Over the last 12 years, late March, April and most part of May largely keep most cricketers around the world pretty busy. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is usually in full fledge. If the original schedule was to go as per plan, we should’ve been nearing the end of the 13th edition of the IPL.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc and forced the entire world to go into a lockdown. It was no surprise that BCCI decided to suspend the 2020 edition of the IPL indefinitely. Not only cricket, but all sporting activities have come to a screeching halt.
Amidst this pandemic and India slowly trying to get back to normal by partially opening the lockdown after two months, the talk around the IPL and the possibility of the 13th season taking place has begun. But the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) is in no rush to get their cricketers back on to the park despite sporting facilities allowing individual training in India.
There might be good news for cricket fans in India and around the world as the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has hinted that the IPL might take place once the monsoon ends in the country. There’s absolutely no doubt that the IPL is one of the biggest events of the year in India and it has a massive fan following.
“IPL is one of the greatest engagers. More people watched the IPL last year than those who voted for general elections. For sponsors, cricket is a leader and it will lead the way. The recovery will be sharper than a V-shaped recovery,” Johri was quoted saying at the TCM Sports Huddle webinar.
He also mentioned that everybody is working towards making the IPL happen. “The flavour of IPL is that best players of the world come and play, and everyone is committed to maintaining that flow. But it will be a step-by-step process. We can’t expect normalisation tomorrow,” the BCCI CEO added while he also admitted that the participation and non-participation of every player would be respected.
But one of the biggest objections that the IPL is facing is the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in Australia between October 18th and November 15th. The mega event hasn’t been postponed yet but the ICC is due to meet on the 28th of May to discuss the various possibilities and the fate of the IPL may be decided then as well.
Johri even admitted that the September-November window might not be easy to plan either. There will be quite a few factors that need to be dealt with. Players quarantining themselves, the schedules and other factors come into play. “When flights resume, everyone has to quarantine themselves before playing. We will have to look at how that will impact the schedules, which as it is are tight. Imagine you have to factor in 14-day quarantine prior to practice also. So, there are a lot of moving parts. But we are still optimistic. Hopefully, the situation will improve after monsoon, and we will approach it then,” Johri mentioned while explaining the entire scenario.
But for the India T20 extravaganza to get underway, the approval of the Indian government would be crucial. The fourth version of the lockdown is currently in effect in India and the BCCI is waiting for further rules and guidelines from the government. However, Johri did mention that the board is eyeing the post-monsoon (late September to early November) window for the IPL to take place.
“We will be guided by the government guidelines. Our advisory says: IPL is suspended till further notice. We are engaging with various agencies. After the current phase of lockdown ends, there is the monsoon. Cricketing activities can start only after monsoon. By then, hopefully things will improve,” Johri stated.