The Indian government has advised the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Indian Premier League governing council to not host the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League amid the current coronavirus scare. The tournament was originally scheduled to be played from March 29 but it was postponed till April 15.
The decision on the future of the 13th season of the IPL is expected to be taken soon by the BCCI but there is no doubt there is a lot of pressure in the present scenario. The tournament is hanging on by a thread and hosting it at this stage can have its own repercussions.
On the other hand, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had earlier stated that the Indian board will adhere to the advisory of the Indian government as the safety of the people is of utmost priority.
“Think it is for the organisers to decide whether to go ahead with it or not,” Dammu Ravi, additional secretary, MEA and coordinator for COVID-19, said as quoted by AFP.
“Our advice would be to not do it at this time but if they want to go ahead, it is their decision.”
Meanwhile, the stakes involved if the tournament doesn’t take place are high. The cash-rich league is known to generate a whopping more than $11 billion in the 60 matches of the tournament. Thus, the BCCI will lose a lot of money if the competition is not held.
However, a BCCI official had confirmed that the board is ready to host the IPL even if it is without any public gathering. In the initial phase of the outbreak, we had noticed that many sporting events were hosted behind closed doors.
“We are keen to start the IPL on time even if it means without crowds,” a senior BCCI official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“It could be TV-only as it is a medical emergency and we can do nothing about that.”
The Prime Minister of India, Narender Modi had addressed the nation on 19 March and had urged everyone to be precautious. Modi also declared 22 March as the Janta Curfew from 7am to 9pm asking everyone to stay at home.
It would be interesting to note how things pan out in the coming days, which will be instrumental in the future of this edition of the IPL. So far, keeping the present situation in mind, the IPL doesn’t look in the pink of health.
Written by: Gautam Chauhan