league from September 25 to November 1 in India with the UAE as a fallback option. Previously, Sri Lanka and UAE sent their offer to host the league if situations in India will not improve.
However, as the T20 World Cup is likely to be postponed, the BCCI will get an opportunity to organise the IPL in October-November, with the participation of foreign players if things will get better during that time. Asked about holding IPL without spectators, Johri said: “It will not just be in IPL but also international cricket.
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