Despite the commitment of its governing body to commence the season this year in the wake of the global pandemic, the fate of the Indian Premier League (IPL) still sits in limbo as talks remain on the table. However, some franchise officials expressed their optimism of commencing the cash-rich T20 league later this year. India has over 165,000 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths from the virus.
There is speculation that IPL 13 could take place in October-November window depending on the status of the T20 World Cup in Australia. This week, India’s Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has talked about the future of sports in India in an interview, saying that they “have been working for quite some time now to resume sporting activities” and stressed that the start of the season would be taken by the government.
Former India captain and Kings XI Punjab head coach Anil Kumble expressed his hopes, in a statement earlier this week, regarding the start of the new season this year, “Yes we are hopeful and optimistic that there is still a possibility (to hold IPL this year) if we can cram in the schedule,” said the former spinner, who is also the chairman of ICC’s Cricket Committee
Former India batsman VVS Laxman said the stakeholders can stage the league in cities which have multiple stadia to reduce travelling by players. “Anil (Kumble) mentioned that you can have two or four venues; I still feel that you should identify one venue, which probably has 3 or 4 grounds; if at all you find that kind of a venue because travel is again going to be quite challenging.” Laxman stated.
Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals Chairman and Co-owner Parth Jindal, in a fan engagement earlier this week, said that “IPL has a huge role in uplifting the spirits of the country”. His added that fans “may not have access to stadiums this year but that will give the franchises and broadcasters an opportunity to innovate their fan engagement even more”.
Last week, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reiterate commitment to host the tournament this year. 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.
The IPL governing body is banking heavily on the ICC men’s T20 World Cup potential postponement to conduct the IPL. 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.
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