Over the weekend, the government of India has announced fresh set of guidelines issued by the home ministry which will follow lockdown 4.0. It will give the Board of control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hopes to start the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) as the guidelines for reopening of activities in three phases seem to hint resumption of sporting activities in Phase 3.
“Based on assessment of the situation (Phase 3), dates for restarting following will be decided—international air travel of passengers, gymnasiums, swimming pools, social-political-sports-entertainment functions and large congregations,” reads the operative part of the MHA order related to sport. The second phase of reopening is planned for July, and Phase 3 could kick in any time after that.
Shortly after the announcement, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal said that they are positive about this new development. If international travel resumes, and sporting activities will be allowed, then we can plan for the future,” Dhumal said. “As far as getting a pool of players together for a camp, again we will have to wait for things to normalise further,” he added.
However, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has confirmed no official discussion has taken place regarding the schedule of the league. “If at all, IPL does happen, we don’t know where it could happen. India would certainly like to host the event, provided the environment is safe. Right now, we are not in a position to say anything. It is too early. We are yet to officially discuss the IPL schedule,” Ganguly said.
He also added that their decision will “depends on the safety of the environment”. He also stressed that “saving human life and breaking the coronavirus chain are more important”. The IPL’s fate could be decided on June 10 when the International Cricket Council takes a call on the T20 World Cup 2020 scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November.
Previously, the 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 BCCI 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. BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal said that, ‘‘If the World T20 is held in Australia as per schedule (October 18 to November 15), then it will be almost impossible to find a window for the IPL.”
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