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by Cricket World Monday 13 April 2020
"The IPL has been suspended till April 15". "Any decision will be made only after April 15". "April 15 will be the date when a final call is taken". "It all depends on how things are on April 15".
Ever since the 13th edition of the IPL, which was originally scheduled to begin from March 29, was pushed till the second week of April, cricket lovers were waiting for the decisive date - April 15. Although it has arrived, it hasn't brought a semblance of good news with it.
The 21-day lockdown in India, the country where the IPL is set to be held, was supposed to last till April 14. While there has been no official word about its extension, some states have already extended it till April 30, albeit with some relaxations.
It is quite likely that the central government will extend the nation-wide lockdown as well. Even if the decision is left to the chief ministers, most states will be under lockdown. The best possible scenario is that a few emergency services restart, or better still, places which have succeeded in staying completely safe from Covid-19 may see the lockdown lifted in a staggered manner.
But, none of it will make it possible to even think of conducting the IPL, in a week or two, leave alone getting to the nitty-gritty of it. In such a situation, it is almost certain that the 13th edition of the league is headed towards an indefinite postponement.
The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India have crossed 9,000 with over 300 fatalities so far.
“Three states Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka have already said that they are extending lockdown. It is implied that IPL can’t happen for the time being. But it will certainly not be cancelled. It will be postponed indefinitely,” a BCCI official told PTI.
“We can’t cancel IPL as it means losses to the tune of Rs 3000 crore. The BCCI will work with all stakeholders to find a solution but for that normalcy needs to return. It’s not possible for BCCI bigwigs to commit that IPL can happen at which particular slot. There are lot of ifs and buts at the moment. You can only have a meaningful discussion when things normalise. Till then, nothing can be said.” he added.
Whether organising it in September and early October before the World T20 in Australia or hosting it at the expense of the World T20 if the tournament is postponed, remain questions to be pondered upon in the future.
One thing is clear though, that those hoping for any good news from the cash-rich league after April 15, will be disappointed. The good news, if any, is that the IPL is not going to be cancelled as of now. The foreign players, local players, franchises, broadcasters, the BCCI and all other stakeholders involved want the IPL to be staged at some point.
But, such has been the outbreak of the pandemic, that even one of the most optimistic people in the business, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly was in no position to sugar-coat the eventuality.
To sump up, the chances of the lockdown being lifted in India are very, very bleak. It will still take at least two-three weeks to flatten the curve in the country. The domestic airlines are set to resume, but international flights are still grounded.
All we can do is to hope that IPL 2020 remains so, and not IPL 2021.
© Cricket World 2020