Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mod placed 1.3 billion people on lockdown for 21 days as the nation reported growing cases of the global pandemic. This new development puts the start of the Indian Premier League back in jeopardy, as the previously halted T20 cricket league may extend its delay following the national orders. IPL is set to commence on March 26 that was moved to April 15.
India has so far reported nearly 600 cases of the virus with over 10 fatalities at the time of writing, leading to its government’s declaration of lockdown. The 21-day lockdown is expected to be lifted after April 14 and visas are granted to foreign cricketers a day after, hosting a tournament as big as IPL in such a short period of time will not work both for the players and the spectators.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sourav Ganguly said, “Nothing has been decided yet. There is no clarity” following the nationwide lockdown. “Things remain as it was on (March 14), when we decided to postpone the IPL (to April 15). Since then nothing has changed. So, there is no update,” Ganguly added.
In a separate interview earlier this week, Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia told a news portal that
“humanity first, everything else comes second. The situation has not improved so there is no point in even talking about it. If IPL doesn’t happen so be it.” According to reports, one option that had been discussed by board was that the tournament could be delayed and played later in the summer.
“There is no point in discussing anything at this point. The whole country is in a lockdown. We have to deal with matters much more important than IPL,” added another franchise official. Ganguly and representatives of the eight franchises had a teleconference last week and were supposed to have another emergency call early this week. However, that meeting was cancelled.
Travel restrictions are also something to consider as many nations have already directed their athletes to cancel sporting related activities abroad. In India, About five-dozen overseas players contracted for the tournament. As of now, the Indian government has barred the entry of people from specific countries and regions.
Meanwhile, a BCCI official told a news outlet, “If Olympics can be postponed by a year, IPL is a much smaller entity in that regard. It is becoming increasingly difficult to organise. At this point the government is not even thinking about allowing foreign visas.” Earlier this week, Tokyo 2020 has been postponed and will resume not later than summer next year.
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