No meetings, no window as IPL hopes fade

Published on Mar 30, 2020 12:55 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondents

New Delhi/Mumbai:

With the Covid-19 outbreak creating havoc by the day, it is highly unlikely that the Indian Premier League can be held this year. Though there has been no official word from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the writing on the wall is getting clearer, with more than a hundred fresh cases reported on Sunday, taking the total number of Covid-19 cases in India past the thousand mark.

The BCCI had postponed the tournament from March 29 to April 15. There are still more than 15 days to go but the IPL teams are resigned to the possibility that the event may be cancelled this season. There has been no Governing Council meeting as well and according to sources they are not even looking to discuss the topic till close to the deadline. Two of the teams HT spoke to confirmed that no discussion has taken place yet.

“There is hardly any window (for postponement),” said BCCI president Sourav Ganguly. “Nothing has been discussed. Nothing has changed from what we decided on March 14 in Mumbai, when we decided to suspend IPL till April 15. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

The 21-day national lockdown that started in India from March 25 means that no logistical work can be carried out till April 14. Add to it the suspension of visas, which means that there is no clarity on when the foreign players, coaches as well broadcast officials can enter the country. Hosting the tournament at a much later date is a near impossibility, due to the international commitments of the players.

According to reports, the BCCI will officially call off the tournament after the Indian government makes the next announcement on travel and visa restrictions.

“Even if the lockdown ends on April 15, we need to see when the player visas would be issued,” Kasi Vishwanathan, Chennai Super Kings CEO, said.

The Australian players’ participation in the IPL 2020 anyways is in doubt as their government has imposed a ‘Do not travel’ restriction on its citizens. In total, 62 players from abroad were supposed to take part in the eight-team league.

The IPL was supposed to originally hold the final on May 24. While no bilateral series of any major teams were scheduled in the International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Programme from the first week of April till the fourth week of May (Bangladesh were supposed to play Ireland in May-end), the situation changes after that.

From the first week of June, West Indies, Sri Lanka, England and South Africa players will have national commitments. By the third week, New Zealand and Australia will have their respective assignments. All the teams have significant representations in the IPL.

Even India are supposed to play Sri Lanka from the fourth week of June for a three-ODI and three-T20 series.

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