COVID-19: IPL review meeting indefinitely deferred by BCCI

A franchise executive admitted that “IPL is the last thing on everyone’s mind” with the coronavirus crisis worsening every passing hour.

BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly had told earlier that a curtailed IPL was on the cards.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

With COVID-19 pandemic spreading all over the country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has indefinitely deferred a review meeting to explore the possibility of staging the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

A day after suspending IPL-2020 till April 15, the BCCI office-bearers had a meeting with franchise owners in Mumbai on March 14, which was followed by the IPL governing council meeting. BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly while indicating that “a curtailed IPL” was the only option on the table had told reporters that the next review meeting will be scheduled on March 24.

IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel on Monday told Sportstar that “no meeting is scheduled” for Tuesday since there’s “not much to discuss about IPL” at the moment, with COVID-19 emerging as a global catastrophe.

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A franchise executive admitted that “IPL is the last thing on everyone’s mind” with the coronavirus crisis worsening every passing hour.

Despite BCCI hoping against hope for staging IPL in some form or shape before the window that can be stretched to May 31 as against the earlier scheduled final on May 24, BCCI and franchise sources indicated that the possibility of the tournament getting off to a start this year is as good as over. But the call on calling the season off is unlikely to be taken any time before April second week.

As of now, all the eight states of IPL franchises - Delhi, Punjab, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu - are under partial or complete lockdown. And with the number of positive cases likely to surge in the coming week, situation appears grim, in general let alone for IPL.

Just like China, authorities are understood to have been exploring the possibility of converting sports stadia into quarantine wards if number of patients keep escalating.

Even if the pandemic is curbed at its existing Stage 2 level, it would be unlikely that overseas cricketers will participate in the IPL. All the countries that have players signed for IPL are facing the COVID-19 wrath.

As a result, it would be extremely difficult for overseas cricketers to get the clearance to travel out of their respective country in the next two months.

In fact, Australia’s Olympic federation has officially announced it will skip Olympics in Tokyo unless it’s postponed from its scheduled start in July. It would be surprising if the Australian cricketers - the largest chunk in IPL after Indians - can be a part of IPL.

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