Cricket

Staging of IPL-13 remains in the realm of uncertainty due to COVID-19 pandemic

A review meeting scheduled for Tuesday indefinitely deferred

With the 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, had mentioned that the next review meeting would be on March 24.

Brijesh Patel, chairman, IPL governing council, told The Hindu on Monday that “no meeting is scheduled” for Tuesday since there’s “not much to discuss about IPL” at the moment.

A franchise executive admitted that the “IPL is the last thing on everyone’s mind” with the coronavirus crisis getting worsen.

Good as gone?

Despite the BCCI hoping against hope about staging the IPL in some form before the window, that can be stretched to May 31, ends Board and franchise sources indicated that the possibility of the tournament taking off this year was remote.

The decision on calling off the season is unlikely to be taken any time before the second week of April.

At the moment, the States where the franchises are based — Delhi, Punjab, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu — are under partial or complete lockdown. With the number of cases increasing, the situation appears grim.

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

Plight of overseas players

Even if the pandemic is curbed at its existing Stage-2 level, it would be unlikely that overseas cricketers will participate in the IPL because their countries are also in a crisis because of COVID-19.

It would be extremely difficult for them to get a clearance to travel in the next two months.

In fact, Australia’s Olympic federation has officially announced it would skip the Tokyo Olympics unless it is postponed from July when it is scheduled to start.

It would be surprising if the Australians, the biggest contingent in the IPL after the Indians, are part of this edition.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:15:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/covid-19-staging-of-ipl-13-remains-in-the-realm-of-uncertainty/article31145330.ece

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