In an attempt to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the extension of the country’s lockdown until May 3. It means, the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, due to commence on March 29 and was earlier suspended till April 15, will totally miss the April-May deadline as it has been postponed further.
Although there is no formal announcement, which is due to be made after the governing body’s meeting in the next couple of days, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah, treasurer Arun Dhumal, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel decided that the league will be postponed indefinitely following a conference call this week.
Reports claim that BCCI has reached out to the eight franchises – champions Mumbai Indians, runners-up Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals and the Sunrisers Hyderabad – as well as the broadcasters and other stakeholders to convey that the event stands “postponed, not cancelled”.
A franchise official confirmed the news. “Yes, the BCCI has informed us and we also believe that there are no two ways about this that at present we cannot have an IPL. Let us hope for the best and hopefully we can have one later in the year when things return to normalcy,” the official told the press. Another franchise official said that they have been informally told that this is not the right time for the league”.
“But we are yet to hear anything formally,” the other official added. BCCI chief Ganguly wasn’t available for a comment and the Board officials aren’t willing to commit an alternative date either. “At this point of time, there is no clarity on anything. We will have to wait to see how the things pan out over the next few days and then react accordingly,” one of the Board officials admit.
“We have to fight the pandemic and there is no choice for now,” a BCCI official told press. At the time of writing, there are more than 2 million reported cases with nearly 127,000 fatalities from the virus worldwide. In India, there are over 11,000 reported cases and nearly 400 deaths. “These are extraordinary times. We can’t talk about cricket and IPL at the moment,” he added.
Earlier, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had hinted at a further postponement of the cash-rich league. In an interview, Ganguly told an Indian press that “when life has come to a standstill everywhere in the world, where does sport have a future in this.” Previous reports said that the board are aiming for the window of October-November to organize the IPL.
“We keep monitoring developments. At the present moment, we can’t say anything. And what is there to say anyway? Airports are shut, people are stuck at home, offices are locked down, nobody can go anywhere. And it seems this is how it’s going to be till the middle of May,” he added. The tournament was due to end on May 24 with the final round to take place in Mumbai.
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