BCCI is under extreme distress due to pandemic COVID-19 especially related to the hosting of IPL 2020. In the beginning, it was pushed to April 15, but that also looks unlikely now as the spread of the virus has meant that the number of positive cases in India has crossed the 500+ mark. As a result of which the Prime Minister has already announced a 21-day national lockdown effective from today March 25 onwards.
Talking to PTI, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly did not have much to say considering the grim scenario. “I can’t say anything at the moment. We are at the same place where we were on the day we postponed. Nothing has changed in the last 10 days. So, I don’t have an answer to it. Status quo remains,” Ganguly’s helplessness was palpable.
Kings XI Punjab owner Ness Wadia was more forthright. “The BCCI should really consider postponing the IPL now. As a premier event, we need to act with great responsibility. Contemplation of IPL is inhumane right now,” KXIP co-owner Wadia told PTI. “Lets say even if the situation improves by May and I hope it does, who is going to come and play? Will the (foreign players) be even allowed to enter the country?” he asked.
Even a conference involving all the franchise owners and the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly to decide the fate of the IPL, probably have a shortened IPL was already called off owing to COVID-19. The franchise owners themselves felt that no one was ready to host a such high profile, marquee tournament in such worrying times globally.
“If Olympics can be postponed by a year, IPL is a much smaller entity in that regard. It is becoming increasingly difficult to organise. At this point the government is not even thinking about allowing foreign visas,” a BCCI official in know of things said.
‘With 21-day lockdown, it is virtually impossible that things will return to normalcy by April 14. It might improve but a lot of restrictions will be in place. So, it will be foolish not to cancel the league,” a BCCI veteran said.
In all likelihood, IPL 2020 will be postponed as there is no possibility for the tournament to commence even at a later date. All the talk and focus globally now is how to face the unknown and how we all as humans and citizens must stay indoors, stay safe to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus.
All the franchise owners and the stakeholders involved with the IPL would need to discuss how they can get financially covered if the IPL doesn’t happen this year. The reality is that we all are looking at a combined loss of up to 12,000-15,000 crores with the cancellation of a tournament of this nature.