A day after informing the eight franchises of the Indian Premier League’s indefinite postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has “suspended IPL 2020 till further notice”.
While confirming the deferment, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement released on Thursday the decision had been taken in consultation with franchise owners, broadcaster, sponsors and all stakeholders, adding “the IPL 2020 season will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so”.
While resumption of sporting events cannot be predicted, here are the three possible windows being floated vis-a-vis staging IPL 2020:
July-August: Assuming that the pandemic is brought under control by June-end and international airspace is cleared, a window may open to stage the IPL in Sri Lanka in July-August. Since it will be the monsoon season in India, Colombo emerges as a viable option.
While Colombo’s three international venues is a logistical boon, Sri Lanka Cricket president Shammi Silva has expressed interest in staging the IPL.
But, given the evolving scenario, the IPL in this window appears to be a long shot, indeed!
September-October: At the moment, India is scheduled to participate in the Asia Cup, to be hosted by the Pakistan Cricket Board, in the United Arab Emirates in September. But with the IPL being the BCCI’s cash cow, it wouldn’t be surprising if the BCCI attempts to pull out of the Asia Cup and instead stage the T20 extravaganza.
PCB chief Ehsan Mani has vehemently opposed rescheduling the Asia Cup to accommodate the IPL, but considering BCCI’s clout, don’t be surprised if the IPL is the first major cricketing event upon resumption of sporting action.
October-November: A five-week window opens up should the T20 World Cup — in Australia from October 18 — be postponed. The ICC is expected to present a clearer picture on the T20 World Cup in June. Considering that the Australian government is set to impose 14-day isolation for every foreign traveller upon arrival, after resumption of air traffic, the World Cup remains a distant possibility.
Whatever the option chosen, a good chunk of India’s international assignments as well as domestic season will be severely affected.
Meanwhile, until the pandemic subsides, BCCI can only wait and watch.