Bengaluru, April 10: The speculations about lockdown extension is rife across the country as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address the nation this weekend. Along with it, more uncertainty has heaped on the IPL 2020, currently deferred until April 15.
The country is in a complete shutdown until April 14 due to the Coronavirus and the pandemic has not showed any visible signs of flattening not only in India but across the globe as several sporting events have been either cancelled or postponed. In that context, the IPL 2020 is also set for a further postponement.
The BCCI authorities at this stage might not be willing to announce outright cancellation because of the stakes involved and they are also actively thinking of a window later this year.
"These are tough and uncertain times. We have heard that the Prime Minister may address the nation this weekend and we are facing the possibility of a lockdown extension. We don't know, at this stage, what's in the mind of the Central Government and we will have to wait to find out for how many days they might extend the lockdown, if at all they take that route. So, there will be a call on the IPL (2020) very soon," a BCCI official told MyKhel.
"The powers that be may not call for outright cancellation at this stage as there is that slim hope of finding a window later this year between July and September, depends on the pandemic condition. So, the governing body might look for a shortened IPL with more double headers in that window but having said that the health of public is far more important than anything else at this stage and we are mindful of it," he said.
Another impediment in the conduct of IPL 2020 is the visa regulations in place due to the pandemic as the India Government has stopped issuing travel permit to foreigners until April 15. "Yes, we are in touch the government authorities and will take a call on it when the government issues fresh guidelines. So, at this stage we may postpone the IPL 2020, perhaps, till further announcement," he added.
The official said with Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai, important centres for IPL with city-based franchises, authorities are considering tougher measures in the days to come, a close monitoring of the atmosphere has been initiated.
Several cricketers like Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar have supported the decision of postponing the IPL's 13th edition in view of the global health conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic has so far affected more than 15 lakh people in various countries with the death toll closing in on one lakh mark.