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IPL looks increasingly unlikely this year as coronavirus pandemic concern continues

Governing council scraps conference call with franchises, decision on tournament expected to come out in first week of April

Published: 24th March 2020 09:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2020 09:15 AM   |  A+A-

The 2020 edition of the world’s richest T20 league has been in a state of limbo since the spread of the coronavirus

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Indian Premier League’s Governing Council has called off a conference call with all the franchises scheduled for Tuesday, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow. Reliable voices in the BCCI indicated to this newspaper that a decision on the tournament, which is suspended till April 15, can be expected by the first week of April.

The BCCI and the IPL GC were supposed to have a review meeting on March 24, but since the crisis has only deepened and more restrictions have come in place, they decided against holding one until things better in the coming days. Even the franchises haven’t initiated any discussion with the board, keeping in mind the severity of the situation.

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There are voices with in the BCCI which accept that the IPL can’t go ahead this year. Even if the situation improves, they expect measures to be in place for the next month with regards to travel and public gathering. Moreover, the BCCI and the franchises are also aware that overseas players might not be able to make it, as several countries are expected to put in place advisories regarding travel to infected countries.

That the Olympics, scheduled for July-August, too is witnessing calls to be postponed hasn’t gone unnoticed by the stakeholders. While more and more countries are calling for the global sporting spectacle to be postponed even though there are four months to go, the IPL can’t afford that since it has to be completed within the April-May window.

“We are monitoring the situation. But we can’t predict where we will be in two weeks’ time. That is why we suspended the league till April 15. That date itself looks far at the moment. Even if the number of cases come down, there will be certain measures in place. So we can’t take things for granted,” an official said.
For instance, the BCCI believes Australian players will not be available after the country told its Olympic athletes to start train with 2021 in mind.

Meanwhile, the ICC has decided to discuss the ongoing crisis at its meeting later this month. While a qualifying tournament for the 2023 World Cup has been postponed, the ICC Test Championship remains mostly unaffected. Only England’s series in Sri Lanka has been postponed, as of now. With no more series under the Test Championship cycle on the cards for the next two months, the ICC has no immediate concerns.

The West Indies’ tour of England in June is under cloud. It is learnt that the two boards are already exploring the possibility of hosting the series in the Caribbean.However, with regards to series which will be postponed, there is a window till January 2021 to slot them again.



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