While the impact of the coronavirus outbreak to global sporting scene is felt by affected countries, the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council chairman Brajesh Patel shrug off the threat to the upcoming start of the cash-rich T20 season.
“There is no threat as of now and we are keeping a tab (on the situation),” said Patel when asked about coronavirus threat to IPL. The 13th season of IPL will commence on March 29 with a clash between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than 92,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide, reaching 3,110 deaths globally, the vast majority is in China. In India, there are six confirmed cases of the virus, three of which were from Kerala and one each from Delhi, Hyderabad and Jaipur.
Recently, a number of sporting events have been either called off or postponed, including football fixtures in Italy, with Serie A postponing more than five games already. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on the verge of cancellation with the increase of cases confirmed in the host nation.
The start of Korea’s K-League 2020 season was also postponed indefinitely, while Japanese baseball team Yomiuri Giants announced that they will play two pre-season games behind closed doors. Last week, Tokyo Marathon was held with only elite marathon runners allowed to race.
The IPL a T20 cricket league of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considered as the largest media property in India and the most popular cricket tournament in the world. Recently, IPL stands at an all-time high of $5.7 billion in brand value, according to reports.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly backs Patel’s statement saying that “Nothing in India. Not even discussed it (coronovirus).” Another senior BCCI official said that the South African team will arrive as scheduled for the three-match ODI series on March 12 at Dharamsala.
It was previously announced that night matches will start at the same time at 8pm. This is in contrary to the earlier request of night matches changed from 8 pm to 7-7.30 pm. Ganguly also said that there will be five double headers (4 p.m. and 8 p.m.) this time.
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