IPL this summer looks like a distant dream

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has admitted that the Board hasn’t spoken to the IPL franchises yet.

The IPL was originally scheduled to begin on March 29.

The IPL was originally scheduled to begin on March 29.   -  SPORTZPICS

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day complete lockdown across the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, an April 15 start for the Indian Premier League (IPL) now, seems impossible.

The tournament, originally scheduled to begin on March 29, was suspended until mid-April by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). But now, with the lockdown extending until at least April 14, it further dents hopes. In fact, it now looks evident that the tournament could be shifted to a later date -- if possible around September this year, or next year.

Even though the BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly told Sportstar on Tuesday that a decision is yet to be taken, he also admitted that the Board hasn’t spoken to the franchises yet. “What changes have you seen in the last one week? Nothing! We have not spoken to any of the franchises yet,” Ganguly said.

On March 14, the BCCI top brass had a meeting with the owners of all the eight franchises, and they were given seven to eight options. “We will monitor the situation every week and then decide accordingly.” Ganguly had said after the meeting.

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With the situation worsening over time, the franchise bosses have almost accepted the fact that it is highly unlikely to have have a tournament this summer.

“Save life and not think about IPL -- that should be our goal now. In the present scenario, it is inhuman to even think of an IPL now. So, we should ideally postpone the tournament now for at least a few months. We need to act sensibly,” Kings XI Punjab co-owner, Ness Wadia told this publication.


For Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia, 'it's better to be safe than sorry'.   -  Vivek Bendre


Earlier, the franchises were thinking that even a curtailed tournament could be considered. But now, even that doesn’t look like a feasible option. "IPL is an international tournament and we need to act sensibly and set an example for the world," Wadia said.

A section of the BCCI officials also agreed that with the additional restrictions by the health ministry in place, the IPL ‘has to be called off’. Overseas players, too, won’t be available.

“At this point of time, an IPL looks out of the question. The visa restrictions are already in effect, and now with the lockdown, there could be stricter actions. These are unexpected situations and we will have to deal with it,” one of the IPL franchise owners, who has been associated with the tournament since its inception in 2008, said. “Who would have thought that the Tokyo Olympics will be postponed? That happened. So, these are unavoidable circumstances…”

Another major factor is the IPL cannot extend its window beyond May 31. Even though the BCCI officials had earlier hoped they would be able to convince some of the overseas boards to consider the extension of the window till at least June 7, now that’s out of question.

“The England cricket season has been pushed back. It’s similar with most of the other units. And then there’s FTP, so the extension of window is not possible.”

Even Board chief Ganguly said they haven’t spoken to any of the associations yet. “Given the situation, nobody is in a position to say anything,” he said. Even the Board decided to call off a conference call with the franchises, which was scheduled on Tuesday.

The indications aren’t quite bright, and unless there is a major improvement in the situation, IPL looks highly unlikely, at least for the time being.

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